Alipio Jaramillo (Colombian 1913-1999)
Alipio Jaramillo (Colombian 1913-1999)

9 de abril

Alipio Jaramillo (Colombian 1913-1999)
9 de abril
signed and titled 'Alipio Jaramillo, 9 de Abril' (lower right)
oil on masonite
47¾ x 35½ in. (121 x 90 cm.)
Painted circa 1948.
Acquired from the artist.
Private collection, Vienna.
Gift from the above to the present owner.
Exhibition catalogue, Arte y violencia en Colombia desde 1948, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Bogotá, 1999, (illustrated).
M. M. Malagón-Kurka, "Dos lenguajes contrastantes en el arte colombiano: nueva figuración e indexicalidad, en el contexto de la problemática sociopolítica de las décadas de 1960 y 1980," in Revista de Estudios Sociales, No. 31, Bogotá, 2008, p. 18.
Bogotá, Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Arte y violencia en Colombia desde 1948, May - June 1999.

Lot Essay

Along with Alejandro Obregón, Marco Ospina and Débora Arango, Alipio Jaramillo is considered one of the first Colombian artists to depict political turmoil and violence in his native Colombia. Jaramillo vividly records the horror and destruction that engulfed--first the city of Bogotá, and later spread to the countryside following the assassination of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, Liberal Party leader and presidential candidate on April 9, 1948. The massacre and violence his death unleashed became known as "El Bogotazo" and left more than 5,000 dead, thousands injured and the city of Bogotá nearly destroyed.

Jaramillo was one of the first artists to embark on the development and execution of a muralist project in Colombia and his close affinities with the Mexican muralist movement are well known. The artist, who had studied mural or fresco technique in Chile with the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros during his stay in 1941, also participated in numerous mural projects and exhibitions throughout the 1940s in cities such as Santiago, Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires and his work gained recognition during his years away from his native Colombia. Upon his return, Jaramillo, tried to pave the way for a new art--a national art that focused on the struggles of poor and disenfranchised classes in Colombian society.

In her book, Muertes violentas: la teatralización del exceso, the author, Elsa Blair Trujillo, praises Jaramillo's 9 de abril for his innovative way in structuring the compositional space which describes the city of Bogotá as the armed masses take to the streets. Men in suits with ties who hold rifles stand out as they seem to march into our space while the dead are stomped by others who are part of the same chaotic mass of rioters. Jaramillo's 9 de abril bears witness to a sad and terrific episode in Colombia's modern history. The artist's rendering of figures who tumble from the canvas or seem to march into our space armed with rifles and machetes, allow us to sense the frailty of human life and the desperation of those who are about to lose it in the struggle.

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