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.
The art critic José Gómez Sicre, chief of the Pan-American Union Visual Arts Unit (Washington, D.C.), presented a lecture on the painter Rufino Tamayo, whom he hailed as the artist to revive Mexican painting. Gómez Sicre’s belief that Mexican art was bogged down by the powerful muralist movement informed his discussion of the trends that defined Latin American art of the time. On one hand there was nationalism, with its excessive xenophobia, dismissive of the European art experience. By contrast, the formalist art trend lacked any sense of nationality and was indeed subject to European culture. The Cuban critic chose Tamayo as an example of an eclectic painter whom he considered the standard-bearer for a healthy nationalism that was not too strident. Tamayo’s work had a universal point of view and was incorporated into all the modern pictorial currents.
Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) had achieved a position as one of Mexico’s most powerful painters. He was already recognized worldwide; his style reflected the avant-garde language of the period and attempted to integrate the ancient cultures and modern/original elements. After World War II, the style known as “primitive” had taken hold; this was why Tamayo’s paintings were so well received in international circles. Faced with this art debate, the Cuban art critic and diplomat José Gómez Sicre (1916-1991) believed the correct solution was the path forged by Tamayo. The movement that Tamayo started eliminated indeed the anecdotal and allowed for European influence without subordinating itself to European art. He made use of the European experience in searching for art that expressed what was specifically Latin American.