Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Exégesis de un capricho al óleo de Ruelas / José Juan Tablada
    Revista Moderna de México (México, D. F., México). -- No.3 (Nov.,1904)
    p. 127-129 : ill.
    Journal article – Essays
    Tablada, José Juan. "Exégesis de un capricho al óleo, de Ruelas." Revista Moderna de México (Mexico City), no.3 (November 1904): 127-129.
Editorial Categories [?]

This inspired article is an homage to one of the most famous paintings by artist Julio Ruelas, entitled “Llegada de D. Jesús E. Luján a la Revista Moderna – 1899” [D. Jesús E. Luján’s Arrival at Revista Moderna – 1899]. The painting pays homage to the famous patron of the arts and to the staff of the publication that began to be published again in 1904, thanks to the generosity of Luján. Tablada identifies the people depicted with great imagination by Ruelas, the artist from Zacatecas, who, inspired by H. G. Wells’ Island of Doctor Moreau, portrayed them as animal-like. The poet and art critic wanted to establish the role of the magazine’s staff in the cultural tradition of the country, accompanied by the hope of opposing the excessive development of railroads and packing factories with intellectual and spiritual force. The small painting is a rare jewel in Mexican art; it is one of the most original and charming examples of symbolism in Mexico.


On a book about Mexican avant-garde art, both Modernism as well as the Revista Moderna (1898-1911) are required references. This publication reported on the fruits of the second era of Latin American modernism, which was as audacious as the first in literary terms, as well as the most brilliant regarding the visual arts, thanks to the publication of Julio Ruelas’ illustrations, among other reasons. Its sphere of influence reached throughout the continent; it once again established the undeniable relevance of Mexican culture on the horizon of the international avant-garde. 

José Juan Tablada (1871-1945) was an enthusiastic collaborator on Revista Moderna, after having overcome a long period of silence and crises of depression. His collaboration was comprised of two stages (over the 13-year life of the magazine): assiduous work on the editorial staff in the first, and publication of poems, articles, critiques, essays, translations, stories, reviews, and biographical sketches during the second one. It is evident that Tablada contributed to defining the magazine’s editorial profile, wherein significant space was devoted to the visual arts in a way that emphasized their modern character, although in the terms of the turn of the century culture. Above all, it was in this magazine that he forged the art criticism that from that time forward would help to shape the distinctive profile of the Mexican avant-garde.

Luis Rius Caso
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Courtesy of Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, Universidad Autónoma de México, Mexico City, México
Fondo Reservado del Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional