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INVENTORY OF THE EMILIO PETTORUTI LETTERS TO JULIO PAYRÓ, 1924, 1943-1957
2001.M.18  
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Series I.  Letters sent to Julio Payró, 1943-1957

Physical Description: 52 items

Scope and Content Note

Letters from Pettoruti describe his travels, exhibits, thoughts, and the reception of his work. Four letters are written by his wife Maria Rosa. One letter, from the Comisión Argentina de Artistas Plásticos por la Paz, invites Pettoruti to attend the World Assembly for Peace in Helsinki (1955).

Arrangement

Letters are arranged chronologically. Many letters are fragile and fading.
Box 1, Folder 1

Letters, 1943-1951

Physical Description: 4 letters
Box 1, Folder 1

New York, 1943 Feb. 21

Physical Description: 2 leaves [1a, 1 b]

Scope and Content Note

Pettoruti writes after his exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Art where a film was made to be shown in North and South America. He describes his visits to various cities, the reports in the press, and the wonderful reception at the National Gallery, Washington D.C.
Box 1, Folder 1

Chile, 1948 Feb. 20

Physical Description: 1 leaf [2-r, 2-v]

Scope and Content Note

Writes from Termas minerales de Chillán where he and his wife spent vacation. They saw Siqueiros's murals, which he describes as "pésimos, algo incredible."
Box 1, Folder 1

1948 July 26

Physical Description: 1 leaf [3]

Scope and Content Note

Short note about Payró's essay in Plástica, which the public misunderstood.
Box 1, Folder 1

Santiago de Chile, 1951 Feb. 5

Physical Description: 1 leaf [4]

Scope and Content Note

Describes the success of his courses and lectures, and the University's difficulties in accommodating the large number of students, teachers and public eager to attend.
Box 1, Folder 2

Letters, Jan. 1952 - April 1952

Box 1, Folder 2

1952 Jan. 9

Physical Description: 2 leaves [5a-r, 5a-v, 5b-r, 5b-v]

Scope and Content Note

Writes aboard the Rio Bermejo en route to Venice and Milan, describing the ship's amenities and the places visited in the Mediterranean.
Box 1, Folder 2

1952 Jan. 20

Physical Description: 1 leaf [6-r, 6-v]

Scope and Content Note

Still aboard ship, describes the poverty in Palestine, about which Pettoruti's wife wrote an essay for La Nación. He did not send his letters from Haifa because of the country's censorship.
Box 1, Folder 2

Milan, 1952 Jan. 30

Physical Description: 1 leaf [7]

Scope and Content Note

Describes problems at arrival, giving practical advice to his friend, who soon will be traveling the same way, about luggage robbery, the price of gold and currencies, and how to save money.
Box 1, Folder 2

Florence, 1952 April 16

Physical Description: 2 leaves [8a, 8b]

Scope and Content Note

His exhibit of 10 paintings at the Il Millione gallery in Milan was a success, but the communist press cares only for social art, and the rest cultivate "pompierism." He is preparing for the upcoming May exhibition in Switzerland; Chagall, Miró and he were proposed for the Venice Biennial.
Box 1, Folder 3

Letters, April 1952 - Nov. 1953

Box 1, Folder 3

Rome, 1952 April 29

Physical Description: 1 leaf [9-r, 9-v]

Scope and Content Note

He met Venturi and tried unsuccessfully to obtain his help at Skira for Payró, who is giving lectures at the Louvre.
Box 1, Folder 3

Rome, 1952 May 25

Physical Description: 1 leaf [10]

Scope and Content Note

Tries to coordinate schedules to meet his friend while they both are traveling across Italy.
Box 1, Folder 3

Lausanne, 1952 Aug. 1

Physical Description: 2 leaves + envelope [11a, 11b, 11c-r, 11c-v]

Scope and Content Note

He is very tired because of problems with his luggage which arrived in Genoa, while he must go to Milan and complete the insurance paperwork for his paintings that are to be left there for 6 months.
Box 1, Folder 3

Bogliasco, 1952 Aug. 22

Physical Description: 1 leaf [12]

Scope and Content Note

He is happy that Payró was commissioned to write a little book on Impressionism and to give courses in Córdoba. The letter is written from a fishing village while waiting for his ship to sail from Genoa.
Box 1, Folder 3

Paris, 1953 July 7

Physical Description: 1 leaf [13]

