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In this article Damián Bayón conducts interviews with two Italian artists: the first with Massimo Campigli and the second with Léon Gischia. Bayón formulates his questions to both interviewees around the problem of explaining the “success” of abstract art and the future consequences of this particular phenomenon in painting, and for art in general. From his point of view Bayón states: “[it is] false . . . that today’s art, [abstract art], . . . [is] the result of a gradual abstraction that begins with the ancients and continues through Cézanne and the cubists.” In his judgment, “the obscuring of reality,” cannot be explained by such a trajectory, but rather it is better explained “not . . . so much [by] the will to do one thing, but the impossibility of doing another.” He adds: “the majority of cognizant painters cannot place before themselves an apple or a pot or a naked woman. These are things that . . . do not speak a word . . . to them.” For Bayón, the crisis of easel painting amounts to the following formulation. The lack of a framework in abstract art led the author to conclude with a question: could mural painting, the integration of all the arts (architecture, painting, sculpture) and the future of art itself, be the future of abstract painting?
Damián Carlos Bayón (1915–95) was an art critic, teacher and author of numerous books. He held a Ph.D in history and was a disciple of Jorge Romero Brest (1905-89); in 1948 he became one of the founders of the magazine Ver y estimar, for which Brest served as editor. The following year, Bayón moved to Paris and continued to collaborate on the magazine until 1955 (the final year of its publication). He then began working with theoretician Pierre Francastel. In the next two decades, he became professor in the University of Texas at Austin.Ver y estimar had two publication eras: the first encompassed its first thirty-four issues, published between 1948 and 1953; the second stage, between 1954 and 1955, consisted of ten issues. This publication was meant to be educational with regard to art criticism, for its readers and for the students of Romero Brest who collaborated on the magazine. Its articles dealt with artists, exhibitions and problems within the local milieu and international scene contexts, as well as with different historical periods. This document details Bayón’s hypothesis and his reflections on the problems handled in the contemporary art of his time. In relation to this article, it is important to note that Ver y estimar had begun to support abstract art beginning with issue nine of its first stage of publication—April 1949—and that this stance would take on more importance in each of the successive issues of the magazine.In relation to this document, please see “Entrevista a Pierre Francastel sobre el arte abstracto” [Interview with Pierre Francastel on Abstract Art], in issue thirty-one of Ver y estimar, April 1953.