Alberto Lasplaces (1887–1950) was a writer and cultural journalist; he was the director of the magazine La Cruz del Sur. Revista de artes e ideas, which was published for ten years, from 1924 until 1934. The painter Pedro Figari (1861–1938) contributed several articles to the magazine while he was living in Paris. As documented in their extensive epistolary communication, Figari and Lasplaces were good friends. The latter, meanwhile, waited in vain for submissions from Rafael Barradas (Uruguay 1890–1929). In this letter, Lasplaces expresses his ongoing frustration with local cultural conditions. This was a relatively common attitude at the time among intellectuals who, though in practice openly agreed with the “Welfare State” advocated by the political party led by José Batlle y Ordóñez (1856–1929), vehemently condemned it on a theoretical level. They did so in café conversations and letters, in response to the supposed neglect and lack of understanding that afflicted local artists. The group involved in these discussion included artists of some standing, such as the painter José Cúneo (1887–1977), an early member of the Teseo group; the painter Pedro Figari, who had left Montevideo in 1921 (he first went to Buenos Aires, then settled in Paris in 1925); the poet, critic, journalist, and anthologist of Uruguayan poetry Julio J. Casal (1889–1954); the Franco-Uruguayan poet Jules Supervielle (1884–1960); the painter Carlos Alberto Castellanos (1881–1945) who lived in Paris and later in Mallorca, and Rafael Barradas. They all became friends, meeting in Montevideo cafés from 1905 to 1910, as is briefly and colloquially documented in this letter.
[As complementary reading, see the following articles about Barradas in the ICAA digital archive: “Barradas” (1243461), and “Barradas el uruguayo” (1197352), written by Manuel Abril; “Barradas pintor de eternidad,” by Artur Perucho (1243392); “De la Tragedia de la Imagen [Barradas]” (1225969), and ”Rafael Barradas” (1243440) written by Vicente Basso Maglio; “Emoción ante Barradas,” by Cipriano Santiago Vitureira (1218884); “Los artistas uruguayos en Europa: Rafael Barradas,” by Joaquín Torres García (1228429); “El pintor Juan Carlos Figari Castro,” by Jorge Páez Vilaró (1228547); and “En torno a Barradas,” by Clotilde Luisi (1227809)].