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Bulletin of Latin American Research, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp.

336353, 2010

Art and Modernity in Porrian Mexico: Julia Escalantes Graziella and the Lechero
STACIE G. WIDDIFIELD
University of Arizona, USA

This essay examines Julia Escalantes Graziella and the 1881 El Lechero (The Milkman) as a case study of the ways in which the art of a Mexican woman artist instantiates aspects of Porrian modernity. In the context of the academic hierarchy that existed through much of the nineteenth century, these scenes of everyday life, that is, genre scenes, done by a woman artist, would have been seemingly unremarkable. Different from most works by a woman artist, these paintings were exhibited in two very different spaces in downtown Mexico City: the National Academy in 1879 and 1881, and later in the Hotel del Jardn in 1888. I will suggest that these exhibition spaces dene an architecture of legibility for the paintings inecting the critical reception of the painting, opening onto the process of Porrian modernity. Keywords: art criticism, exhibitions, Julia Escalante, Mexico City, painting, porriato.

Introduction
A historia mnima of art and other aspects of visual culture in Porrian Mexico (1876/18801911) distilled from the current scholarly historia maxima would likely foreground the following trends: (a) monumental sculptures and architectural projects that transformed the urban environment, most spectacularly the capital of Mexico City (e.g. the sculptural project on the Paseo de La Reforma, the National Post Ofce and the National Theatre); (b) celebrated male artists known for their reckoning with the standards and curriculum of the National Academy of Fine Arts, (e.g. Mexicans Jesus Contreras (18661902) and Julio Ruelas (18701907), as well as Spaniard Antonio Fabr s (18541938)); (c) expressions of both popular culture (e.g. festivals, e sports, pulquera [pulque bar] painting, and puppetry) and consumer culture (e.g. the illustrated periodical press and the domestic decorative arts); (d) a turn to European, and particularly, French, cultural modes (e.g. fashion, literature, and music); and (e) a recognition of the intertwined issues of class, gender, race and public space (Martn Hernandez, 1981; Salvato, 1986; Uribe, 1987; Frank, 1988; Ramrez, 1991; Velazquez Guadarrama, 1994; Cano, 1998; P rez Walters, 2002; Ramrez, 2004; Widdield, e 2004, 2006, Saborit, 2007). This historia mnima would also relate that these trends
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implicated to varying degrees the intersecting operations of Mexican modernity, most notably: (a) the centralisation and bureaucratisation of state power along with its formidable regulating capability; (b) Mexicos entrance into the fraternal order of industrial capitalist nations, particularly through the mechanism of the international expositions as well as foreign investment; (c) the installation of modern technologies (e.g. electricity, waterworks and industrial mechanisation); and (d) the cultivation of commodity consumption (Beezley, 1987; Martin and French, 1994; Tenorio Trillo, 1996; Altamirano, 2000; Agostoni and Speckmann, 2001; Porter, 2003). Missing from the historia mnima until relatively recently were women artists and their practices. In her groundbreaking 1987 work, Pintoras Mexicanas del Siglo XIX (1985), Leonor Cortina and her colleagues presented a survey of the biographies and artistic production of more than two dozen artists, as well as a sample of the available contemporary criticism of the paintings. The volume provided a foundational analysis of the operations of gender, class and social space in women artists training, production and exhibitions. These may be very generally summarised as follows: most women artists took up their practice as function of the expected training of a mujer decente, a proper woman of the privileged classes (including professional and plutocratic), just as a woman might learn music, French, or embroidery. Women did not have access to the male nude for virtually the entire century, although they did have access to classes at the National School of Fine Art and submitted works throughout the nineteenth century, beginning with the schools inaugural public exhibition in 1849. As a general rule, they tended to paint copies, portraits and still lifes, and scenes of everyday life (i.e. genre scenes) all of which were considered for much of the century to be subordinate to the text-based, so-called original, history painting that crowned the career of a male academic painter. Neither did women engage in painting as a profession, that is, they did not sell their paintings for a prot or to make a living, with the result that the vast majority of paintings are held in private collections, largely by their families. In a sense, then, our access to them is the legacy of the nineteenth century. The more recent work of Ang lica Velazquez Guadarrama (1994, 2001, 2004) and e Vctor Macas Gonzalez (2004) has more directly linked the work of women artists to the arena of Porrian modernity, especially within