The Venezuelan writer Rómulo Gallegos (1884–1969) was his country’s president for a few months in 1948. His essay about Manuel Cabré provides a great deal of information about the Venezuelan artist, whom he describes as a symbol and embodiment of tenacity whose work reveals his vocation as a “natural artist” and his free spirit. Gallegos also sheds light on the art scene in Venezuela in the first two decades of the twentieth century, discussing such things as the difficulties associated with devoting oneself to art, the importance of the creation of the Círculo de Bellas Artes in 1912, and the emergence of landscape painting.
From 1918 through 1920, when the Círculo de Bellas Artes started to break up, a number of exhibitions were held in Caracas, and articles were written about them. In addition to Cabré’s show, there were exhibitions of works by the Romanian Samys Mützner (1918), the Venezuelan-born Impressionist Emilio Boggio (1919), who lived in France, and the Russian Symbolist painter Nicolás Ferdinandov (1920). To one extent or another, these three artists also influenced the Venezuelan painters in the Landscape School. The other important event of that period (also in 1920) was the joint exhibition of works by Armando Reverón and Rafael Monasterios. From that point on the work of the “Maestros del Círculo de Bellas Artes” took on greater importance. Rómulo Gallegos attended some of the gatherings at the Círculo.
The article by Gallegos was published in El Universal newspaper in Caracas on March 12, 1920. It was accompanied by the following note: “There has been a steady flow of visitors to the Manuel Cabré exhibition at the Salón de la Escuela de Música y Declamación, all of whom eagerly anticipate a profound, moving art experience. The success of this event confirms the stature of this painter as one of the greatest and noblest figures of contemporary Venezuelan art. The exhibition will remain open until next week. The following shrewdly-observed commentary recently appeared in Actualidades.”