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Puerto Rican critic and artist José Antonio Torres Martinó discusses the works by Myrna Báez exhibited at the Museo de la Universidad de Puerto Rico in 1976. He states that though Báez makes use of North American neorealism, she distances herself from that movement both in content and technique. Her paintings, which are based on photographs, depict landscapes taken from her immediate environment, reaffirming Puerto Rico, its meaning, and identity. The landscape—Baéz’s preferred genre—reflects a political environment specific to Puerto Rico in the postwar period.


In this exhibition held at the Museo de la Universidad de Puerto Rico from August 17 to September 14, 1976, the artist presented nineteen paintings (acrylics on canvas) produced from 1972 to 1976: Muro [Wall], Fuga [Flight] (1972); La espera [The Wait], Tríptico [Triptych], Platanal [Banana Plantation], Bruma [Mist], Autopista hacia el sur [Highway South] (1974); La lámpara Tiffany [The Tiffany Lamp], Transfiguración en el tiempo [Transfiguration in Time], La calle [The Street], El mar [The Sea], Las guajanas (1975); El comedor [The Dining Hall], Paisaje con rocas [Landscape with Rocks], Paisaje de Barrojos [Barrojos Landscape], Maguey II, Las hojas [The Leaves], Paisaje de Trujillo Alto [Trujillo Alto Landscape], El jardín [The Garden] (1976).

Myrna Báez (San Juan, b. 1931) studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando [San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts] in Madrid, at the Taller de Gráfica del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña [Puerto Rican Cultural Institute Print Workshop], where Lorenzo Homar was the director, and at the Graphic Arts Workshop at Pratt Institute in New York. Together with José A. Torres Martinó and other artists, she was a founding member of the Hermandad de Artistas Gráficos [Fraternity of Graphic Artists] in 1981, which was organized to protest the cultural intervention of the annexationist government that was in power at the time. In 1988, the VIII Bienal de San Juan del Grabado Latinoamericano [8th San Juan Biennial of Latin American and Caribbean Prints] honored her as a Puerto Rican artist.


Flavia Marichal Lugo
Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte, Universidad de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Courtesy of José A. Torres Martino, San Juan, Puerto Rico