the realm of gender, class and social space. In the work of both scholars, it is precisely the non-text based, object-oriented subjects of the still life and genre painting (for example, dining room and parlour scenes) that open onto practices of display, consumption and labour. Velazquez Guadarrama points, for instance, to the skilful depictions of hand labour (e.g. embroidery) and mechanised labour (e.g. the sewing machine) in late nineteenth-century genre scenes. Meanwhile, Macas Gonzalez (2004) has paid careful attention to the intersection of class and gender especially in two still lifes by Eulalia Lucio (18531900) entitled Objects of Embroidery (1884) and Objects of the Hunt (1888). Both scholars also acknowledge the discursive and physical context in which the paintings were presented, namely, the public exhibition of the National Academy, and in the case of Lucios works, in the Mexican pavilion of the 1889 Paris Worlds Fair. Thus there is the institutional framework of the Academy in Mexico City, and in Paris, the complexities of the paintings at a nexus between the national and the international (Mainardi, 1987; Daz y de Ovando, 1990; Tenorio Trillo, 1996; Widdield, 1996; Hernandez-Duran, 2004, 2005). The work of one of Lucios contemporaries, Julia Escalante (18541900), is especially remarkable for what it can tell us about the operation of womens art in the Porrian public sphere. Despite the current lack of sufcient information to elaborate
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on the specics of her artistic training, Escalante seems to t the contours of the well brought up nineteenth-century woman artist. The daughter of a lawyer, and descendant of the colonial aristocracy, Escalante was educated in the prestigious Colegio de Vizcanas (Ortega, 1908; Cortina, 1985). The majority of her works were representative of what was expected of women artists of the period: religious subjects, still lifes, genre scenes, landscapes and copies of the works of male peers. Like her sister artists, she, too, exhibited works in the Academy exhibitions twelve paintings in a total of four shows (Romero de Terreros, 1963). Finally, her work demonstrates that she was a highly skilled painter, likely trained by a major male artist from the National School of Fine Arts (Ciancas, 1959; Cortina, 1985).1 Distinguishing her from her peers is that Escalante had achieved something of a public reputation in her own day, enough for the renowned literary gure, Manuel Guti rrez Najera (18591895), to note in the press e that she came from a very ne family. She would certainly have garnered something of a public prole as administrator of the family business after her father died. Perhaps equally signicant is that Escalantes paintings received a remarkable amount of attention from contemporary critics, also setting her apart from her contemporaries. Unlike most of the work that women exhibited in the Academy exhibitions, two of Escalantes paintings earned more than a passing reference in the press: the 1879 Graziella (Figure 1) and the 1881 El Lechero (The Milkman) (Figure 2). Their examination here serves as a case study of the ways in which the art of a woman artist instantiates aspects of Porrian modernity. In the context of the academic hierarchy that existed through much of the nineteenth century, these genre or scenes of everyday life done by a woman artist, would have been seemingly unremarkable. Women artists, indeed, characteristically painted genre scenes. Yet they are remarkable because the paintings were exhibited in two very different spaces, rst at the National Academy in 1879 and 1881, and later in the lobby of the Hotel del Jardn in 1888. With the change in venue came a corresponding change in the critical reception of the paintings that was inected by these two very different exhibition spaces: the rst, a state-sponsored, educational institution, and the second, a privately owned, commercial gathering place. I will suggest that these exhibition spaces dene an architecture of legibility for the paintings, founded in the arrangement of the works in the exhibition spaces as well, perhaps, in the location of the building in the city. This architecture of legibility opens onto a complex terrain in which art, gender, class and politics intersect.

Julia Escalantes Graziella and El Lechero at the National Academy of Fine Arts, 1879 and 1881
Escalantes Graziella was rst exhibited in 1879 at the Academy and El Lechero in 1881. Both are oil paintings Graziella is 23.3 17.9 inches, whereas the Lechero

1 Ciancas (1959: 68) suggests that Escalantes teacher was Rafael Flores. The basis for this claim may be in the comment made by Felipe S. Guti rrez ([1881]1964: 96) the well e known painter and critic, who, in his review of the 1881 Academy exhibition, referred to the discpulos de Flores in a paragraph in which Escalantes Lechero is mentioned. I would also note that Laureana Wright de Kleinhans (1910) does not mention any artists in her Mujeres notables M xicanas. The majority of contemporary women included are e teachers.

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Figure 1.

