Emilio Baz Viaud

En el cuarto de hotel, 1941

Temple y pincel seco / cartulina
34.5 x 30 cm

Now off the noisy street, En el cuarto de hotel depicts a sullied prostitute seated on the rumbled sheets of a brass bed in a simple room. Her client fixes his tie at a dresser; he may have just combed his hair and cleaned his face with the bar of soap off to one side of the washbasin. He seems ready to get on with life, while she looks agonized, her heavy body sprawled awkwardly, her hand empty of cash. Baz Viaud here seems much less interested in documenting than in exposing this woman’s tawdry existence. Indeed, seen from front and behind, with his suspenders already affixed to his loose trousers, the man at the mirror seems much more alluring than his erstwhile companion, with her cheap perm, awkward pose and pasty flesh. The sense of spent pleasure here is similar to Julio Castellanos’s less cynical El diálogo (1936; Philadelphia Museum of Art). Although the technique is the same, both paintings lack the excruciatingly precise line of the artist’s contemporaneous portraits. Instead, and perhaps inspired by Antonio Ruiz -though more willing to allow homoerotic undertones to the surface-, Baz Viaud provides insight into the underside of modern urban life, a refreshing complement to the idealized indígenas and radicalized workers so frequently seen in modern Mexican painting.

Vide James Oles, Arte moderno de México. Colección Andrés Blaisten. Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005.

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