El artista rosarino Antonio Berni (1905-81) es uno de los más notables creadores argentinos del siglo XX. He studied in Europe beginning in 1925, and while living in Paris he connected with the surrealist avant-garde as well as with communism. Upon his return to Argentina, he exhibited surrealist works at the Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art] in 1932. The following year Berni joined the Equipo Polígrafo [Polygraphic Team] (organized by David Alfaro Siqueiros) that went on to create the mural Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Arts Exercise] en Don Torcuato, cercanías de Buenos Aires. He developed his theory of Nuevo Realismo [New Realism], art with a political and social commitment, which was based on a transcendent realism. In 1944, Berni formed the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. During the 1950s, he created paintings of the peasantry, in particular those of the northern province of Santiago del Estero, which gave rise to his Juanito Laguna series of narrative collage paintings. In 1962, the artist won the Grand Prize for Engraving and Drawing at the Venice Biennale. The following year Berni began his Ramona Montiel series. During the 1960s and 1970s—at the same time that he was continuing to produce paintings, collages and engravings—he created objects, installations and happenings; he also explored different stylistic variations of realist figuration.Antonio Berni’s show in Paris at the Galerie R. Creuze, with an introduction by French poet Louis Aragon (1897-1982), had a singular impact in Buenos Aires; it consolidated the artist’s image at the local level and [located his position] within the debate between abstraction and figuration. The inclusion of the paintings belonging to his Santiago del Estero series, among them the large tempera paintings: Los hacheros [The Lumberjacks], La marcha de los cosecheros [The March of the Harvesters] and Escuela rural [Rural School], facilitated the arguments made by Braulio Solsona (in El Hogar [Home], a magazine with wide circulation among the Buenos Aires middle class). Solsona argued that successful painting represented local conditions rather than reproducing the painting of Paris.