Scope and Content Note

Informs Payró about his upcoming exhibit at San Marco gallery in Rome of the landscapes he first exhibited in 1925. The critics will be able to see what was new in art so long ago. [See folder 11 for reviews.]
Box 1, Folder 3

1953 Sept. 9

Physical Description: 1 leaf [14]

Scope and Content Note

En route to Barcelona, he describes meeting Cogorno and the academic Cordoban painter Vidal on board the Augustus.
Box 1, Folder 3

Paris, 1953 Nov. 26

Physical Description: 3 leaves [15a, 15b, 15c]

Scope and Content Note

The exhibition in Rome was a great success; artists and critics visited it before the opening. Frank Elgar's review made an impact even in Paris. It is difficult to obtain photographs of his works for publication , his colors being hard to reproduce. [See folder 11 for reviews.]
Box 1, Folder 4

Letters, Jan. 1954 - May 1954

Box 1, Folder 4

Paris, 1954 Jan. 6

Physical Description: 2 leaves [16a, 16b]

Scope and Content Note

Informs his friend about his attempts to do small exhibitions, his meeting with de Bock, and the exhibit of [Antoni] Clavé, whose very bad paintings are sold at very high prices. Maria Rosa adds details about their struggles with the cold and with getting their paintings back from Italy.
Box 1, Folder 4

Paris, 1954 Jan. 11

Physical Description: 2 leaves [17a, 17b]

Scope and Content Note

He is glad Payró accepted the chair at the Instituto Francés de Estudios Superiores and will also be able to give courses in Montevideo. Reports various opinions about Manes [Curatella Manes, Pablo?]; Pettoruti still believes that Sibellino is the best sculptor of Argentina and of America.
Box 1, Folder 4

Paris, 1954 Jan. 29

Physical Description: 1 leaf [18]

Scope and Content Note

Writes news about traveling Argentinians. Criticizes the artists who participated in the São Paulo Biennial, and the "famous" Perlotti, but has a favorable impression of [Alberto?] Magnelli and Lardera. His paintings have finally arrived from Milan.
Box 1, Folder 4

Paris, 1954 May 3

Physical Description: 2 leaves [19a, 19b]

Scope and Content Note

Maria Rosa writes about the change in her husband's work; he is continually searching for something new; she mentions various paintings that never fail to impress everyone.
Box 1, Folder 4

Paris, 1954 May 4

Physical Description: 2 leaves [20a, 20b]

Scope and Content Note

Pettoruti writes that he is working hard all day long, never satisfied, never showing his work, except to Frank Elgar, the most "temido...y estimado" critic, who came to see him. Elgar was enthusiastic about the new work and invited him to participate in an exhibit he is organizing of the seven best contemporary artists.
Box 1, Folder 5

Letters, May 1954 - Aug. 1954

Box 1, Folder 5

Paris, 1954 May 21

Physical Description: 2 leaves [21a, 21b]

Scope and Content Note

Inquires about the exhibition Payró wants to organize in October, for which Pettoruti will leave his paintings. He prefers them to stay in his country and be sold there, especially "El filósofo" and "La gruta azul."
Box 1, Folder 5

Paris, 1954 July 8

Physical Description: 1 leaf [22]

Scope and Content Note

Sends suggestions for the exhibition being organized by Payró at the Krayd gallery in Buenos Aires. He should include only the works on the list Pettoruti has sent him. There are many young people there who have no idea what he did 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. He recommends that invitations be sent to those who sustained his work at the beginning of his career, and lists their names.
Box 1, Folder 5

Paris, 1954 July 22

Physical Description: 1 leaf [23]

Scope and Content Note

Short letter trying to clarify what seems to have hurt Payró in the previous letter. He complains that Payró never answered his earlier long letter, wondering if he received it.
Box 1, Folder 5

Paris, 1954 July 27

Physical Description: 1 leaf [24]

Scope and Content Note

Sends information about 3 books by Kandinsky he saw at the Bibliothèque Nationale, explaining how he could ask for a loan. Transcribes a paragraph (in German) from one of the books.
Box 1, Folder 5

Nice, 1954 Aug. 7

Physical Description: 2 leaves [25a, 25b]

