The author of this article, Ricardo Peña, was one of the most distinguished poets of the Peruvian avant-garde generation of the 1930s. Other members of this group included his brother Enrique, Martín Adán, Emilio A. Westphalen, César Moro, and Carlos Oquendo de Amat. Peña was also a painter whose work was exhibited in Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, New York, and Viña del Mar. His association with the avant-garde enabled him to take a formalist view of Sabogal’s work, as distinct from critical theme-based interest that were in tune with indigenism. Indigenist painting flourished in Peru from the 1920s to the 1940s as part of a broader movement that sought to redefine Peruvian identity in terms of indigenous elements. Although at some points it was entirely focused on the “indigenous” story and the glorious Inca past that also championed a mestizo identity portrayed as a result of the integration of “native” and “Hispanic” cultures. The main ideologue and unchallenged leader of the Indigenist movement in the visual arts was José Sabogal (1888–1956), whose profound interpretation of the concept of “being rooted” was deeply influenced by regional art movements in Spain (exemplified by Ignacio Zuloaga [1870–1945], among others) and in Argentina (Jorge Bermúdez [1883–1926], to mention just one); Sabogal spent a great deal of time in these countries during his formative years. When he returned to Peru in late 1918, he settled in Cuzco where he produced about forty oil paintings of people and scenes of the city; these works were subsequently shown in Lima (1919) at an exhibition that is considered the formal beginning of Indigenist painting in Peru. Sabogal’s second solo exhibition at the Casino Español (1921), established his reputation. He joined the faculty at the new Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in 1920, where he was eventually appointed director (1932–43). There he trained a group of painters who joined the Indigenist movement: Julia Codesido, Alicia Bustamante (1905–1968), Teresa Carvallo (1895–1988), Enrique Camino Brent (1909–1960), and Camilo Blas (1903–1985). In 1937, Sabogal had an exhibition at the Sociedad Filarmónica de Lima that consisted of forty-nine canvases he had painted over the course of the previous six years. He included, for the first time, six views of the Amazon, influenced by the “primitivism” of Paul Gauguin, which he had painted on a recent trip to the jungle in northern Peru. This exhibition was held during the period of greatest opposition to indigenism and to Sabogal’s leadership in that field. In the mid-1930s, a powerful movement emerged to oppose the Indigenist style—which was perceived as official and exclusive—and eventually, in 1943, Sabogal was dismissed from the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes. Supporters of Indigenism viewed this move as unjust, and rallied to the painter’s defense in letters, newspaper articles, and social events.