Critic Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) began writing about Venezuelan painter Armando Reverón (1889?1954) in 1955. By the seventies, he—along with Alfredo Boulton—was the most important scholar of Reverón’s work. Calzadilla, who formed part of a generation of young leftist intellectuals, set out to review the stages of Reverón’s production (blue, white, and sepia periods) that Boulton had formulated in “Armando Reverón y la voluptuosidad en la pintura” (1955). In 1979, Calzadilla published Armando Reverón (Caracas: Armitano, 1979), an illustrated monograph on the artist and the first and only catalogue raisonné of his work. This essay—the curatorial text published in the catalogue for the exhibition Armando Reverón: exposición iconográfica y documental en el centenario de su nacimiento held at the Galería de Arte Nacional in Caracas in 1989—encapsulates Calzadilla’s critical assessments of Reverón’s work. In it, the critic formulates his ideas about the impact of certain events in Reverón’s life on the artist’s psychological makeup and on his work. Calzadilla posits a new dimension of Reverón’s creative production. While he recognizes the value of the periodization Boulton formulated in 1955, he revises it critically; Calzadilla includes Reverón’s early works as an important period, adds another one which he calls the “las majas” phase, and a late expressionist period. In addition to those assessments of Reverón’s painting, Calzadilla provides a vision of the artist’s life and work as an integral creative whole: El Castillete (the artist’s home-studio in the city of Macuto), his dolls and other objects (which “could be described as sculptural”), his rituals (“primitive formations of a body art”), and his lifestyle—all of which Boulton described as “fancies”—are, for Calzadilla, essential as art in their own right.
[For further reading, see in the ICAA digital archive the biographical document attributed to Armando Reverón “Datos del pintor Armando Reverón” (809055), and Alfredo Boulton’s “Armando Reverón o la voluptuosidad en la pintura” (808768), the main text in the catalogue for Reverón’s retrospective (Caracas: Museo de Bellas Artes, 1955). See as well Rafael Romero’s essay “Autorretratos 1944” (1160727), and José Balza’s essay “Análogo simultáneo (sobre los objetos de Armando Reverón)” (1157190)].