Scope and Content Note

Comments on the Venice Biennial, which was mediocre except for the exhibits of Courbet and Klee. The prizes are subject to national and international "politiquería." He did not sell any paintings there, only a sketch, which allowed them one month of paradise in Nice. He compliments Payró on his essay in Studio.
Box 1, Folder 5

Nice, 1954 Aug. 21

Physical Description: 3 leaves [26a-r, 26a-v, 26b, 26c]

Scope and Content Note

Complains again that most contemporary art is false, more appearance than real work. In Venice he met the editor Alfieri, who wants to make a monograph about him and has explained the technical and financial procedures involved; Pettoruti summarizes these.
Box 1, Folder 6

Letters, Sept. 1954 - Dec. 1954

Box 1, Folder 6

Paris, 1954 Sept. 17

Physical Description: 1 leaf [27]

Scope and Content Note

Sends thanks for the catalog of the upcoming exhibition, which he thinks will be good. He is curious to see the public reaction after 30 years.
Box 1, Folder 6

Paris, 1954 Oct. 18

Physical Description: 1 leaf [28]

Scope and Content Note

Maria Rosa describes the beginning of the artistic season in Paris, including details about a strange night exhibition of a single item; comments on an article about the Biennial by Ettore Zocaro in La Nación.
Box 1, Folder 6

Paris, 1954 Oct. 18

Physical Description: 2 leaves [29a, 29b]

Scope and Content Note

Pettoruti discusses the review published in a french newspaper of his exhibition at Krayd, whose author associates Curatella [Curatella Manes, Pablo] with Pettoruti's effort to create a modern art climate in Argentina from 1917 on. He considers this a falsification of history. Asks Payró to send him more information about the reaction of the artistic community to his exhibit.
Box 1, Folder 6

Paris, 1954 Dec. 12

Physical Description: 1 leaf [30-r, 30-v]

Scope and Content Note

Pettoruti writes about the exhibition of Los Amigos del Arte, organized by Frank Elgar, which included ten artists with five works each. It was successful with artists, public and reporters, and Elgar was congratulated for discovering his new work. Pettoruti elaborates his position on abstract painting as he has taught it in his studio for years.
Box 1, Folder 6

Paris, 1954 Dec. 3

Physical Description: 1 leaf [31-r, 31-v]

Scope and Content Note

Maria Rosa describes her husband's works in Los Amigos del Arte exhibition; they are very different in their new color density and structure. Pettoruti is to be invited to another collective exhibition at the Cantonal Museum of Lausanne.
Box 1, Folder 7

Letters, Feb. 1955 - July 1955

Box 1, Folder 7

1955 Feb. 10

Physical Description: 1 leaf [32]

Scope and Content Note

Pettoruti transcribes a letter from the Studio magazine about photographs of his paintings for an essay to be written by Payró. He adds a note suggesting that Payró choose works in the Argentinean museums.
Box 1, Folder 7

Paris, 1955 Feb. 11

Physical Description: 1 leaf [33]

Scope and Content Note

Sends news and comments about South American artists in Paris (Guillermo Silva, José Gómez Sicre, Antonio Berni, Cambarte) and others back home, including the publication of Cordoba Iturburu's book Cómo ver un cuadro.
Box 1, Folder 7

Paris, 1955 Mar. 6

Physical Description: 1 leaf [34-r, 34-v]

Scope and Content Note

Explains in a long letter, the main characteristics of his new painting which is Mediterranean abstract, that is, "latino." Speaks about his hard work, his patience. He knew it would take at least 3 years to make it in this new environment. Emphasized the importance of the Lausanne exhibit, which is presenting the innovators of the century in a historical perspective under the theme "Motion in art."
Box 1, Folder 7

Paris, 1955 Apr. 5

Physical Description: 2 leaves [35a, 35b]

Scope and Content Note

At the Lausanne exhibit his paintings will be in the main room with the precursors (Picasso, Braque, Léger, etc.). He is sick with exhaustion. The painter [Nicolas de] Staël, unable to find his way in art, killed himself.
Box 1, Folder 7

Buenos Aires, 1955 Apr. 22

Physical Description: 1 leaf [36]

Scope and Content Note

Letter from the Comisión Argentina de Artistas Plásticos por la Paz invites Pettoruti to attend the World Assembly for Peace in Helsinki (May 21-29) as a delegate of the Argentinian artists, all expenses paid.
Box 1, Folder 7

Paris, 1955 June 4

Physical Description: 1 leaf [37-r, 37-v]

