Argentine Painting from 1810 to 1920

The Argentine Painting from Independence to the 1920 is the period that initiates with the May Revolution.As from May Revolution -and under the influence of lines of thinking derived from French Revolution-, religious subjects, as mentioned for the colonial period, were less present; this time, pictorial activity mainly developed around portraits and scenes of customs.

Article of the guest columnist, Teresa Constantín for

Argentine painting by foreign painters

A numerous group of foreign artists visited Argentina, living here for some time or settling down on a permanent basis; they could capture the types and customs of the region in their works.

Interior of the Buenos Aires Cathedral, 1830. Painting by Carlos Enrique Pellegrini.
Interior of the Buenos Aires Cathedral, 1830. Carlos Enrique Pellegrini.

Emeric Essex Vidal (1791-1861), an English naval officer, left watercolors which are a remarkable record of the Argentine past.

Carlos Enrique Pellegrini (1800-1875), arrived from France, after being hired as an engineer, but political reasons kept him from carrying out the planned works, so he devoted to painting, making several portraits, scenes of customs and vistas of the city.

Adolfo D’Hastrel (1805-1875), a french naval officer, gathered drawings and watercolors accompanied with texts in the book called Colección de vistas y costumbres del Río de la Plata (Collection of vistas and customs of Plata River; 1875).

César Hipólito Bacle (1790-1838), lithographer from Swiss origin, printed Trajes y costumbres del Río de la Plata (Garments and customs of the province of Buenos Aires) in his establishment, State Lithography(1828-1838), with the collaboration of his wife Andrea Macaire and Arturo Oslow, among others.

La Porteña en el Templo (Porteña in Church) Painting by Raimundo Monvoisin
La Porteña en el Templo. Raimundo Monvoisin

Raimundo Monvoisin (1790-1870) french painter and Mauricio Rugendas (1802-1858) German painter and drawer, stood out among the foreign artists of the first half of the 19th century. The former lived in Buenos Aires and then went to Chile, painting Gaucho Federal and La porteña del templo (Porteña in Church). The latter visited Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia and Chile; we owe him Desembarco de pasajeros en Buenos Aires (Passengers disembarking in Buenos Aires) and Portrait of Mariquita Sánchez de Mendivillie.

Argentine Painting By Argentine Painters

Carga de Caballería del Ejército Federal (Cavalry charge of the Federal Army). Painting by Carlos Morel
Carga de Caballería del Ejército Federal. Pintura. Carlos Morel

It is also worth mentioning two Argentine artists:

Carlos Morel (1813-1894), who collected his lithographs dealing with scenes of customs in Usos y costumbres del Río de la Plata (Usages and Customs of Plata River; 1844-1845), he painted portraits and recorded customs of the time, as in Payada de la pulpería and Combate de caballería en la época de Rosas (Cavalry Combat in Rosas’s Times)

Prilidiano Pueyrredón (1823-1873), an architect, engineer and urbanist who was one of the most remarkable Argentine painters of 19th century; he sought to perpetuate the traditions of our land and the old customs of the Great Village.

Among his works are Portrait of Manuelita Rosas, Un alto en el campo (A Halt in the Countryside) and El baño (The Bath), a nude which was too daring for the time.

Un alto en el Campo. Pintura. Prilidiano Pueyrredón.
Un alto en el Campo. Pintura. Prilidiano Pueyrredón.

Trends in the Plastic Arts of Argentina

After Rosas’s defeat, there was a group of artists in Buenos Aires who actively participated in the organization of artistic institutions: under their impulse, Sociedad Estímulo de Bellas Artes (Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts) and , el Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) and La Academia (The Academy) were established. These artists used to study in Europe.

In the workshop. Detail. Eduardo Sivori
In the workshop. Detail. Eduardo Sivori

Among others, we can evoke:

Eduardo Sivori (1847-1918), who is considered as the introducer of Naturalism in Argentina.
Among his works, we can mention: El despertar de la criada (The Maid’s Awakening) and, in the last years, El bañado (The Marshland), with marked differences in relation to his first stage: a clear palette with high shading values allowed him to achieve a typical Pampa landscape.

Angel Della Valle (1852-1903), included the countryside subjects in their works: Gauchos a caballo (Gauchos on Horse) and La vuelta del malón (The Return of the Malón) are two of his most representative works.

From the same period are:
Reinaldo Giudice (1853-1927) y Ernesto de La Carcova (1866-1927); in their works, these artists merged elements from Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Naturalism: a formal repertoire from another cultural background adapted to this environment.

Las Parvas. (Grain Heaps). Painting. Martín Malharro
Las Parvas. Painting. Martín Malharro

Martín Malharro (1865-1911) returned from Paris, in early 20th century. The exhibition of his works, in 1902, is regarded as the moment when Impressionism appeared in Argentina.

With Malharro, Faustino Brughetti (1877-1956), Walter de Navazio (1887-1919) y Ramón Silva (1890-1919), the clear landscape was the protagonist of Argentine painting.

La Mazamorra. Pintura. Fernando Fader
La Mazamorra. Pintura. Fernando Fader

Fernando Fader (1882-1935) and the artists with whom he made up the group known as Nexus, participated in the controversy on the possibility of a national art (which responded to a wider debate on Nationalism arising towards late 19th century) reaching its highest peak in the Exposición Internacional del Centenario de 1910 (International Exhibition for the Centenary of 1910).

Next report describes Argentine Painting since 1920 It characterized by the modernization of the plastic language in Argentina.


All graphic material in this report is edited digitally. The customized version by shown on this page is performed based on the following documents:

  • Constantin, María Teresa (Art historian) [Images] Collection of images belonging to Museums and other sources, provided by the report author. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Museum of Fine Arts, Digital Collection Arte del Siglo XX, (20th Century Art) Escuela Argentina