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[This document includes] a four-page brochure whose first page reads: “Universidad Nacional de Colombia/ Museo Nacional/ Exposición de pintura/ contemporánea/ octubre 1948.” The other three pages contain the names of the artists participating in the exhibition, known collectively as “Salón de los 26,” as well as the titles of their works. The following artists are named: Luis A. Acuña, Cecilia Aya, Carlos Correa, Hans Dreus, Pedro Nel Gómez, Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo, Marcel Gómez O’Obyrne, Enrique Grau Araujo, Alberto Iriarte, Alipio Jaramillo, Cecile Kalmanovitch, Erwin Kraus, Elvira de Nieto, Alejandro Obregón Rosés, Marco Ospina, Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Leo Riegner, Lucy Tejada, Hernando Tejada, Sofía Urrutia, Antonio Valencia, Guillermo Wiedemann, Julio Abril, Edgar Negret, and Adriano Moreno.


The conservative government of Colombia held the 1946 edition of the Salón Nacional de Artistas, an initiative that had begun in 1940 in order to support art and the viewing public, but then suspended the event until 1950 due to the growing violence between political factions in the country, and the state of siege and government censorship in 1949 after what is known as the “Bogotazo.” Though the government-sponsored event was cancelled from 1947 to 1949, exhibitions outside the realm of the Ministry were organized; in them, there was a degree of continuity with what had come before. Indeed, the shows included work by the “Americanists” (artists active in the thirties and forties who were concerned with creating a national art), and the “moderns.” The artists who emerged on the Colombian art scene through the Salón include Enrique Grau Araujo (1920–2004), who participated in the first edition of the Salón; Alejandro Obregón (1920–1992), who participated in the fifth edition held in 1944; Edgar Negret (b. 1920), and Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1923–2004), who participated in the seventh edition held in 1946. 

In October 1948, the new seat of the Museo Nacional of Colombia opened, and that same year the Exposición de pintura contemporánea, also known as the “Salón de los 26,” was a major event. The works in the exhibition were selected by Alejandro Obregón, who had been named director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes that same year. Viennese critic Walter Engel (1908–2005) called the exhibition an “expression of group enterprise, of coordinated will, of common effort by a group of artists obsessed with progress and conscious creative work. This spiritual convergence on the part of at least most of the participants was unprecedented at the Salones Anuales and at the Salón de Artistas Jóvenes held in April 1947.”


Cristina Lleras Figueroa
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of Museo Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia