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This article, by a noted member of the group behind the magazine Savia Moderna [Modern Sap], is a presentation of the painting exhibition sponsored by the magazine and held in May 1906. This exhibition had a very decisive effect on the future of Mexican art, and therefore merits inclusion in cultural archives. This was, in fact, the first exhibition in Mexico that did not rely on government support or patronage, and even more importantly, it was absolutely unconnected to the San Carlos academic sphere. This exhibition, organized by Dr. Atl, featured works by Diego Rivera, Germán Gedovius, Jorge Enciso, Gonzalo Argüelles Bringas, Rafael Ponce de León, Antonio Garduño, and Joaquín Clausell, among others—all were artists who had begun to question the academic orientation that dominated the art production of this period.  


Because of its value in terms of the rupture it effected and the proposals it offered, this exhibition established a clear precedent for another celebrated exhibition organized by Dr. Atl (1875–1964) in 1910 at the old Academia de San Carlos, in the context of the first centennial of Mexico’s independence. That exhibition was the starting point for the so-called “artistic Renaissance.” A number of important writers applauded this 1906 show, with perhaps the most incisive commentaries penned by Ricardo Gómez Robelo, also a member of Savia Moderna.

This monthly magazine did not last long (March to July 1906); nevertheless, it left a considerable impact on the Mexican cultural milieu, which was always keen to learn about new trends. It was the editorial vehicle of the famous generation that, in 1906, ventured to propose a radical change as it confronted the cultural paralysis of the Porfirio Díaz days, and cultivated an interest in philosophy, Greek and Latin classics, and the universality of its era. Alfonso Cravioto and Luis Castillo Ledón served as editorial directors, and José María Sierra, Pedro Henríquez Ureña and Roberto Argüelles Bringas served as editorial secretaries.

Following in the footsteps of Revista Moderna (1903-11), the Savia Moderna celebrated the importance of the visual arts, which had inaugurated a truly innovative chapter in Mexican culture. A very young Diego Rivera illustrated the majority of the magazine’s covers.

Luis Rius Caso : CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Biblioteca Rubén Bonifaz Nuño del Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México