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In the Survey Section, the journalist Ortega decided to go to the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria to ask the painters there the following question: Who is the greatest painter in Mexico? The caricaturist Ernesto García Cabral ironically responds that it is Juan Téllez Toledo, a madman who had been hugely successful in Argentina. Another interviewee, the critic José D. Frías, states his belief that “they are very lazy,” and they are never seen at the school. When Ortega reaches Diego Rivera, he finds the artist reading Russian magazines. Rivera tells him that he wants to go to live there because they are two civilizations in conflict, and because that is where his friends are. When Rivera encounters Fermín Revueltas, the painter replies to Ortega’s question: the jícara gourd painters in Michoacán, who in Mexico have followed the European models since Colonial times. And finally, Rivera says that he himself is the greatest painter.


This interesting article reveals the perspective of each of the respondents, offering a variety of criteria. Ernesto García Cabral (1890–1968) proposes madness; Diego Rivera (1886–1957) suggests a civilizing paradigm that is a departure from bourgeois values; and Fermín Revueltas (1901–1935) turns his gaze to popular art. The debate among the artists—about returning to pre-Hispanic roots and popular art as the basis for the concoction of a Mexican art form—was laid out on the table.   In the article, Ortega casually mentions that Revueltas had recently committed suicide, but this was not true.

Esther Acevedo : Dirección de Estudios Históricos, INAH / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of El Universal de México, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional