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Xavier Villaurrutia conducts a retrospective of Mexican painting in the 1920s, the origin of which he ascribes to the revolutionary movement of the previous decade. In this context, the author criticizes those painters who continued to follow obsolete or foreign models, while celebrating the fact that artists such as Adolfo Best Maugard, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, and Alfredo Ramos Martínez were developing innovative or nationalist educational projects. He likewise praises the rise of mural painting in 1921, highlighting the works of Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco. Lastly Villaurrutia mentions young painters who were not part of the muralist movement and initiating a new type of painting: Rufino Tamayo, Agustín Lazo, Julio Castellanos, Abraham Ángel, and Miguel Covarrubias.


The significance of this article stems from the fact that its author is Xavier Villaurrutia, a writer for Los Contemporáneos [The Contemporaries], a group that maintained political and aesthetic differences with the muralists during the 1920s. The Contemporáneos thought that the muralist works were characterized by an excessive jingoism, as well as leftist political beliefs. From his point of view, this limited the evolution of the art and culture of Mexico and he felt that artists should open themselves to international creative trends. In this sense, Villaurrutia’s text is atypical because it shows that nuances existed within the debate between these two groups. 

Alejandro Ugalde
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Carlos O. Horcasitas Villaurrutia, Mexico City, México
Biblioteca Justino Fernández del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, México D.F. , México.