The voices of artists are little heard in Colombian art history. Only a handful of published texts by local artists from the first half of the 20th century attest to their particular interests or visions of culture, society, and art. Written by Coriolano Leudo Obando (1866?1957), this brief essay on Epifanio Garay (1849?1903) is one of the few examples of a published text that voices one artist’s vision of another. Leudo Obando states his position on both academic and Modern art. This text is one of the first biographies of Garay and, as such, it is an important source for the history of academic art from the second half of the 20th century.
It appears that the essay “Epifanio Garay” is the only published piece of writing by Coriolano Leudo Obando. Though the precise date of publication is unknown, it was released in around 1930 as part of a series of publications funded by the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes. The text was reprinted, though without the first paragraph, in the book Iniciación de una guía de arte colombiano (Bogotá: Academia Nacional del Bellas Artes, 1934, pp. 135?38). Excerpts were published in the Bogotá-based magazine Vida (No. 24, April 1939, p. 11) as well.
While artist Francisco Antonio Cano (1865?1935) did write on Epifanio Garay as early as 1903 (Lectura y arte magazine, Medellín, Issues 4-5, September 1903, pp. 62?69), the first relatively thorough historical and critical analyses of his work were written in the seventies (see, for instance, the chapter “Triunfo de la República - Nacimiento de la burguesía. El retrato como documento de clase” by Marta Traba in the book Historia abierta del arte colombiano (Cali: Museo La Tertulia, 1974)). Traba’s text attacks Garay and other academic artists. The book Garay (Bogotá: Colcultura, 1978), released by the Museo Nacional of Colombia in the same decade, also addresses Garay’s work.