Arts & Entertainment

Museum featuring works by iconic Uruguayan painter marks 30th anniversary

Montevideo, Jul 28 (EFE).- The Torres Garcia Museum, a space devoted to preserving part of the artistic legacy of the iconic Uruguayan painter and creator of Constructive Universalism, on Wednesday celebrated its 30th anniversary with a simple event in which numerous personalities from the South American country’s cultural milieu participated.

At age 107, Joaquin Torres Garcia’s then-widow Manolita Piña (1883-1994) managed on July 28, 1991, to achieve her dream of gathering together in one place in Montevideo a large collection of works by the artist who “changed the history of art in this country,” according to Alejandro Diaz, the museum director.

The great-grandson of the painter with Catalan roots said that the influence of the works of Torres Garcia (1874-1949) “was and continues to be very significant” for society in Uruguay, the country where the artist was born and died, although he lived in Spain, the United States and France before returning to his homeland and founding the painting workshop that nurtured artists like Jose Gurvich, Gonzalo Fonseca and Julio Alpuy.

After 30 years, the museum is now confronting the present and immediate future in a rather “fragile” state, given the coronavirus pandemic which forced it to remain closed for a year-and-a-half, as Jimena Perera, the president of the Torres Garcia Foundation and another great-grandchild of the artist, said.

Nevertheless, she added that this situation should open up “an opportunity for dialogue” with other institutions to seek their support.

Meanwhile, Uruguayan Education and Culture Minister Pablo da Silveira emphasized that his ministry intends to continue supporting the museum, which is privately managed and under an agreement with the state whereby Torres Garcia is considered “the symbol of Uruguayan culture.”

“It’s one of the great treasures of Uruguayan culture, not only for what he painted, but also for the experience of the Torres Workshop, which was a workshop that trained a great many people. Many of them continued painting according to Torres’ style, others committed their patricides and ended up distancing themselves in their painting style, but a few owe a great deal to the maestro,” he said in remarks to EFE at the close of the event.

Da Silveira commented that his ministry is working on a number of measures to support culture, which has been “hard hit” by the pandemic but which, at the present time, has a “very positive outlook” because, he said, people want to go out and take part in or experience cultural activities.

The Torres Garcia Museum, located in Montevideo’s historic Old City and one of the sites most visited by international tourists, includes paintings, sketches and watercolors and 12,674 written documents, including letters, art books and essays.


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