1st Floor Gallery
December 4 – January 29 2015

Text Room

Even though national artistic practices found their splendor in the illustration of the stories of their history during the years prior to the arrival of the twentieth century, and allowed clear access to the fragments of the past, it can be said that they were not the greatest contributors to the formation and structuring of the history of twentieth century art in our country. By contrast, some of the most important tools for the development of this history are directly related to the trends and forms of artistic expression that ruled in the West: the issues, fashions, attitudes and questions that were being adapted to the times and manifestations of Colombian culture.

The opening of the National School of Fine Arts in 1886, marked the beginning of an evolutionary process in the creation of languages of expression. With the influence of cultural patterns come from abroad and the teaching of different techniques, art began to be accepted as a language, while the trade of the artist started to enjoy recognition and appreciation.

Thus begun a transition period; Republican painting was revalued and the practice of representing national heroes and their participation in the battles of independence gradually lost its prominence. The interests of the early twentieth century highlighted the technique and the processes through which art and aesthetics are shown as inseparable.

At the same time, the nationalist instinct was once again gaining strength, and for decades works from the Costumbrismo movement, landscapes of our geography and the most typical still lifes of our idiosyncrasy dominated much of the visual productions of the country. The arts were increasingly acquiring more consistency and vigor.

It took little to introduce the ruling principles of the twentieth-century avant-gardes movements. Impressionism, geometric and expressionist abstraction, pop, surrealism, hyperrealism, expressionism and figurative art adapted to the culture and needs of national experimentation. Plastic practices were winning international recognition while becoming the most varied alternatives for the appreciation of the history and customs of a country.

However, the trends that gave rise to the structuring of a successive chain of avant-garde movements as well as the intentions of transforming them into a strict guideline to follow were not enough for history, perhaps. Since the early seventies, and with the revisionist intentions typical of the historical moment, we resort to a constant renaissance and a continuous recreation of previous models. The arrival of contemporary art and its pursuit of globalization opened up new possibilities for artistic expressions, and more than ever the horizon seemed to be infinite.

New media made the development of the arts in the twentieth century a fast and widespread race against time, which, characterized by changes in society and the concerns or mobilities of its protagonists, have enabled us today to understand the time where current artistic proposals are going through.

Monitoring the development and evolution of the arts in Colombia cannot be anything less than a dynamic passage through the elements of our culture. Hence, this exhibition is comprised as a journey through 100 years of plastic history, which, by the hand of its protagonists, presents what is and what will be a fundamental part of the history of national art. Masters. A Century of Art in Colombia, is also shown as a tribute to some of the masters who have enriched our culture through their multiple versions of reality, as well as to some international masters who have certainly set some of the guidelines of our artistic development.

Press Release

In the 20th century, Colombian art spread in very different directions, freely combining trends, tastes and inclinations in such a way that the plurality of creative activity was quite evident. Costumbrist works, landscapes and still lifes were the protagonists par excellence for several decades; as of this point, and with the support and guidance of the masters from schools that at some point in their lives had had direct access to the western trends and avant-gardes of the beginning of the century, Colombian fine art began to gain more independence, consistency and strength. The regulatory principles of the so-called artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century, such as Impressionism, Geometric and Expressionist Abstraction, Pop Art, Surrealism, Hyperrealism, Expressionism and Figurative Art adapted to our culture and our needs to experiment, resulting in a multiplicity of proposals which, in the majority of cases, enjoyed an important degree of recognition at a national and international level. With this exhibition, which has become a constant in the annual program of Galería El Museo, we want to honor the most important artists of the 20th century. These masters, who became the most important representatives of the artistic processes of their time, are a mandatory point of reference for current generations of artists today. Their talent has marked the history of national art and they have been crucial in the development of contemporary fine arts in Colombia.

This year, Galería El Museo has selected representative works of some Colombian artists that consolidated an important career over the years in the national and international context of fine arts. The exhibition includes works by masters such as Guillermo Wiedemann, Noé León, Alejandro Obregón, Carlos Rojas, Juan Antonio Roda, Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, Débora Arango, Fernando Botero, Beatriz González, Ana Mercedes Hoyos, Hugo Zapata, Feliza Bursztyn, Edgar Negret, Santiago Cárdenas and Álvaro Barrios, among others.

These exhibition will be open to the public until January 29, 2015 in the Galería El Museo building: Calle 81 No. 11 – 41. Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, all day. Free admission.