Julia Escalante (18541900), Graziella, o/c, 59.2 45.5 cm. Private Collection.

is 5.5 29.5 inches and both are rectangular canvases, but the height to width relationship is signicantly different, making the Lechero a tall, narrow panel. Each depicts an adolescent, wistful youth in abbreviated exterior settings, absent of any apparent implication of a narrative. Graziella is a young Neapolitan peasant girl seated in front of a white wall, punctuated by a closed wooden gate. She rests her chin in one hand, staring blankly out into the distance. The branches of a g tree cast a strong shadow diagonally across the painting. The Lechero presents a boy in overalls with a straw hat, leaning on a stick, holding his metal milk can. He, too, stares into the distance. The gure is set in a sunny landscape of low, owering foliage with a nopal cactus, against distant hills and sky. There is no evidence to suggest that Escalante originally intended them to be associated with one another. Not only were they exhibited two years apart, but the scale and shape of the canvases also seem to foreclose on this possibility. Linking them only is their t in the broad category of the genre paintings. Genre paintings, often also called costumbrista painting, are scenes of everyday life, whose production for most of the nineteenth century was by artists typically not associated with the Academy as well as women artists. As both Fausto Ramrez (1991) and Ang lica Velazquez e Guadarrama (2004) have noted, such works, along with still lifes, were disdained by the Academy and considered subordinate to the highly valued category of history painting. Indeed the Academy did not offer classes in genre painting until 1867. As Ramrez (1991) points out, even with the rise in academic production of genre scenes in the last two decades of the nineteenth century, such paintings were not purchased by the Academy for their teaching collections, as were history paintings. Additionally, many genre paintings exhibited at the Academy throughout the nineteenth century belonged
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Figure 2. Julia Escalante (18541900), The Milk Carrier (El Lechero), o/c, 1.69 75 cm. Private Collection.
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to private collectors, and, as Ramrez further suggests, were effectively perceived within the context of their circulation in the art market. The paintings were also meaningfully framed by the space in which they were exhibited, namely, in the Sala de Exposicion de Pinturas Modernas of their respective exhibitions, a designation articulating their status as contemporary, nineteenth-century paintings (Romero de Terreros, 1963: 513, No. 112, 532, No. 71). As Hernandez Duran (2004, 2005) signals, the designation of modern was understood to distinguish them from the works in the Academys colonial collection (a subject that is beyond the realm of this essay). In both 1879 and 1881, a few history paintings were exhibited in the Sala, but displays were overwhelmingly comprised of privately owned still lifes, genre paintings, landscapes, and portraits in the form of copies and originals painted by faculty, students and artists not ofcially afliated with the Academy, including Escalante and other women artists. According to the Academy Catalogues, Graziella was in a group of 114 paintings in the 1879 show, and 97 in the 1881 show, and most closely surrounded by a mix of religious paintings, landscapes, and genre paintings (Romero de Terreros, 1963: 508, No. 113, 532, No. 71). The display of Escalantes paintings articulates with the structure of the Academy in four ways: (a) within the overall organisation of the pedagogical hierarchy as examples of the subordinate category of genre paintings; (b) as the gallerys name indicated, they were examples of modern painting; (c) as one of many privately owned works displayed without any evident order to their arrangement; and (d) as works by women artists. More subtly at work was the company the paintings kept in the gallery, surrounded as they were by other images of young adults and children, including, for example, orphans and beggars. Indeed, Escalantes Graziella was hung next to Daniel Davilas work, La Hu rfana (The Orphan). As Velazquez Guadarrama (1999) argues, paintings e of orphans or, for instance, alms-giving to the poor were designed to inspire an emotional response from viewers. These were examples of what the academy, as well as critics, understood as paintings of sentiment. Moreover, these were to be distinguished from the category of history painting, comprising labour-intensive, large-scale, moralising depictions of narratives from signicant texts (biblical scripture, histories, mythology, and so forth). By contrast, genre painting lacked a textual foundation, the symbolic lustre of the labour-intensive practices of gure painting, and above all, originality. Originality was the province of male artists who also had access to the model of history paintings bearer of meaning, namely, the human gure based on sketches from live nude models to which women did not have access. For their part, genre paintings could offer viewers and owners a demonstration of the artists ability to visually materialise appealing subjects that required little intellectual engagement. Womens genre painting offered the viewer a demonstration of manual skill, not unlike needlepoint, or, a welltended home. In short, womens genre paintings, such as Escalantes Graziella and Lechero were primed for easy dismissal by critics. Escalantes Graziella was pointed out in three responses to the 1879 Academy exhibition (Altamirano, [1880]1964; Anonymous, [1880]1964; Charla de los domingos, [1880]1964). The painting is described using such terms as adequate, agreeable, and ne enough (Anonymous, [1880]1964:66; Charla de los domingos, [1880]1964:75). El Monitors writer additionally commented as a whole about the paintings presented by women artists in the show, congratulating the women for dedicating themselves to the art of painting, which, he said, like music was virtually necessary for the education of the fairer sex (Charla de los domingos, [1880]1964:75). A rather different, and
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more extensive, commentary was published in La Libertad by Ignacio Manuel Altamirano (18341893), the well-known liberal political and cultural gure (Altamirano, [1880]1964: 4748). Altamirano was a regular contributor of art and literary criticism to major periodicals, as well as a novelist and playwright. Perhaps because of his own expertise in these elds, he was drawn to address Escalantes Graziella at greater length than the other critics; equally, however, the very nature of her work may have provoked his attentive response. The brief consideration of the painting in El Siglo XIX partially restates the title of the painting as printed in the Academy exhibition catalogue: Graziella, motionless under the shade of a g tree (A. Lamartine) (Charla de los domingos, [1880]1964:75). Lamartines 1849 novella, Graziella, is the textual source of Escalantes painting and the structuring element of Altamiranos response to it. By Escalantes insistence on including Lamartine, and thus his text, she is able to emphasise that her work is an original painting (Romero de Terreros, 1963: 513, No. 112). Her designated title implies that she wanted to establish Graziella as more than a mere genre painting. Escalantes insistence on the narrative foundation of the painting drew Altamirano to embark upon a fact-checking enterprise, measuring the painting against the details of the story itself, for which he adduced an excerpt from the original French. This practice speaks to the Academys traditional concern, both in Mexico and beyond, for the responsibility of the history painting to represent appropriately the text upon which it is based; the text, in a sense, precedes the painting. The painting, then, must be able to convey without words the values and morals and facts of the text. The relationship of Escalantes painting to Lamartines text prevented this possibility. Lamartines Graziella was not a moralising tale of heroic sacrice; rather his tale was one of impossible love between the virginal adolescent daughter of a Neapolitan sherman and a young, well-heeled and cosmopolitan Frenchman seeking the simple life during summer travels. Moreover, as Altamirano would well have understood, Graziella exemplied the properly Catholic and family-oriented morality at the core of literature read by the very families from which artists like Escalante came (Sommer, 1991; Penagos, 2007). And he asked of the lines that that were the particular inspiration for Escalantes painting, who has not read this description? (Altamirano, [1880]1964: 47). Indeed, suggesting the continuing popularity of this tale is its translation into Spanish for the 1886 Biblioteca de La Familia (Jens, 1886: 340). Altamirano insisted on comparing Lamartines text to Excalantes painted interpretation. He complained that the title she gave in the Academy exhibition catalogue was neither exact, complete, nor precise enough to allow the viewer to understand what Lamartine was offering: the beautiful depiction of a half wild, Neapolitan virgin in the full throes of abandonment and dying of love. In other words, the text and image should be correspondingly detailed. In the end, Escalantes Graziella was not even a mere shadow of Lamartines. Instead, Altamiranos take on Graziella spills over into the gendered domains of health, beauty and femininity, in which lovesickness is taken seriously (Blanco, Cano and Davalos, 1995; Cano and Valenzuela, 2001; Boadella, 2002; Velazquez Guadarrama, 2004; Gonzalbo Aispuru and Zarate Toscano, 2007). Even a girl dying of lovesickness, he adds, should look healthy and exhibit at least some beauty. The girls melancholy expression, darkly ringed eyes, vacant stare, and lassitude (she has dropped her sewing) causes Altamirano to reduce this youth in the painting to a sickly, squalid, and ugly girl, who could be taken for a convalescent fever victim (Altamirano, [1880]1964: 4648).

