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The Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño sponsored the second painting exhibition in the Plaza de Armas in Old San Juan in 1952. The jury was composed of Irene Delano, Fernando Monserrate, and Father Marcolino Maas, and first prize was given to Rafael Tufiño. Although there was a jury, the public was also given the opportunity to vote, and the painting El Viejo [The Old Man], by the Puerto Rican artist Juan Rosado, was the popular favorite.


In 1950, Rafael Tufiño, José Antonio Torres Martinó, Félix Rodríguez Báez, and Lorenzo Homar founded the Centro de Arte Puertorriqueño (CAP). Among the range of functions fulfilled by CAP, there was a collective printmaking workshop, an art school, an exhibition space, and a meeting space. CAP’s political ideology was based on the nationalist ideas of Pedro Albizu Campos (a Puerto Rican nationalist leader) as well as the ideas of the Taller de Gráfica Popular [TGP,People’s Graphics Workshop] in Mexico, where Tufiño and other artists had studied. Its objective was to work collectively in order to create a Puerto Rican art identified with the people. The CAP objective was embodied in its first graphic art portfolio titled La estampa puertorriqueña [The Puerto Rican Print], published in 1951. For the CAP artists, printmaking was the favored medium for reaching a vast public and working collectively to that end, thus infusing a new vitality into the art of the Island.

Flavia Marichal Lugo
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico