Carlos Orozco Romero

Barranca, 1944

Oleo / tela
65 x 95 cm

Carlos Orozco Romero was a promoter of aesthetically experimental painting, both in his own work and as co-director of the Galería de Arte Moderno. His landscape paintings engage in a tradition with deep roots in Mexican painting while bringing a modernist sensibility to the genre. Like José María Velasco and Dr. Atl, among others, Orozco Romero chose to depict Mexico's vast spaces, dramatic mountains, and seemingly infinite valleys. Scholars have credited his childhood experience in the countryside in his native state of Jalisco as the inspiration for his landscape paintings, which have been called both "nostalgic" and "reminiscent." Canyon, however, depicts not the landscape of Jalisco but rather that of the state of Veracruz; it is almost identical in size and composition to his Summits of Acultizngo [Cumbres de Acultzingo] (1943), and probably depicts the same mountainous valley. In fact, Orozco Romero's landscapes seem to capture his nostalgia not for a particular place, but instead for a natural world far from Mexico City. Canyon is also a visual exercise in which form and color reign over the details of a specific vista. Orozco Romero borrows from the classical landscape tradition, alternating bands of light and dark to structure the deeply creviced mountains and framing the center of the picture between two heavily shadowed areas in the foreground. The landscape is void of human figures, although a road and cultivated fields along the valley floor indicate their presence. Instead, he focuses on the rugged mountains that dominate the image. The painting draws on the lessons of both post-impressionism and cubism, particularly Cézanne's architectural approach to the landscape.

Vide Courtney Gilbert, Arte moderno de México. Colección Andrés Blaisten, Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005.

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Francisco Díaz de León Fund