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Altamirano counselled that this skilled, but young and inexperienced, artist should choose a scene from real life, subtly articulating the discursive foundation of his criticism. First, to direct her to paint scenes of real life reiterates what is expected of a woman artist. Scenes of real life should not trouble her with the interpretation of the works of a poet so difcult to translate with a brush (Altamirano, [1880]1964: 48). Scenes of real life are also the stuff of genre painting; thus, what Escalante has done and what she should do, point to the intersection of the hierarchy of gender with that of the Academy itself. The afrmation of this is to be found in the minimal critical response to her painting of the Lechero in the 1881 Academy exhibition. In his extensive discussion of the exhibition in El Siglo XIX, Felipe S. Guti rrez (18241904), the prolic academic e painter and critic offered a few lines about the painting in his tour of the gallery of artists from outside of the Academy, comparing her work to those of French painter William Bouguereau (18251905) (Guti rrez, [1881]1964: 96, 109). The latter was known for e his highly nished academic nudes and charming scenes of peasants. That Escalante was familiar with these is suggested not only by the subject the well-fed, wistful peasant boy with his milk can but the format of the canvas. Bouguereau frequently painted his subjects in the tall, rectangular panel that Escalante used for the Lechero. Further making the association was the presence in the hall of a copy of Bouguereaus La hermana mayor (The Older Sister) by another woman artist (Romero de Terreros, 1963: 532, No. 54). Guti rrezs comparison to Bouguereau was both complimentary and dismissive: e we thought we were looking at a work of Bouguereau (Guti rrez, [1881]1964: 109). e She was skilled enough to produce a good copy, but a copy none the less. That is, it was a genre painting, and unlike the Graziella, was neither original nor text based. Returning to Altamiranos take on Graziella, Guti rrez noted that for all the e paintings defects, the work was original, a beautiful thought and a painting of sentiment. The standard operating procedure of nineteenth-century art critics was to offer their assessment and to correct, followed by hearty encouragement to continue and improve (Widdield, 1996). Altamiranos well-documented concern for national culture, including art and literature, inected his criticism (Altamirano, 1869; Pacheco, 1982; Widdield, 1996; Denzin, 2006). He understood the dispassionate analysis of any artists work as a benet to the welfare of the nation; thus, criticism was followed by praise to encourage the artist to continue pursuing her practice. In so doing, both artist and critic contributed to the public good. Altamirano represented a generation of political-cultural gures for whom the promotion of ne art in general was intimately tied to the good of the nation, and for whom art criticism was understood to be a civic responsibility. The press about, and the exhibition catalogues of, the Academy shows suggested that viewers of works in this institution were also engaged in the serious practice of civic duty. Academy catalogues printed the names of donors to each exhibition, including the president, cabinet members, and other signicant political gures, as well as the culturati and members of the bourgeoning professional class (Acevedo, 1981). It was devotion and behaviour to be emulated by all citizens.

