Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In this letter to Puerto Rican printmaker Lorenzo Homar, Colombian artist Pedro Alcántara discusses various problems that had arisen at the Museo La Tertulia in Cali after completion of the first graphic portfolio. Alcántara mentions that architect Manolo Lago had taken the first steps toward the construction of a workshop, but that there had been no consultation with the graphic artists who were members of the museum. Alcántara also says that a second, more international portfolio is going to be organized, though there is no guarantee that the members of the workshop would be involved in the necessary planning process. Financial issues are among the group’s problems—one of the members has not been duly paid. Alcántara says that an exhibition of Colombian art is scheduled to be presented in Havana, and in closing, announces that several artists (including himself, Álvaro Medina, Marilú Arango, and Phanor León) are researching how the struggles of the people of Colombia have been reflected in the graphic arts since the nineteenth century.  

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Lorenzo Homar (San Juan, 1913-2004) organized in 1957 the Taller de Gráfica [Graphics Workshop] at the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, which he directed until his resignation in 1973. Some of the foremost artists of Puerto Rican art studied printmaking techniques in this workshop. Homar inspired in them dedication and love for the art, for, as he once said: “There is no vocation without discipline, and without discipline there can be no freedom in art, or elsewhere.” Homar was one of the organizers of the First Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano held in 1970. He developed the technique of silkscreen and offered numerous workshops in and outside Puerto Rico.

Homar met Colombian artist Pedro Alcántara (b. 1942) when the latter was in San Juan for an exhibition of his work at the Galería El Morro (Dibujos y monotipos [Drawings and Monotypes], December 4, 1970) and for the Primera Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano [First Latin American Print Biennial, San Juan] (1970) in which Alcántara participated. Later, Alcántara had the opportunity to work in Homar’s studio, where he first came into contact with the silkscreen technique. From that time on, they became and remained close friends. In 1972, Homar was invited by the Museo La Tertulia in Cali, Colombia, to give a class on silkscreen [printing] to a group of artists from that city. During the ten-day workshop, artists Pedro Alcántara, Enrique Grau, and Phanor León were able to print silkscreens for the portfolio that Cartón de Colombia was putting together that year. Shortly after the workshop, Alcántara, with Homar’s assistance, began working on plans to open a permanent printmaking studio. On August 23, 1974, a show featuring some of Alcántara’s graphic work from 1964 to 1974 was held at the Museo de Grabado Latinoamericano [Latin American Print Museum] of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. Homar designed and printed the poster announcing the exhibition.

 

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