The text documents the response of Peruvian painter Antonino Espinosa Saldaña to the comments made by critic Carlos Raygada in El Comercio (Lima, January 21, 1934). In his reply, Espinosa establishes clear differences between an expressionistic style and decoration, using a hypothesis of a synthetic kind.
At the beginning of the 1930s, a new arts group arose in Lima: Los Duendes, a group of painters who embraced a symbolism with roots in literature that incorporated Art Deco elements, and whose aesthetic proposal was founded as an alternative to the prevailing indigenous art trend. Brought together around poet José María Eguren (1874–1942), the first and only collective exhibition of these “independent Peruvians” was held in June 1931. Antonino Espinosa Saldaña was the only member of the group who sustained an artistic career, although he did not participate in the show. Perhaps because of this, his work generated a brief exchange of opinions within the local scene on the elusive categorization of this type of proposal. In December 1933, Espinosa exhibited a collection of ceramics and tempera paintings, which included a pictorial interpretation (akin to abstraction) of Maurice Ravel’s Bolero. With titles such as El tiempo [Time] and La inteligencia [Intelligence], the works claimed an allegorical density in a genre and style considered “decorative.” Critic Carlos Raygada pointed out this contradiction and questioned the relevance of the timid experimentalism present in some of his “movement” studies. The as yet unidentified F. H. Dursself praised the dynamism of these works, affirming their germinal role within a new avant-garde art.
[For more on “Los Duendes,” see the following texts in the ICAA digital archive: by Calícrates (pseudonym of Antonino Espinosa Saldaña) “Las acuarelas de Isajara y los versos de Eguren” (1143323); (unattributed) “Borrador del texto de presentación de la muestra by Antonino Espinosa Saldaña” (1143457); by Carlos Raygada “Ecos artísticos” (1143790); by Antonino Espinosa Saldaña “La exposición de pinturas de Julia Codecido” (1141229); and by F. H. Dursself “El sentido del ritmo en el arte de Espinosa Saldaña” (1143775)].