This article, which was published in the first issue of the magazine Plástica, patently shows that in the fifties the Colombian art scene was ready for the advent of Modern art. The attitude of art critic Marta Traba (1923-1983), as well as her remarks on the canvases on exhibit in this show, attests to the fact that there was now professional criticism in Colombia, that is, criticism that addressed artists’ visions on the basis of their works and the relationship between those works and modern tendencies like abstraction. Furthermore, at galleries like “El Callejón,” which opened in Bogotá in 1951, Casimiro Eiger (1911–1987) gathered works by artists with a wide range of visions. In Traba’s view, galleries like that one played a role in the formation of an incipient modern sensibility.
Similarly significant were art magazines like Plástica, run by artist Judith Márquez (1925–1994), which addressed the concerns of Modern artists and critics. In sum, this text demonstrates how Modernism was becoming central to a variety of players on the art scene (gallerists, artists, critics, and editors) during the critical decade of the fifties. With the exception of Édgar Negret (b. 1920), all the artists featured in the exhibition that Traba reviews in this text—figures like Obregón, Botero, Grau, Wiedemann, and Ramírez Villamizar—were instrumental to the consolidation of Modern art in Colombia.