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Published in the catalogue for the first retrospective of Armando Reverón, which took place in Caracas in 1951, critic Enrique Planchart discusses the characteristics of Reverón’s “complex and changeable” personality. He describes the artist’s paintings as pertaining to the “Escuela de Caracas”, a name that Planchart also uses in reference to the landscape painters who continued the aesthetic of the Círculo de Bellas Artes (1912–17). He highlights an ambivalence between “reality and mystery” as characteristic of Reverón’s work, paying particular attention to the Spanish influences (Velázquez, Goya, Zuloaga, and El Greco). He also provides some biographical information on the artist.
This text by Venezuelan critic and poet Enrique Planchart Loynaz (1894–1953), published along with a brief text by French diplomat Gastón Diehl, is important because it is the principal essay in the catalogue for the first retrospective show of Venezuelan artist Armando Reverón, which took place in 1951 at the Centro Venezolano-Americano in Caracas. The text stands out, especially due to the Spanish influences that Planchart notices in Reverón’s work; in addition to the commonly noticed influences of Velázquez and Goya, the critic also finds influences by Ignacio Zuloaga, in specific works, making reference to a few paintings and pointing out features that exemplify his thesis: works in which one may discover a “Zuloaga-like Reverón,” which he states “have unfortunately been lost.” Another interesting aspect of this text is Planchart’s comments on the portrait that Reverón painted of him [Planchart] in 1915 (a paradigmatic work of the artist’s first period], and not only because he points out the marked influence of El Greco, but because, as is so rarely the case, the subject portrayed is the same who comments, critically, on the portrait as a work of art.
Finally, it should be noted that this text is evidence of the true reach of Planchart’s critical insight into twentieth-century Venezuelan art. Although his importance is based on his role as the founder of art criticism in Venezuela, he nevertheless did not manage to fully comprehend the meaning and principles of Reveron’s work, nor of all those artistic movements that, beginning in the 1950s, experimented in abstraction; specifically, Los Disidentes group.
A poetic text by Gastón Diehl, entitled “Armando Reverón” [doc. no. 808691], serves as a complement to this article and may be illuminating for those readers who are beginning to study this Venezuelan painter.