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


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    [Las obras expuestas dan una idea ajustada...] / Antonio Berni
    Antonio Berni. -- Buenos Aires : Galería Viau, 1952
    Book/pamphlet article – Catalogs
    Berni, Antonio. "[Las obras expuestas dan una idea ajustada...]." In Antonio Berni. Exh. cat., Buenos Aires: Galería Viau, 1952.

Antonio Berni writes about Nuevo Realismo [New Realism], which he defines as an aesthetic identity that, in Latin America, vacillates between form and content.


Antonio Berni (1905–81) is one of the most important Argentine artists in the twentieth century. Starting in 1925, he studied in Europe, settling in Paris where he came into contact with the Surrealist avant-garde and communist ideas. Upon returning to Argentina in 1932, he showed his Surrealist works at the Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art]. The following year, he joined the Equipo Polígrafo [Graphic Work Team] founded by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974). That group made the mural, Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Exercise], in Don Torcuato on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. His Nuevo Realismo [New Realism] theory was based on the idea of a transcendent realism by means of politically and socially committed art.In 1944, he started the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. In the fifties, he made paintings about rural workers, especially those from Santiago del Estero, a province in northern Argentina. This gave rise to his narrative series of painting-collages on Juanito Laguna. In 1962, he was awarded the Grand Prize for Prints and Drawings at the Venice Biennale. The following year, Berni began working on a print series on Ramona Montiel. Though he continued working in the media of painting, collage, and printmaking, Berni (who was from Rosario, Argentina) also made objects, installations, and happenings in the sixties and seventies while exploring stylistic variations of figurative realism. 

This document is essential to understanding Nuevo Realismo, which was, according to Berni’s definition in the early fifties, a new “humanism.” It is particularly interesting that in this text Berni defines Nuevo Realismo as a specifically Latin American movement, while in others from these years he takes pains to place it in an international context. During this period, Berni was producing tempera paintings of workers from Santiago del Estero––a province in northern Argentina––that conveyed a deep social message.

Roberto Amigo.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Archivo Berni. Copia en Fundación Espigas (materiales especiales, carpetas Archivo Berni).