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Synopsis

Jorge Romero Brest writes to Alicia [Pérez] Penalba about an exhibition of her work that is scheduled for the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [Center for Visual Arts of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute], which coincides with the presentation of the Prize of 1962 dedicated to sculpture. According to the critic’s letter, she will present as guest of honor, and he even sends some details about the dates and the agreements for the printing of the catalogue.

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Jorge Romero Brest (1905-1989) was a professor, critic, and promoter of the visual arts in Argentina. During the regime of Juan Domingo Perón (1895-1974) he was relieved of his academic duties and became the director of Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder] magazine. Later on, the de facto government that overthrew Perón on September 16, 1955, which called itself the Revolución Libertadora, named Romero Brest the administrator of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes [The National Museum of Fine Arts] of Buenos Aires. In 1956 he became the director of the Museum, a post he held until 1963. During the 1960s, he directed the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [Torcuato Di Tella Institute’s Center for Visual Arts]. The Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder] editorial project was undertaken with the support of his students as an offshoot of the art history classes that Brest taught after being removed from his position as professor during the Peronist regime.

In 1960 and a few months after having created the Centro de Arte del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (ITDT) [Art Center of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute]—directed by a Council made up of Lionello Venturi, Ricardo Camino, Guido Di Tella and Jorge Romero Brest— the ITDT Prize was made possible. The purpose of this center was to cooperate in the diffusion and promotion of the visual arts and to keep in contact with other centers connected with production at both a national and an international level. Within this context, the Premio ITDT [ITDT Prize] was created to provide an opportunity for young Argentinean artists to enrich their experience abroad; nevertheless, its creation did not just allow for the awarding of the grant-prize, but it also spurred the circulation of international art in the local arena, becoming an important reference point for the visual arts renaissance of the time. This prize was awarded to national or international artists, with some variation depending on the year in question, until 1967. Beginning that year, it changed its name and became Experiencias Visuales [Visual Practices], and then just Experiencias [Practices] in 1968 and 1969. 

 

This document shows the choices made in the operation of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute Prize in regard to the attempt to add an acclaimed Argentinean artist like Alicia [Pérez] Penalba as guest of honor. At that moment, the sculptor was living in Paris and had received the Grand Prize in Sculpture at the 1962 São Paulo Biennial. 

Researcher
Cristina Rossi
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of Archivo di Tella, Universidad Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Universidad Torcuato Di Tella Buenos Aires, Argentina. Archivos Di Tella,