Friday, January 15, 2010

Fortunato Lacamera

During my visit to Buenos Aires a couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to stumble into an opening reception at the The Benito Quinquela Martín Museum in La Boca. The wine and lovely foccacia pizza being served really hit the spot. I had been exploring the city on foot for the previous three or four hours and was in serious need of refreshment. But the real treat was that I got to to discover the work of Argentine painter Fortunato Lacamera.

Lacamera (1887-1951) was one of the 'Painters of La Boca', an early-20th century group of artists who painted all aspects of life and commerce associated with the teeming industrial port. The best know of this group was Quinquela Martín who painted monumental works of ships, laborers, and life on the docks. He used intense color, high contrast, expressive brushwork, and dramatic vantage points. A collection of his works, his studio, and living quarters are housed in what is now the museum, which also exhibits the work of other Argentine artists.

Lacamera, though very attached to La Boca—he was born there, he died there, and it is said that he rarely left the barrio—produced work of a more contemplative and introspective nature. In addition to plein air and studio paintings of the port, he painted many interiors and still lifes, always with a restrained palette and subtle tonality. Whatever the genre, the sense of place is always communicated--one can always detect the haze-filtered sunlight of an industrial port.

Please excuse the angled photos, I had to use a flash and it was the only way shoot without a reflection.

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