Scope and Content Note

The peace conference was postponed and he will not be able to attend because of the opening of the Lausanne exhibit. Short of money, he sold half of his land in Longchamp. He was invited to participate in the International exhibition in Valencia (Venezuela), along with Braque, Picasso, et al. His photographic portrait and his work will be included among the illustrations in the catalog. He also is participating in the Washington D.C. exhibit, "Art in America."
Box 1, Folder 7

Paris, 1955 July 13

Physical Description: 3 leaves [38a, 38b]

Scope and Content Note

At the Lausanne exhibit he felt good comparing his work to that of the others, all of whom enjoyed international prestige while he was living in provincial Florence. He and his wife soon will go to Nice for the first real vacation of his life. He hopes the sun may help his deteriorating health. He was asked to send a painting to Italy for the Exposición Internacional IX Premio Lissone. He is afraid that inflation and lack of money may oblige him to return to his country, which would be a "DISASTER".
Box 1, Folder 8

Letters, Oct. 1955 - Mar. 1956

Box 1, Folder 8

Paris, 1955 Oct. 11-12

Physical Description: 4 leaves [39a, 39b, 39c, 39d]

Scope and Content Note

Back from Nice on Sept. 16, they found out about the revolution in their country and the fall of Perón. Happy and healthy, Pettoruti has started working again. His art continues to be figurative and tonal. Ends the letter with the cry "Viva la patria libre!" Next day, Maria Rosa adds her enthusiastic thoughts along with her deep concern for their financial difficulties. A handwritten note added by Pettoruti is for his brother.
Box 1, Folder 8

Paris, 1955 Oct. 24

Physical Description: 1 leaf [40-r, 40-v]

Scope and Content Note

He cannot send Payró the information he expects because Pettoruti destroyed all his papers related to museums when he was fired by the Perónists. He is happy that his friend was nominated to a position in which he may improve the situation of the arts. Sends practical advice, naming some enemies to be aware of and some friends who can help. His painting exhibited at Lausanne will travel to several Italian cities.
Box 1, Folder 8

Paris, 1956 Jan. 23

Physical Description: 2 leaves [41a, 41b]

Scope and Content Note

Maria Rosa sends a confidential letter to Payró, wondering why he did not write about the position of cultural counselor in Paris for her husband, which was suggested by André Lejard and would help their financial situation.
Box 1, Folder 8

Paris, 1956 Mar. 27

Physical Description: 1 leaf [42]

Scope and Content Note

Pettoruti writes about his return from a visit to Argentina on a ship in stormy weather which kept all aboard sick. Criticizes the Paris exhibitions of Pierre Soulages, Jacques Villon and the retrospective of [Nicolas de] Staël.
Box 1, Folder 9

Letters, July 1956 - Oct. 1956

Box 1, Folder 9

Paris, 1956 July 1

Physical Description: 3 leaves [43a, 43b, 43c]

Scope and Content Note

Back from Venice, he found Payró's congratulations on his induction into the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes (Argentina). He criticizes the Italian, French, and Russian pavilions at the Biennial. He is critical of the situation in Argentina, where manipulative politics no longer has the excuse of a dictatorship. The best Argentinian sculptors are never sent to international exhibitions, but Carlinsky, a nonentity, was able to sell a sculpture to Guggenheim at the Biennial.
Box 1, Folder 9

Paris, 1956 July 30

Physical Description: 1 leaf [44-r, 44-v]

Scope and Content Note

Back from Brussels, he is happy that Payró was nominated professor of art history at the Buenos Aires University, is giving courses at La Plata and will later be teaching at Montevideo. Pettoruti has found out that his friend was nominated to be one of three jurors for the Guggenheim Continental prize. He will gladly lend the six paintings in his Buenos Aires house to the exhibition in Rosario; he includes the list of their titles and prices along with a list of the museums and private owners who also might lend works.
Box 1, Folder 9

Paris, 1956 Aug. 25

Physical Description: 1 leaf [45]

Scope and Content Note

Sends a note about the photographs of his work and other information he gave to Ms. Morley who came to visit him.
Box 1, Folder 9

Paris, 1956 Sept. 1

Physical Description: 3 leaves [46a, 46b, 46c]

