Degand, Léon. "Breve psicología de arte abstracto." Saber Vivir (Buenos Aires), August 1949, 44–49.
The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This text argues that the viewing public must change its attitude in order to appreciate the expressive and emotional power of abstract art, a power once believed to be the sole terrain of figurative art. In this respect, Dégand states that the psychological processes of abstract painting and “pure music” are one and the same.
Belgian art critic Léon Degand (1907–58) was a leftist activist and an advocate of abstract art. In 1947, he lost his job as a columnist for the Parisian journal, Les Lettres Françaises, when the aesthetic of Socialist Realism overtook control of the editorial staff. In 1948, at the insistence of Francisco (Ciccillo) Matarazzo, he took part in the creation of the Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo and organized the exhibition, Arte Abstracto. Del arte figurativo al arte abstracto [Abstract Art: From Figurative to Abstract Art] (1949), which was on display first in Brazil and then at the Instituto de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires.The monthly magazine, Saber Vivir [The Art of Living], came into being at the impetus of Chilean diplomat and gourmet José Eyzaguirre. It was published from August 1940 through 1957 due to the efforts of Carmen Valdés, Alberto Lagos, Catalan Joan Merli, and a great many contributors.This document has been selected because it offers evidence of the wide circulation of Léon Degand’s thinking on abstract art in the context of the exhibition, Arte Abstracto. Del arte figurativo al arte abstracto. Indeed, the fact that his ideas were published in a magazine like Saber Vivir is significant, as the Buenos Aires middle class read it extensively.