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This interesting article by the critic Okusai (the pseudonym of José Juan Tablada) reports on the two important art exhibitions held in Mexico in 1906: that of the magazine Savia Moderna [Modern Sap] and another of artists sponsored by the Mexican government to study in Europe. He highlights the fact that only artists of high quality participated in the shows. They were overwhelmingly concentrated in landscapes, which he interprets as an evolutionary step toward a national art. 


The debate surrounding the 1906 show of Mexican artists sponsored in Europe (for which a follow-up exists in this database) can be taken as a manifestation of a clear artistic process, both at the level of production and in the education and cultural policy of the state. It likewise displays the interest that critics had in following the careers of the most promising young artists, such as Julio Ruelas (1870-1907), Diego Rivera (1886-1957), Roberto Montenegro (1885-1968), Gonzalo Argüelles Bringas, Francisco Goitia (1882-1960), Alfredo Ramos Martínez (1871-1946) and Juan Téllez Toledo.

This show anticipates the greater notoriety that would be generated by Dr. Atl in 1910, as well as at the Academy, during the Centennial celebrations. The debate also reveals the era’s vision for a national art: to break free from the stagnant past of the Academy and, in particular, from the hold of Pelegrín Clavé (the majority of critics agreed on this point). There was a parallel desire, just as Okusai explains, to prepare for that national art by generating circumstances that would be favorable to it. The evolutionary focus of art, which was then quite evident, calls attention to positivist thought in this article.

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