Jorge Romero Brest (1905-1989) was a professor, critic, and promoter of the visual arts in Argentina. During the regime of Juan Domingo Perón (1895-1974) he was relieved of his academic duties and became the director of Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder] magazine. Later on, the de facto government that overthrew Perón on September 16, 1955, which called itself the Revolución Libertadora, named Romero Brest the administrator of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes [The National Museum of Fine Arts] of Buenos Aires. In 1956 he became the director of the Museum, a post he held until 1963. During the 1960s, he directed the Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella [Torcuato Di Tella Institute’s Center for Visual Arts]. The Ver y estimar [To See and Ponder] editorial project was undertaken with the support of his students as an offshoot of the art history classes that Brest taught after being removed from his position as professor during the Peronist regime.
In 1960 and a few months after having created the Centro de Arte del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (ITDT) [Art Center of the Torcuato Di Tella Institute]-directed by a Council made up of Lionello Venturi, Ricardo Camino, Guido Di Tella and Jorge Romero Brest- the ITDT Prize was made possible. The purpose of this center was to cooperate in the diffusion and promotion of the visual arts and to keep in contact with other centers connected with production at both a national and an international level. Within this context, the Premio ITDT [ITDT Prize] was created to provide an opportunity for young Argentinean artists to enrich their experience abroad; nevertheless, its creation did not just allow for the awarding of the grant-prize, but it also spurred the circulation of international art in the local arena, becoming an important reference point for the visual arts renaissance of the time. This prize was awarded to national or international artists, with some variation depending on the year in question, until 1967. Beginning that year, it changed its name and became Experiencias Visuales [Visual Practices], and then just Experiencias [Practices] in 1968 and 1969.
In 1963 Romero Brest resigned from the directorate of the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes [National Museum of Fine Arts] and accepted a position as director of the ITDT Visual Arts Center. That year, the ITDT Prize was both national and international. The foreign artists included were as follows: Pierre Alechinsky, Janez Bernik, R. B. Kijat, Maryan, Hans Platschek, Achille Perilli, Paul Rebeyrolle, Larry Rivers, Antonio Saura. In turn, the Argentinean artists selected were: Mario Pucciarelli, Clorindo Testa, and Rómulo Macció, who had previously received prizes, in addition to Roberto Aizenberg, Osvaldo Borda, Aníbal Carreño, Ernesto Deira, Luis Felipe Noé, Rogelio Polesello, Rubén Santantonín, Antonio Seguí, Silvia Torras, and Jorge de la Vega. Indeed, the Jurors were: Jorge Romero Brest, Jacques Lassaigne, and William Sandberg.
The document gives an account of the alternatives for the procedures at the Torcuato Di Tella Prize; particularly, concerning the follow-up of the international competition. This allowed for the dissemination of both ideas and work of the innovative artists from abroad at that time, thus promoting the inclusion of national artists within the context of the Prize. Likewise, the selection of the jury—made up of both distinguished critics and directors of international institutions—gives an account of the will to reinforce the Argentinean cultural milieu. It is interesting to note that this source is a 1961 text written by Romero Brest in which he adds references to the latest manifestations of art. He expresses there his most recent reflections and the resistance of those who still rebuffed these trends.