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Puerto Rican artist and essayist José A. Torres Martinó offers an account of artists working on the island from the 1940s through the 1960s. He speaks of the importance of the Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño (CAP); the División de Educación de la Comunidad (DIVEDCO); the Academia de Arte de Edna Coll; and the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP) as institutions that supported Puerto Rican art. Social realism and abstraction were among the major tendencies in painting during this period. The writer formulates the question “What is truly Puerto Rican painting?” to which he responds categorically, “Puerto Rican painting is painting that fosters the identity of boricuas [natives of Puerto Rico].” The artists he mentions include Lorenzo Homar, Rafael Tufiño, Carlos Raquel Rivera, Carlos Marichal, José R. Alicea, Myrna Báez, Antonio Martorell, Rafael Rivera Rosa, José Rosa, and Luis Hernández Cruz.




José A. Torres Martinó (Ponce, born 1916) is considered the ideological leader of the generation born in the 1950s in Puerto Rico. As such, he was among those who defended the creation of an autonomous artistic movement in Puerto Rico. He also played an active role as arts educator and promoter of the graphic arts. In 1969, he founded and taught at the Taller de Diseño Gráfico [Graphic Design Workshop] de la Escuela de Arquitectura de la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Working with the artist Myrna Báez, he founded the Hermandad de Artistas Gráficos de Puerto Rico in 1981. The reason for organizing this group of artists was to protest against government intervention in cultural matters at the time.

Flavia Marichal Lugo
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of José A. Torres Martino, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras