This article from the EFE agency, written in Paris, announces the prizes awarded to the Venezuelan artists Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesús Soto at the International Festival of Painting at Cagnes-sur-Mer. As is often the case with this kind of anonymous article, there are several mistakes in the text, including the title of the work supposedly submitted by Cruz-Diez, “Fivicromo,” that no doubt was a Fisicromía, and the nationality attributed to Vasarely, who was Hungarian, not French. The competition awarded three prizes: the first one went to Victor Vasarely, the second to Cruz-Diez, and the third to Soto for his Variación en amarillos. The article also mentions an Oscar for Painting, which was awarded to the French artist Roger Chastel, who painted in an almost abstract style.
The event was an international festival, organized under the auspices of UNESCO, which attracted 180 works submitted by “artists from all over the world” (according to the article). Taking into account the time of year when the event took place (springtime) and the location (the French Riviera), it is clear that the Festival was planned with vacationers in mind. The goal was no doubt to create a massive impact (hence its international label), but it never attracted any serious attention in French cultural circles.
What is interesting about an article like this—and the way it was written, with the word Paris prominently displayed at the top when the event actually took place in Cagnes-sur-Mer—is the legitimizing seal provided by the word “Paris” as well as Latin America’s fascination with anything that happens there, regardless of how important it may or may not be. All that matters to that public is that two Venezuelans were awarded prizes in France, an accomplishment that contributed to the extraordinary fame that both these artists attained, over time, in Venezuela. Their tireless work laid the foundations for public and private commissions of great significance that helped to define the evolution of Kinetic art.