Zafra signed 'Alipio Jaramillo' (lower right) oil on canvas 46 5/8 x 62 3/8 in (118.4 x 158.4 cm) Painted circa 1950
Provenance Quinta Galería, Bogotá. Private collection, Bogotá. Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 26-27 May 2011, lot 221. Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Exhibited Bogotá, Quinta Galería, Alipio Jaramillo Pinturas - 1940 a 1970, 27 August 1998. Cartagena de Indias, Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara, June 2001 - August 2004.
'I believe that a painter must show his work to the people that support him and to the critics that judge him. Maybe this is the only way to fully understand the work of an artist and the artist himself... Nevertheless, my thought process is ever present in these paintings. If someone would try to define it, they would have to point out the nationalism in my paintings. Through them, I applied various techniques, I have searched everywhere for forms and content, but I have found nothing that lasts or is as profound as my fatherland. This is not, however, intellectual chauvinism, but the claim that the only real source of inspiration can be found among the men that surround the artist. I tried to interpret the real Colombian man ... I have made no concessions to cultural cosmopolitanism. Even when I searched for the abstract I followed formal elements that allowed me to express the dynamic reality. From the dead zone to life, with empty hands and soul. One may think of my work as one thing or another; but there is something that cannot be denied: it is Colombian painting that exalts the people of Colombia.' (A. Jaramillo quoted in A.M. Arbelaez, 'Otro de la pioneros' in El Tiempo, 13 September 1998; http://www.eltiempo.com/archivo/documento/MAM-806669; accessed 11 April 2017).
Painted circa 1950, Zafra is a characteristic example of the artist's theme of depicting Colombia's people and their heritage: the sugar cane harvest. In this vibrant painting, five men tackle each step of the process. One cuts down the cane while another trims the leaves. In the meantime, the others tie the canes into a sheaf and carry them away. The right of the canvas shows two other steps in the sugar making process, painted from an unusually distant perspective. Two men stir the boiling extract while another adds wood to the brick furnace. Further away, three men and a horse plow the field, preparing the land for yet another season. As the sun rises above the Colombian mountains, we are reminded of the hardship and dedication of the working men.
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Impressionist and Modern Art