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Jorge González Camarena did not believe that Mexican painting was in decline as asserted by Rufino Tamayo, rather it was in a stage of exploration. However, it should not lose its local and national character, which Camarena believed should be examined in an attempt to reaffirm itself and bring about a distinct type of painting. Despite Tamayo’s criticisms regarding the stagnation of Mexican painting, González Camarena believed the painting of the Oaxaca natives was characterized by a pure Mexican sentiment that had also incorporated the international subjectivism of Paris. Nevertheless, Tamayo had not forgotten the “gist of what it means to be Mexican,” that which was specific to the culture and that distinguished him from other painters.


Jorge González Camarena (1908-80) belonged to the second generation of muralists. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes (ENBA), and was linked to leftist ideas of the time. In 1928, he participated in a movement supporting Rivera as the director of the ENBA. During the debates of the 1950s, he maintained that Mexican painting was on a good path, “Mexico runs its course.” Painters should allow themselves to be seduced by the painting of other nations, as long as they did not forget their own. Modernity and tradition should be part of the theoretical reflections of painters. They should not throw themselves into a style or art trend, but rather they should create their own based on subjective reflection and objective criticism of reality.

Ana María Torres : CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Marcel González Camarena, Mexico City, México
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional