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In this study of four Argentine artists who helped make up Los Artistas del Pueblo (The People's Artists), Patrick Frank examines social realism in that country's art. He contends their work constituted the first movement of social realism in Latin American art.
Los Artistas del Pueblo includes art history as well as the historical context in which the group worked. In Argentina, the years 1912 to 1930 are generally regarded as a "Golden Age," when the country was among the world's most developed. Yet Los Artistas saw many gaps: poor working conditions, restrictive labor legislation, dilapidated housing, and disenfranchised immigrants who made up half of the capital city's population. The artists shunned the formal circuit of galleries, preferring to show their solidarity with the workers through displays of protest art in union halls, community centers, and Socialist party libraries. Their prints were intended to stir sympathy for the less fortunate and to motivate workers themselves to action.
Frank places a major focus on how the movement began and how their rejection of modern art was based in their conviction that the function of art was to speak directly to the masses, emotionally and politically.