The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Carlos Mérida was interviewed on the occasion of his first exhibition in Mexico at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes [National School of Fine Arts]. This article reports on that interview, quoting from the brief text written by the painter for the catalog, in which he outlines his ideas about the art of the Americas. The interviewer describes Mérida’s career up to the exhibition at the Escuela de San Carlos, and shares his initial impression of the work and its creator. He explains that as they toured the exhibition, Mérida discussed some of his works, such as Indio de San Martín, India de los vasos, and the four-panel project called El poema del Trópico [Poem of the Tropics], referring to the indigenous models they portrayed. From the interviewer’s focus, Mérida’s painting is essentially decorative and, to some extent, influenced by the Spanish painter Anglada Camarasa who was his teacher over four years. The interviewer claims that Carlos Mérida’s decorative art finds its inspiration in the colors of native Guatemalan embroidery and that, though certain items are thoroughly rendered in detail, the faces are almost sketched in their simplicity. The interviewer then relates some of what the painter told him about his life. And he ends by quoting a short statement by the poet and art critic José Juan Tablada, who considered Mérida to be one of the artists who best expressed the soul of the Americas; notwithstanding the fact that his work reveals certain elements that are reminiscent of the latest fad: the pseudo-Cubism of the day.
Contemporary Mexican art and cultural circles were enthralled by the first Carlos Mérida (1891–1984) exhibition, as much for its Americanist proposals as for its innovative artistic solutions. The author’s comments are astute and pertinent; he highlights the decorative essence of Mérida’s painting and credits the influence of his Catalan teacher Hermenegild [Hermen] Anglada Camarasa (1871-1959). In a recent study (Crónica de las Artes Plásticas en años de López Velarde) [Chronicle of the Visual Arts in the (poet) López Velarde Years], the researcher Fausto Ramírez states that both Mérida and Roberto Montenegro (1887–1968) inherited Camarasa’s interest in indigenous folk arts as well as in valuing decorative elements as essential elements of the artwork.