ILLINOIS HISTORICAL ART PROJECT
JULIO de DIEGO
JULIO de DIEGO was born in Madrid, Spain, on May 9, 1900, and studied art in his native country. His outstanding teacher was Julio Romero de Torres. He has painted in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, North Africa, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands, also· in the Middle-West and the South of this country. He is a member of the Chicago No-Jury Society of Artists and Los Americus in Spain, and has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, La Salon d' Art Francois lndependetit, the French Salon, L'Espocion Nacional de Bellas Artists of Madrid, Spain, and in various commercial galleries. One-artist exhibitions of his work have been held in Paris, Madrid, New York, Chicago, Milwaukee and Madison. He was awarded a medal for etching at L'Espocion Nacional de Bellas Artists. His work has been written about in Chicago and New York newspapers and in A.B.C. and Blanco y Negro of Madrid, by Charles Victor Knox, C. J. Bulliet, Robert D. Andrews, Inez Cunningham, Manuel Abril and Antoine Villard.
One should like to paint what he sees, or the interior image of what surrounds him, something quite difficult in the time we live in, surrounded as we are by prejudice and necessities-peremptory necessities (such as to live) and prejudices which inhibit us. This is a difficult epoch for the sincere artist, the one who paints in accord with his personality without wishing to be contaminated by the charlatanism of the times. We have gone from Cubism to Expressionism, from Expressionism to Dadaism, from Dadaism to Abstraction, etc., etc.; that is to say, from farce to farce, from mystification to mystification. Art for me is a purely personal expression, but as I cannot now remedy the contamination or free myself of the influence of this one and that one, the process of producing art is much more difficult them it would seem to be from my definition of it. There enters into it a process of elimination or purification from the inside out which can be successful only after much travail. I should like to forget everything that I have seen in museums, schools, etc., and become transformed into one of those marvelous artists who decorated the Altamira caves. Society, the great pseudo-intellectual and pseudo-cultural masses which surround us, will never understand the significance of the efforts of the artist who works under ideal conditions, that is to say, away from charlatanism, because those masses have been educated inside of this charlatanism and these mystifications, and have had put into their heads a few ideas about art which make them vehemently fatuous in their likes and dislikes. Upon my arrival in Chicago after my last trip to Europe, an artist friend of mine asked me: "What are you doing now?" "A collection of etchings of Chicago," I replied. "But do you find anything interesting enough in Chicago to etch?" he asked incredulously. "Of course I do; very much." I took him to my studio and showed him some of my drawings. He was astonished. He questioned their having been done in Chicago. I had to take him around to the places to prove that they had. Unquestionably America has exercised some influence on my art. One does not paint the same in a country where the buildings are lost in space, where food and drinks are synthetic, as he does in a country where the houses have a modest height, and one eats and drinks in the rough-all of which does not mean that one is better than the other, or the other is better than this. I have come to the conclusion that we do not affirm or deny anything, so I simply cannot say definitely that mv work is in the spirit of this or that. though I believe that my "Hispanicus" ancestry has had a lot of influence on me in all its phases-religious. social, racial, etc. Julio de Diego.