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Juan Liscano reviews the show that Gabriel Bracho had in 1951 at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas. The author notes that the painter, a dedicated follower of David Alfaro Siqueiros, “aspires to the fresco” and captures the problems and realities of the present in his work, with great symbolic weight and a clear identification between man and the landscape, all with a strong Americanist flavor. Liscano describes Bracho’s work as combat painting, opposed to the formalism of non-figurative art and removed from traditional landscape painting.


Poet, essayist, and folklorist, Juan Liscano discusses the exhibition of Venezuelan painter Gabriel Bracho that was held at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas in 1951. This review is part of a group of passionate critiques that revolved around Bracho’s controversial exhibition.  Although this text was not meant to directly confront the other critics that weighed in on this matter, it does outline one of the principal points of the debate: the open opposition that realist and combative art had with the non-figurative and formalist arts. The text confirms the differences between the aesthetic proposals of the old and new generations; and the rifts that also existed among the approaches of the young artists. It is important to note that the most piercing critiques against Bracho’s painting originated in a generational struggle.


Other writers that debated the exhibition of Gabriel Bracho were: Jesús Antonio Cova, with his article “Gabriel Bracho, pintor de Bajos Fondos” (Últimas Noticias, Caracas, August 23, 1951); Manuel Trujillo, who wrote “Decimos no a Bracho por su pintura comprometida” (El Nacional, Caracas, August 23, 1951); and Héctor Mujica with “Excelencias de un pintor comprometido” (El Nacional, Caracas, August 27, 1951) [see doc. no. 845986].


It is essential to emphasize that Liscano was a traditional supporter of the realist Venezuelan movement; he felt it was close to its cultural reality, as can be deduced from the concepts found in his first articles (1942) on the artists influenced by the Mexican muralist aesthetic: Héctor Poleo and Pedro León Castro.


For more on the work of artist Gabriel Bracho, see the essay by Pedro Lobos, “Semblanzas de nuestros días en la pintura de Gabriel Bracho” [doc. no. 1080662]; the article by Guillermo Alfredo Cook, “Bracho sacrifica lo más caro a todo artista: la libertad” [doc. no. 850751]; and the review by Manuel García Hernández, “El mensaje de Gabriel Bracho es neo-americano: cartas de Buenos Aires” [doc. no. 1101870].

Josefina Manrique
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Juan Liscano, 1951
Biblioteca Roldán Esteva-Grillet, Caracas