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    Arte : Dewasne
    La Prensa (Lima, Perú). -- Sep. 19, 1954
    Newspaper article – notes
    La Prensa (Lima, Perú). "Arte: Dewasne." September 19, 1954.

This is an anonymous article about the French painter Jean Dewasne’s forthcoming visit to Lima in 1954, including a review of his career and his status as a key figure in the European art scene. He is described as being among those who were responsible for the renewal of abstraction after World War II; he moved in the same circles as Víctor Vasarely, Jean Deyrrolle and, later, Alberto Magnelli. The dialectic between the artist and his materials is the creative principle in Dewasne’s work; he believes that the creative process is comparable to a demolition of reality. His work, which is rational and exact, is limited to two or three types of rhythms that, succinctly, distinguish it from mechanism. His objective is to express beauty as “a creation that is clear and accessible to everyone.” 


Despite the popularity of abstract expressionism, works such as those produced by Jean Dewasne (1921–99) had a profound impact on Peruvian non-figurative art in the 1950s. During that decade several Peruvian painters visited his Atelier d’Art Abstrait in Paris, including Eduardo Gutiérrez (b. 1920) and Benjamín Moncloa (b. 1927), who had a distinguished career when he returned to Peru. More important still was the French artist’s visit to Peru in 1954 on the occasion of his exhibition at the Galería de Lima. That exhibition was part of an ambitious cycle that introduced Peruvians to European modernity (including works from Italy) and generated a year-long debate on the subject of abstract art. In Lima, Dewasne forged strong ties with non-figurative artists (including Szyszlo) and others who later took part in the Primer Salón de Arte Abstracto in 1958, an event that revealed the extent of Dewasne’s influence. [See the following in the ICAA digital archive, “I Salón de Arte Abstracto” by the Patronato de las Artes (doc. no. 1143441)]. Largely encouraged by Luis Miró Quesada Garland (1914–94)—the grand champion of modernism—Lima critics on the whole acknowledged the quality of Dewasne’s work, thereby underscoring the potential of non-figurative art. [See the following articles by Garland “En blanca y negra...: arte abstracto de Jean Dewasne” (doc. no. 859530); and “En blanca y negra...” (doc. no. 859589)]. There were, however, important critics such as Sebastián Salazar Bondy (1924–64) [see “Artes plásticas” (doc. no. 859550)] and Edgardo Pérez Luna (1928–84) [“De arte: Jean Dewasne en la Galería de Lima” (doc. no. 859484)], who questioned the relevance of this kind of painting in Latin America, a continent whose “germinal” status, in their opinion, demanded a form of art that reflected a broader social reality.  

Ricardo Kusunoki
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru