José Sabogal

José Sabogal (Cajabamba, March 19, 1888 – Lima, December 15, 1956) was a Peruvian painter and muralist who was "the most renowned early supporter"[1] and thus a leader in the artistic indigenist movement of his country.[2][3] As Daniel Balderston, Mike Gonzalez, and Ana M. López assert, Sabogal "became Peru's militant indigenist and aesthetic nationalist, and led this movement for the next thirty years.[4]


He was born in Cajabamba, Cajamarca, Peru and traveled extensively in Europe (particularly Italy) and North Africa from 1908 to 1913 before enrolling in the National School of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he studied for five years.[5][6]

In 1922 he married a poet and writer María Wiesse. The couple had two children: José Sabogal Wiesse (1923-1983) and Rosa Teresa Sabogal Wiesse (1925-1985).

Sabogal taught at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Lima (National School of Fine Arts, Lima) from 1920 onward.[6] He served as its director from 1932 to 1943.[6] Afterward Sabogal and Luis E. Valcárel cofounded the Instituto Libre de Arte Peruano (Free Institute of Peruvian Arts) at the Museo Nacional de la Cultura Peruana (National Museum of Peruvian Culture).[6]


Although Sabogal's own descent was Spanish rather than indigenous, he promoted pre-Columbian culture and esthetics.[5] A six month stay in Cuzco prompted his indigenism; he took an interest in depicting the city and its inhabitants.[6] In 1919 his Cuzco paintings attracted attention at an exhibition in Lima.[6] As Jane Turner explains, "in 1919 was the first exhibition of the work of JOSÉ SABOGAL at the Casa Brandes in Lima, an event that would be immensely influential on the future..."[7]

Sabogal decided to promote Peruvian art to international audiences after a 1922 visit to Mexico where he met Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros.[6] These efforts were so successful that in "the field of the visual arts, the most striking phenomenon of the 1920s was the rise of José Sabogal (1888-1956), founder and long-time leader of the so-called 'Peruvian School' of painting."[8]

Written work



  1. Holliday T. Day, Hollister Sturges, Edward Lucie-Smith, and Damián Bayón, Art of the fantastic: Latin America, 1920-1987 (Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1987), 128.
  2. Sara Benson, Paul Hellander, and Rafael Wlodarski, Peru (Lonely Planet, 2007), 49.
  3. Ed. Leslie Bethell, A Cultural History of Latin America: Literature, Music and the Visual Arts in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Cambridge University Press, 2008), 88.
  4. Daniel Balderston, Mike Gonzalez, and Ana M. López, Encyclopedia of contemporary Latin American and Caribbean cultures (CRC Press, 2000), 4.
  5. 1 2 Kristin G. Congdon and Kara Kelley Hallmark (2002). Artists from Latin American Cultures: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. pp. 238–240.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Jane Turner, ed. (2000). Encyclopedia of Latin American and Caribbean Art. Macmillan Reference Limited. p. 614.
  7. Jane Turner, The dictionary of art, v. 24 (Grove's Dictionaries, 1996), 509.
  8. Institute for the Study of Ideologies and Literature, Instituto de Cine y Radio-Televisión, I & L, Ideologies & literature v. 3, nos. 11-14 (Institute for the Study of Ideologies and Literature., 1980), 76.
  9. Mates burilados: Arte vernacular peruano
  10. Pancho Fierro, estampas del pintor peruano
  11. El toro en las artes populares del Perú
  12. El "kero", vaso de libaciones cusqueño de madera pintada
  13. El desván de la imaginería peruana
  14. Del arte en el Perú y otros ensayos
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