Graziella and El Lechero at the Hotel del Jardn in 1888


In July 1888, Escalantes Graziella and the Lechero were exhibited in downtown Mexico Citys Hotel del Jardn, which had opened its doors two years earlier. The inventory of 56 works displayed was published in El Eco Universal (Una Exposicion de Pintura, [1888]1964: 222225). Amongst the exhibitors were several artists who
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had trained and exhibited at the Academy (e.g. Santiago Rebull, Jos Ibarraran and e Tiburcio Sanchez), or who had exhibited there as independent artists (e.g. Jos Vargas, e Leon Planti and Horacio Hora). Taken as a whole, the works represent precisely those e categories shown in the modern painting galleries in which Escalantes works were shown in 1879 and 1881, notably, portraits, and genre paintings with a scattering of religious/history and landscape scenes. There were also a number of sketches and drawings by academic artists, whose nished versions had been shown previously at the Academy. Escalantes works included Graziella and the Lechero as well as two portraits, whose sitters are not listed. The show was organised by the independent artist Leon Planti (dates unknown), e who, as a specialist in watercolours, worked in a genre that did not even receive its own exhibition space in the Academy until 1891 Indeed, Planti s 19 watercolours of genre e paintings and landscapes comprised the largest collection entered by any of these artists. Taken as a whole, the works were all relatively small, where watercolours, drawings, and colour sketches would almost certainly have been of a portable scale. Similarly, comprising only 56 works, the scale of the show was obviously signicantly smaller than the Academys displays with their hundreds of works. Housed in a privately owned commercial location, the room in which the works were hung was surely designed for multiple purposes; the press referred to it as el salon principal. Finally, while women obviously exhibited in the Academy shows, the character of Hotel del Jardn seems to offer a rather different context for Escalantes Graziella and the Lechero.2 Three papers discussed the show, of which one simply announces the exhibition. A second lists the names of both works, but only addresses the characteristics of Graziella, which were such that all those present will spend a long while enraptured, contemplating the Chef-doeuvre (Una Exposicion de Pintura, [1888]1964: 222). However, Manuel Guti rrez Najera (18591895), the famed modernist poet, critic, e and chronicler, attended closely to the entire exhibition and especially to both Graziella and the Lechero (Guti rrez Najera, [1888]1964: 226232), according a brief nod to e Escalantes painting skills. Observing Graziella, he saw that that she had great talent and a lively feel for colour and an exquisite softness ([1888]1964: 228). Meanwhile, El Lechero was superior for its line and as a plein air study (a colour sketch done outside).

