Art Museum of the Americas
June 15-September 27, 2023
Art Museum of the Americas
201 18th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20006

Petrona Viera: creación sin fin

Art Museum of the Americas
201 18th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20006

On view June 15-September 27, 2023

The exhibition "Petrona Viera: creación sin fin" (Petrona Viera: Endless creation), at the Art Museum of the Americas (AMA), represents for Uruguay and for us, at the National Museum of Visual Arts (Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales-MNAV) in Montevideo, a true joy as well as a challenging task. The selection of the twenty-six paintings, from more than a thousand that are part of the MNAV collection, aims to represent the thematic and technical trajectory of the artist's tireless, singular and unrelenting creation.

Petrona Viera's (Montevideo 1895-1960) oeuvre came to be in the context of the Uruguay's "modernization", which manifested itself in the great social, political, and cultural changes that took place within the region. From the artistic point of view, these changes were displayed in the cheerful use of large colored surfaces, which she incorporated under the guidance of her beloved tutor, Guillermo Laborde. Consequently, Petrona joined the school that came to be known as "Planismo," centering her work on the enthusiastic theme of childhood (with its games and pastimes), the nude (an unusual choice for women artists of the time), and, later on, in her landscapes, with synthetic findings of abstraction, and, towards the forties, through the technique of engraving.

Her singularity was social as well, being Petrona, the daughter of a politician who became president of Uruguay. Petrona was deaf from early childhood, which prevented her from making herself understood through spoken language, beyond the context of her family. She often attended artistic events, notwithstanding her impossibility to take part in the usual debates, a testament to her courageous attitude. Her work constitutes a great dialog between herself and her perception of her world, from the apparently closed and quotidian to the infinite expansion of sandbanks, beaches, and horizons, through the landscape. 

Maria Eugenia Grau
National Museum of Visual Arts
Curatorial and Research Area

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