critical texts


The exhibition by Massaguer
Miguel de Marcos
The exhibition by Massaguer
By: Miguel de Marcos
(Published in Social, August, 1937)
It has been said that within arts´hierarchy, there is no place for humouristic drawing. That negative definition, excluding, must come from a critic. >From a rough critic, gone into a torrential trance of hepatic exacerbation. A deep value is denied to it because the humour draughtsman grabs with his pencil an ephemeral current. situation I suspect there is a little confusion in this aspect. That concept of ephemeral, therefore, of what is not generalized, might be applied to the caricaturist who creates on puppet politicians, and who exercises his arrows and poisons on that world of picturesque and deformed human creatures. That satire, which in a certain moment is corrosive, full of curare, it is sensitive to be changed, as years pass by, into camomile tea. Political puppeterism has, at least, one convenient aspect. It truly impedes that a technique and a lethal poison become a deep art. But little kids are always brief. And before sinking in the swamps, the political puppet theater, soon puts out its lights. The fact is that the fantoches (ridiculous personalities), in spite of being basically harmful, they have not loose their good sense. But humoristic drawing is another topic. It will hurt him in his ID, and that smile comes directly from comprehension, from tollerance, fom the eyes, opened to an era, and they go seiziing, to fix them through thick lines on the paper, his efforts, his movements, his dreams, his ilussions; a living substance in which there are heroisms and ridicules, laughs plotting on the air their geometry profuse of galley proofs, tears that, because of a matter of principle and good taste, fiercely hide. Only that the humoristic draughtsman, knowing prevously that imagination is the only existing reality, prefers to keep himself on his cartoons within a happiness environment. Wise therapeutic : it is the only way to move from cradle to sepulchre, avoiding the queen which always casts upon a wrongly administered gall bladder. Conrado W. Massaguer... comes today to this friendly house of the Lyceum, with his cartoons, with his victorious personality, which is a prestige and popularity expanded wave, and of course, with his W. It was more than twenty years ago..... And for those distant years, when my hair wasn´t still gray, Massaguer had achieved his reputation and fame. We, those who with no excess of melancholy, have turned forty, still remember two of his works not affected by oblivion : I mean his Jaime Castelfullit and his Juán Frenético (Juán Frenzy) successful illustrations, which the creative artist present in en Massaguer, joined to Victor Muñoz´ smug oratory. Believe it: the Castelfullit´s Panama hat, just like Frenético´s foreign, grafted and false American, were more than a version of the baseball struggles from those years. An era lives in them. If those characters have become part of memories, if they still last in nostalgia and memoirs, if those laughing ghosts have not been abolished by the roaring din of years: here we have the first concluding evidence that humour drawing remains to stay, overcoming what is merely ephemeral, daily and temporary, and that, therefore, that technique, that way, that making, fits to and artistic hierarchy. Do not tell me that a flat and exuberant Panama hat, an striped trouser, a overwhelming diamant stuffed in a boastful little finger, are unsufficient images to date an era. If so, we should have to suppress from the History of Art the names of Forain y Caran d´Arche. Humanity has to be quested in certain moments, in draughtsmen´s cartoons. The right vision of the human being is present in them, in the strokes which, being simple and precise, has that congenital knack, able to grab both, elites and masses, to request the sage´s blurred and faded smile and the janitoress´ explosive laughter of the. Well, that tone of time predominates in Massaguer´s cartooons. Nothing ephemeral can be found among them, and their long lasting is what comes true in his sketches, in his “charges”, in his drawings. The deep value of an existence, not an imaginary scenario. After all, this was previously proved in such a disjunctive field –history-, of caricature and faceted drawing. Michelet was responsible of this when he ascended to Louis XIV Kingdom with this formula: before the fistula and after the fistula. But in this case, even incurring in each and every daring, I rush myself to affirm that Jules Michelet, by settling down those discriminatory areas within a great kingdom, he proceeded with the technique of a cartoonist. Hail to the Lord: after all, history is a knowledgeable exercise. Alive and beating fragments is whatone finds in the exemplary Massaguer´s cartoons, Part of future iconography will be his drawings, those presented here, this afternoon and those from yestertimes, because eras are linked each other, in order to be explained, to silently dialogue and bitterlessly laugh. Come closer, with pleasure, to those cartoons in which the spirit is never uncouth, animated, just as they are, by a robust and clear truth in their movements, in which the sight of the events, being unexpected, has a determined and piercing precision, to reach, through an unique blow, through an unique stroke, the creation of a particular world, of our vernacular, dear world, free fom abstractions and mists, just as the power of synthesis prevailing in Massaguer, was a genuine Mediterranean fire . Artificial puppets, ficticious, faded and lunar creatures. It is possible that his labour could not be completed , and that some deeply native note be missed in his scale. No matter. A society lives in his drawings : his landowners has a piercing truthfulness ; his rich people, playing golf in the Country Club, in order to marinate their leisure time, has an unappealing loyalty in their golf clubs and in their loose-fitting trousers : his "young chicks" proliferate triviality in twenty volumes and in the fourteen ways of crossing ther legs ; his ladies full and chubby, who drop the elphant rocks of their necks on a gigantic breast, know the way to be perfect “chaperones", it is to say, back from their illusions, they have understood that in a scented current “cocktail party” eyes has to be piously closed before the vanishing of young couples and cocktails. Come close to these drawings. In them there is a life, a society, an era, neither with excesses nor with violations, by the man who grabbed the movements, the deliriums, the many sides and the passions of an instant of our history. Carelessly smile before them, because the mirror handed to you ambushes no malice at all, but a clear smile embracing everything...