Los Pintores Íntegros: a primitivist rationale for Iberian and transatlantic modernisms

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This chapter discusses the Los Pintores Íntegros exhibition curated by Ramón Gómez de la Serna (1888–1963) in Madrid in 1915. While analysing the exhibition’s significance to the introduction of Cubism in the Spanish capital, this article also discusses how Gómez de la Serna’s rationale contributes in asserting a primitivist bedrock for the show—a topic that has yet to be addressed in the literature. Bearing in mind Patricia Leighten’s insights into how an “anticolonial crisis” can be associated with the praise of African art, and the concurrent pluralisation of the political, historical and aesthetic implications in modernist uses of primitivism arising from this paradigm, I will consider Gómez de la Serna’s thought along with some of the artworks shown in the 1915 exhibition. I will particularly address works exhibited by Diego Rivera (1886–1957) on that occasion. As I hope to demonstrate, the primitivist background of Los Pintores Íntegros paved the way for intertwining the local and the cosmopolitan (1) by calling for the Europeanising of Spain via the presentation of Cubism and the inscription of Madrid in the geography of international avant-garde exhibitions; and (2) by making the values of local folk art and popular culture interchangeable under the umbrella of Cubism, a process that, I will claim, encompassed the Spanishisation of the Cubist repertoire presented by the “íntegros” painters just before Diego Rivera fabricated an alternative primitivist myth of origins, grounded in Mexican ethnicity and culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Primitivist Imaginary in Iberian and Transatlantic Modernisms
EditorsJoana Cunha Leal, Mariana Pinto dos Santos
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge | Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781003355519
ISBN (Print)9781032409504, 9781032409528
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameRoutledge Research in Art History


  • Primitivism
  • Cubism
  • Ramón Gómez de la Serna
  • Diego Rivera
  • Iberian modernisms


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