This document was written by the critic from Vienna, Walter Engel (1908–2005), based in Colombia as of 1938. His subject was the first individual exhibition held by the artist, Cecilia Porras (1920–1971), which opened on July 27, 1955, at the gallery El Callejón in Bogotá. The author is emphatic about pointing out the formal elements that make up the paintings and drawings shown, as well as the artist’s command of her trade. At the time, foreign critics such as Engel, the Pole, Casimiro Eiger (1911–1987) and the Argentine, Marta Traba (1923–1983) followed the work of young Colombian artists. These critics took it upon themselves to disseminate information about their achievements and talents under the assumptions of Modern art, basing their arguments on a formalist point of view.
We must also consider that Porras was one of a group of female artists that included both Judith Márquez (1925–1994) and Lucy Tejada (1920–2011). Starting in the 1950s, this group participated actively in national and international exhibitions as well as social gatherings of intellectuals. They worked as professional artists, following the postulates of Modern art, which essentially sought to use strictly visual art elements.
It is interesting that the writer of this text names the artists, Alejandro Obregón (1920–1992) and Enrique Grau (1920–2004), as figures that were influential on young artists. The first wielded his influence as director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes, and the second was an inspiration in Porras’s work. Though they were not necessarily older than the other artists, Obregón and Grau enjoyed early recognition in the art world based on their respective ways of interpreting their environment. They did this through new pictorial languages, in such a way that other young artists openly adopted some elements of the working methods of both Obregón and Grau.