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In this essay Teresa del Conde analyzes the characteristics of what she calls the “young painting of Mexico,” meaning those national vanguard trends that had arisen in the 1950s and that developed fully during the 1960s. Members of this group included artists such as Enrique Echeverría, Alberto Gironella, José Luis Cuevas and Vlady. They were united by an interest in expressing themselves through new forms and themes that were more in harmony with international trends. These young artists were likewise connected by their rejection of the nationalist, indigenous, and socialist dictates of the once dominant Mexican School of Painting.


Teresa del Conde was one of the first art historians to become interested in studying the phenomenon of the 1950s vanguard. Her work on Enrique Echevarría--which dates from the end of the 1970s--was a pioneering critical analysis based on the role that this generation had in the development of art and contemporary culture in Mexico. Through her study on Echeverría's origins and evolution, del Conde allows us to understand the difficulties that the vanguard artists endured during the 1950s, including the attacks by the Escuela Mexicana de Pintura [Mexican School of Painting] as well as the restricted access to galleries and other exhibition spaces. Nonetheless, del Conde shows how these artists very quickly--by the end of the 1950s--began to receive recognition, support and invitations from critics and institutions in the United States and Europe.

According to her observations, this support translated into a greater level of acceptance in Mexico, so that by the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, young painters such as Echeverría himself became recurrent figures in biennales, contests and collective exhibitions. Unfortunately, Echeverría's premature death in 1972 kept his work from being as well known as that of his contemporaries. In fact, despite his pioneering role with the Ruptura group, through the years Echeverría became consigned to obscurity within the history of Mexican art.

Alejandro Ugalde
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Teresa del Conde, Mexico City, México
Biblioteca Justino Fernández del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad de México, México