In the forties, Catalan Ramón Vinyes (1882−1952) was the focal point for a group of young artists that gathered in Barranquilla. With the passage of time, these artists, who included Alejandro Obregón (1920−1992), Gabriel García Márquez (1927−2014), Álvaro Cepeda Samudio (1926–1972), and Alfonso Fuenmayor (1917−1994), would become major figures in the fields of art and literature. This article describes the atmosphere of the gatherings of a group that engaged in discussions that combined the visual arts and literature. Indeed, this juncture of word and image, of literature and art, is vital to understanding the process of modernization of the visual arts and criticism that took place in Colombia at that time.
What is called the Grupo de Barranquilla constituted an important gathering point and center of debate on European authors of the time whose work was bought to Colombia by European-educated Vinyes. The article also questions whether or not the Grupo de Barranquilla existed as such, thus formulating a theoretical debate around the terms “group” and “generation.” Roca Baena ends up affirming that there was, in fact, a cohesive group thanks in part to the weekly publication Crónica to which all the members contributed. Significantly, Roca Baena ventures a periodization that distinguishes between the group of the fifties, which was associated with Vinyes, and the group of the sixties, known as “La Cueva” for the bar where it would meet. Roca Baena underscores the intellectual humility of the young people who formed the group; they were more interested in exchanging opinions than in forming part of Colombian cultural history.