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  • ICAA Record ID
    768035
    TITLE
    Arte abstracto arte figurativo / Por Paul Westheim
    IN
    México en la Cultura : Suplemento cultural de Novedades (México, D. F., México). -- Feb. 10, 1957
    DESCRIPTION
    p. 6 : ill.
    LANGUAGES
    Spanish
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Newspaper article – Essays
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Westheim, Paul. "Arte abstracto arte figurativo." México en la cultura: Suplemento cultural de novedades (Mexico City), February 10, 1957.
    NAME DESCRIPTORS
Editorial Categories [?]
Synopsis

The art critic Paul Westheim believed that abstract art had always existed and that it had something to do with a poetic interpretation of the world. The artist’s job was therefore to channel art toward the spiritual, sensitive, and imaginative realms. He claimed to agree with the French writer Jean Cocteau—who thought that Figurative art was merely a mask for the internal expression of the painting. According to Westheim, what makes a painting, or a sculpture, a work of art is its internal organization, the abstract elements connected to the form. What moves us about a painting is not what is portrayed but how it is portrayed. 

 

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Annotations

This is an important document in the journalistic history of the period, especially as it relates to the Figuration-versus-Abstraction debate that was raging at that time. Paul Westheim (1886-1963), the Mexico-based German art critic, thought that the controversy had essentially been hijacked, and had become more about politics than about art. He thought it absurd that art with no political content should be pigeonholed as “art for art’s sake” or even as pure art. According to the critic, all artistic trends—whether figurative or abstract—always serve a cause. It was dangerous to let politics sacrifice visual art values without which, in his opinion, art was not art.

Researcher
Ana María Torres: CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Margit Frenk, Mexico City, México
Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional