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.
A “Máscara” [Mask] that reviews the celebrated painter from Tlacotalpan, Alberto Fuster?who trained entirely in Europe thanks to a grant from the government of the state of Veracruz?in which José Juan Tablada pays tribute to the painter’s legend and to his literary and poetic imagination. Tablada also mentions that Fuster’s œuvre had been exhibited in salons in Paris, Rome, and Florence. Another thing in the young painter’s favor, which was greatly appreciated by Tablada and by local critics, was his ethic involvement with the work, which set him apart from others who accepted grants but then didn’t produced as expected.
Born in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, Alberto Fuster (1872-1922) was a painter much admired by José Juan Tablada (1871-1945) during the time?on the eve of a change that would become apparent some three years later in the visual arts in Mexico?when there were high hopes that artists studying in Europe on grants would come home and make a contribution to offset the stagnant conditions in Mexico’s academic education. There was a palpable desire for a “national expression” at the time, and the training that artists received in Europe was seen as a major step in that direction. At the time, Fuster had a very promising career thanks to his moderate approach to the “-isms” that were in vogue at the time, which Fuster had assimilated on his travels in Florence and Germany, and especially during his visits to Rome, Assisi, Padua, and Florence. Strangely, however, that very moderation would count against him in the 1920s, as Tablada so presciently noted. Fuster, in fact, was unable to adapt to the Mexican or the North American avant-garde’s modern trends because he had remained stuck in a “spiritual” period dating back to before the Mexican Revolution and the Great War. The poet therefore compares him to Rip Van Winkle, the fictional Dutch character who was put under a spell and fell asleep for many years up in the mountains. When he awoke and returned to his native village, he found everything so changed that he felt like a stranger in his own home.