Scope and Content Note

Expresses his doubts about his chances to get the Guggenheim Continental prize, which is mainly a political struggle. He will send some new paintings for the Rosario exhibition. Very upset about the confidential letter sent by Maria Rosa, he explains his attitude: he would gladly help promote his country's art, but refuses to have anything to do with Argentina's representatives in Paris or back home.
Box 1, Folder 9

Paris, 1956 Sept. 10

Physical Description: 1 leaf [47-r, 47-v]

Scope and Content Note

The information from Petraru and Curatella [Curatella Manes, Pablo] that he is preparing an exhibition is not true. He would be interested in one of the technical positions at Unesco reserved for Argentinians if it would enable him to serve his country. Still skeptical about his chances for the Guggenheim prize.
Box 1, Folder 9

1956 Oct. 1

Physical Description: 1 leaf [48]

Scope and Content Note

Short handwritten note telling Payró that he just found out that he was awarded the Guggenheim Continental prize. He is sure his friend's vote was decisive.
Box 1, Folder 10

Letters, Nov. 1956 - June 1957

Box 1, Folder 10

Paris, 1956 Nov. 8 - Dec. 7

Physical Description: 1 leaf [49-r, 49-v]

Scope and Content Note

Nov. 8: Pettoruti has finally bought an apartment; the $1,000 came in time. He has gotten a dealer who has made a plan for exhibitions in Paris and New York to put his works on the international market for high prices. He hopes they will not have to endure poverty any longer.
Nov. 20, the letter continues: Describes difficulties in finding workers and materials for renovating the apartment. Nothing new about the Guggenheim World prize, which the French are sure will go to André Baudin.
Nov. 29, the letter continues: The Guggenheim Grand Prix was awarded to the British artist Ben Nicholson at the Modern art museum in Paris, followed by a banquet at the Hotel Crillon. The French in protest did not attend.
Dec. 7, the letter continues: Finally, Frank Elgar and Jean Bouret wrote nicely about him and his prize. Sends Payró his new address and telephone number.
Box 1, Folder 10

Paris, 1957 Feb. 11

Physical Description: 2 leaves [50a, 50b]

Scope and Content Note

Describes their gypsy-like life since they moved on Jan. 4 to the new apartment amongst carpenters and masons. Romero Brest wrote him that the museum was enriched with his "El hombre de la flor amarilla," asking if he would sell them "El filósofo." Informs Payró that he does not want the job at Unesco if obtained through Mallea or their ambassador in Paris; the latter is discrediting his country worse than the Perónists. He soon will send information and photographs for Payró's essay to be published in Studio magazine.
Box 1, Folder 10

Paris, 1957 Mar. 7

Physical Description: 2 leaves [51a, 51b]

Scope and Content Note

He is concerned that his friend is overwrought and in bad health. The cultural counselor did not bother to call but asked his secretary to congratulate Pettoruti for the prize. At Payró's request, Pettoruti lists all his exhibitions since he moved to Europe in 1952. Maurice Allemand, director of the Saint-Etienne museum, invited him to participate in an exhibition with two drawings from 1914, two paintings from 1916, and one from 1954.
Box 1, Folder 10

Paris, 1957 June 8

Physical Description: 1 leaf [52]

Scope and Content Note

Informs Payró about a Buenos Aires dealer who will come to Paris trying to put together a collection of his paintings, starting with the oldest ones, "El filósofo" and "La Gruta azul." Pettoruti wants them to remain in a museum or collection in Argentina because they belong to history, not just to art history. Discusses the sale conditions: "El filósofo" has risen now to $4,000.
 

Series II.  Miscellanea, 1924 1953

Physical Description: 5 items

Scope and Content Note

Series II contains an inventory of Pettoruti's work and clippings of reviews of his 1953 exhibit in Rome.
Box 1, Folder 11

Inventory and clippings, 1924, 1953

Box 1, Folder 11

Inventory, 1924

Physical Description: 1 leaf [53]

Scope and Content Note

Typed list of the 21 paintings in Pettoruti's exhibit at the Witcomb gallery, Buenos Aires, 1924; includes titles, sizes, dates, and owners.
Box 1, Folder 11

Clippings, 1953

Physical Description: 4 items [54, 55, 56, 57]

Scope and Content Note

Reviews of Pettoruti's exhibition at the Galleria San Marco, Rome, 1953; published in Il Popolo, Il Paese, Il Tempo del Lunedì, and Il Globo.