The essay “Reverón” by the Venezuelan writer, historian, diplomat and critic Mariano Picón Salas (1901−65) was initially published in 1939, around the time the Venezuelan artist was entering into the so-called “sepia” phase (between 1937 and 1946), according to the description attributed by Alfredo Boulton. This essay was envisioned and published by Picón Salas more than a decade before the artist made his first retrospective and more than fifteen years in advance of the publication of Armando Reverón o la voluptuosidad en la pintura by Boulton. In that text, Boulton established a periodization on the trajectory of the artist, which was one of the important factors highlighted in Picón Salas’ essay. The essay is visionary in character: already in the first lines Picón Salas expresses great conviction, when referring to the artist and his work, stating that “though it may not seem this way, Armando Reverón is one if not the most influential Venezuelan alive today.” The essay is also especially interesting for its innovative art criticism style in Venezuela (in the genre of an essay), especially when previous articles written on the artist were mostly brief biographies.
This essay, for many scholars, constitutes the first article that evaluates the importance of the works made by Armando Reverón. It also stands out, though the writer only briefly expands on this topic, for the relevant description on the three-dimensional work (dolls and objects) made by the artist. This point of view, or the critique of Reverón’s artistic style was not seriously addressed by critics until many years later. Even Alfredo Boulton, the first scholar on Reverón, failed to recognize the artistic value of his objects and dolls. Finally, Picón Salas makes it clear that Reverón’s purpose and artistic style was to deviate completely from the aesthetics of his contemporaries, the members of the Círculo de Bellas Artes (Manuel Cabré, Bernardo Monsanto, and Rafael Ramón González). Armando Reverón’s artistic style is studied in this essay—and thereby Picón Salas is also a precursor—as one of the greatest artists of modern art, equating him with Henri Matisse (1869−1954), especially regarding the artist’s “extraordinary decorative genius with a Venezuelan imprint.” This excerpt is published in Armando Reverón: 10 ensayos (Caracas: Concejo Municipal del Distrito Federal, 1975), as well as in Armando Reverón. Esta luz como para magos (Caracas: Fundación Museo Armando Reverón, 1992).
In reference to Armando Reverón, see the feature-interview by the reporter Carlos Morantes in “Visto por sí mismo…” , and the visit to “El Castillete,” the home of Reverón in Macuto, made by Gio Ponti in “Reverón, o la vita allo statu di Sogno…” .