Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In this letter from Mexican printmaker Alberto Beltrán to his friend and colleague, Puerto Rican Lorenzo Homar, the former discusses the 50th anniversary of the Taller de Gráfica Popular [TGP, People’s Print Workshop] in Mexico. Beltrán tells Homar that the event was not short on either disorganization or controversy, probably as a result of the political content of the exhibition. The lack of organization was most noticeable in the inadequate publicity for the event and the shortage of money to produce an exhibition catalog. In Beltrán’s opinion, Mexican critic Raquel Tibol stirred up some of the problems when she said that the TGP’s work lacked depth because it was mostly in black and white. Beltrán tells Homar that the poster created by the Puerto Ricans who attended the TGP thirty years earlier was included in the retrospective that was presented at the Palacio de Bellas Artes [Palace of Fine Arts] in Mexico City in 1987.

Annotations

In 1958, Puerto Rican printmaker Lorenzo Homar went to Mexico City with the delegation of Puerto Rican artists who took part in the I Bienal Interamericana de Pintura y Grabado [1st Inter-American Biennial of Painting and Prints]. In Mexico City they were feted by the Taller de Gráfica Popular [People’s Print Workshop] (TGP). This was where Homar met Leopoldo Méndez, Mariana Yampolsky, Arturo García Bustos, and Beltrán himself, among others. Following this trip, Homar developed a close friendship with Beltrán (1923–2002). Homar’s archives contain a wealth of correspondence between the two men. Beltrán, who was devoted to the nationalist cause, joined the TGP in 1944. He was awarded first prize in the print category at the Primera Bienal Interamericana de Pintura y Grabado [First Inter-American Biennial of Painting and Prints]. Beltrán was the publisher of two newspapers that featured cartoons, Ahí va el golpe [Be careful!] and El Coyote Emplumado [The Feathered Coyote] as well as deputy director for graphics at the newspaper El Día

Lorenzo Homar (San Juan, 1913–2004) was a printmaker, poster artist, calligrapher, book illustrator, set and clothing designer, and mentor to a whole generation of Puerto Rican printmakers. From 1952 to 1957, he was the director of the Taller de Gráfica [Graphics Workshop] at the División de Educación de la Comunidad (DIVEDCO). In 1955, he organized the Taller de Gráfica at the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña (ICP), where he remained until 1973. Later, he worked in his own studio, where he experimented with and perfected the silkscreen technique.

 

Researcher
Flavia Marichal Lugo.
Team
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Credit
Courtesy of the private archives of Laura and Susan Homar Dämm, San Juan Puerto Rico, PR