The prolific figurative work of Sergio Trujillo Magnenat (1911–99) reflects his handling of an artistic language that covered a broad spectrum, from genres such as portraiture and landscapes to illustration, design, and murals. His independence in the course of conceiving and executing his work made him an innovative artist, according to the Colombian curator, docent, and art historian, Carmen María Jaramillo (b. 1958). This can be seen clearly in mural works he executed as early as 1942. These Trujillo murals were undoubtedly related to those of the contemporary nationalists Luis Alberto Acuña (1904–94) and Pedro Nel Gómez (1899–1984), based on their conviction that art must be for the community. They are also an example of the artist’s capacity to explore and use new techniques and materials (such as orthosilicates) in keeping with the modern classifications and customs of urban architecture.
Trujillo Magnenat had an interest in teaching art and bringing it to the community. In addition to the distinction of creating one of the largest bodies of mural artwork of the twentieth century, he also used his creativity to illustrate publications from literature to science and history. He also created lithographs that were widely distributed in the public schools. Beyond a social, Latin American, and nationalist art (in vogue in his generation), his work is based on a close relationship between art and daily life, between creation and craftwork, between the language of art and the needs of modern urban life.
This article was published in the catalogue for the retrospective exhibition, which includes artwork, a chronology of his life and work, and a list of his works.