Margarita Holguín y Caro (1875–1959) is among the least-studied artists in Colombian art historiography. She is possibly the only late nineteenth century woman artist whose work is still in Colombian museums and private collections.
The essay “Margarita Holguín y Caro o la disciplina de lo inútil” [Margarita Holguín y Caro or the Discipline of the Useless], the most complete of the three that have been written about her, discusses her work and the role of women in turn-of–the-century Colombian art. Prior to the publication of this essay the only information available on this artist was recorded in the magazine article by the historian and novelist Eduardo Caballero Calderón (1910-1993) “Margarita Holguín y Caro” (in Revista de América, Bogotá: Vol. 23, # 77, August 1956, pp. 190-92), and in occasional notes in books and magazine and newspaper articles published in the early twentieth century. The other two articles are also by Barney Cabrera who was largely responsible for reevaluating this artist’s work in the 1970s.
Eugenio Barney Cabrera (1917–1980) originally published this essay as the prologue to the catalogue for the exhibition of works by Holguín y Caro at the Colombian National Museum in March 1977. In 1980, a longer version of the essay was published in the book El arte en Colombia: temas de ayer y de hoy [Art in Colombia: Yesterday and Today], (Bogotá: Fondo Cultural Cafetero, 1980), which was the basis for this review.
Barney Cabrera was one of the most important Colombian art historians of the twentieth century. He was a teacher and director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (the actual Escuela de Artes Plásticas) [National University of Colombia’s School of Fine Arts (currently the School of Visual Arts], and is the author of many books and articles about the history of Colombian art.