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    América monumental : el palacio Posnanski de La Paz / Teófilo Castillo
    Variedades (Lima). -- No. 561 (Nov. 30, 1918)
    p. [1137]-1140 : ill.
    Journal article – Essays
    Castillo, Teófilo. "América monumental : el palacio Posnanski de La Paz." Variedades (Lima), no. 561 (Nov. 30, 1918): [1137]-1140.
    Posnansky, Arthur, 1874-1946

In this article, Peruvian artist, photographer, and art critic Teófilo Castillo describes the architecture of Lima as deficient, proposing a structure he calls “el Palacio Posnanski” [sic], a home built by the Austrian engineer, amateur archaeologist, and explorer Arthur Posnansky in Bolivia as an alternative model. Castillo criticizes Peruvian architecture for its use of plaster and paints to create the illusion of stone, bronze, and other costly building materials. He also condemns the Peruvian affection for foreign styles and inferior imitations of the great buildings of Europe. Castillo praises Posnansky’s construction in the capital of Bolivia that imitates the architecture and adornment of Tiahuanacu [Tiwanaku], the city of Bolivian ruins that Posnansky studied for twenty years, and the subject about which he wrote in his book, Tiahuanacu, la cuna del hombre americano. While Posnansky modeled the building after the ruins of Tiahuanacu, he also included modern concessions, such as colored glass windows. Castillo claims that all architectural adornments on the building are carefully selected to reflect the traditions and history of Tiahuanacu. He describes Posnansky’s home as a beautiful example of Bolivian architecture, and expresses the desire that such architectural projects would be undertaken in Peru.



Teófilo Castillo (1857–1922) was a Peruvian artist, photographer, and teacher known primarily for his landscape paintings of Peruvian sites, such as the Templo del Sol in Cusco, the Andes mountain range in Áncash, and the Huascarán. While living in Argentina with his wife, Castillo pursued photography, and later returned to Lima in 1906 to teach painting, and work as an art critic. His paintings are often distinguished by their inclusion of precise architectural details. In 1920 Castillo founded the newspaper, Sol y Nieve, in Tucumán, Argentina. 

Arthur [Arturo] Posnansky (1873–1946) (referred to as Arthur Posnanski in Castillo’s article) was an Austrian explorer, engineer, ship navigator, amateur archaeologist, and entrepreneur who moved from Austria to South America in 1896 at the age of twenty-three. After participating on expeditions down the Amazon, Posnansky began his own Amazon river navigation company. During the Bolivian Acre Campaign in Brazil (1900–1) Posnansky rescued Bolivian members of the Acre garrison in Brazil and was captured by Brazilian forces, after which he fled to Europe. When Posnansky returned to Bolivia, he explored the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands, gave lectures, and published studies of his archaeological findings. His most important book, Tiahuanacu, the Cradle of American Man, was a multivolume work on the ruins of Tiahuanacu in Bolivia. The book included photographs and observations that have become an important record for later archaeological studies. Posnansky constructed a replica of the semisubterranean temple of Tiahuanacu in a plaza in Bolivia and also constructed his home in a neo-Tiahuanacan style. This home, the “Palacio Posnanski,” was later converted into a museum and library to display Posnansky’s findings.

Teófilo Castillo’s article, "América monumental. El Palacio Posnanski de La Paz," published in 1918, reflects the growing interest among Latin American artists, architects, and intellectuals in incorporating indigenous architectural heritage, which was coming to light through archaeological investigations, [and was being introduced] into modern architectural constructions.


Molly Moog; ICAA Team
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Teófilo Castillo Guas, 1918