2 Works of art were displayed in private and semi-private venues. In addition to the Academy, these included, exhibitions, artists studios, private collections, the National Museum, municipal, national and international expositions, and temporary exhibition spaces in store fronts. (review, for example, Rodrguez Prampolini, [1880]1964, I, II and III). Other sites for viewing art would certainly include decorations in churches and chapels, as well as collections acquired by them, pulqueras, the walls of public buildings, elite houses and haciendas decorated with a variety of murals. Guti rrez Najera ([1888] e 1964: 227) with tongue in cheek, notes in relation to the exhibition at the Hotel del Jardn that it is unlike other exhibitions in which paintings on consignment are always shown: Ya, de antiguo, nos venamos habituando a solo ver expuestas las pinturas en los apradores de sastreras. Tanto, que Alfredo Chavero extrano mucho, no encontrar pantalones ni levitas entre los lienzos de esta exposicion. Primitivo Miranda exhibited his painting La Batalla del Cinco de Mayo at the Hotel de la Gran Sociedad in 1877 in order to rafe it off (Rodrguez Prampolini, [1880]1964, III: 148). Further research will have to determine which, if any, of the works exhibited in the Hotel del Jardn were indeed for sale, as well as the character of the art market more generally. At least one belonged to the private collection of Alfredo Chavero (Rodrguez Prampolini, [1880]1964, III: 23). Theoretically, Escalantes, as the work of a woman artist, were not for sale.

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Guti rrez Najeras primary interest in the paintings has little to do with them as e paintings, but rather as imaginary characters present in Mexico City itself. He also moves quickly from the relation between text and image in Graziella, asserting only that she is not, strictly speaking, the Graziella of Lamartine. Instead, we see that: She is too much little miss and little if at all sorrentina: a Graziella of a very ne family. Miss Escalante viewed the girl of her heroine, or, better said, transferred, this girl to the elegant environment in which she (i.e. Escalante) lives. But if she wanted to express in this gure the feeling of abandonment and sadness, it cannot be denied that she has completely realised this. This elegant little girl who, on a romantic whim has dressed herself as Graziella, surely had a anc who has abandoned her, who had promised he would e return to her and did not.(Guti rrez Najera, [1888]1964: 228). e We recall that Altamirano also asserted that Escalantes Graziella was not Lamartines Graziella, but for different reasons and to different effect. He came to this conclusion by a detailed comparison between Lamartines text and Escalantes painting, engaging in a mode of analysis that was as systematic as the exhibition in which her work appeared in 1879. In fact, Altamirano ([1880]1964: 21) did not seem to stray far from the painting itself, stating in his review of the 1879 exhibition that, examining the paintings through a focused eye, and indeed, returning again to study them, one avoided running the danger of basing oneself on a deceptive opinion, on a less than attentive observation or in considerations foreign to art. Altamirano was concerned primarily with Escalantes ability to approach the benchmarks of academic painting. Guti rrez Najera, instead, did stray far from the painting, dressing up Escalantes gure e in the costume of another class, removing Graziella from the story and from the social class that at least Altamirano still maintained she belonged to, namely an anonymous, brooding Italian girl of the popular classes. In this way, Guti rrez Najera links her by e implication to the real world of the very Mexican elite of which Escalante herself was a member. Nevertheless, Escalante clearly intended her literary reference in the 1879 Academy catalogue entry to establish an indisputable identity for Graziella, where textual reference should have deected the reviewers from abandoning the ostensible subject of the painting. Similarly, she must have also meant for the presence of the milk can and the nopal cactus in her Lechero to site this labourer in a national landscape. For Guti rrez e Najera ([1888]1964: 228), however, milk can and nopal are used as a device to move away from the painting in itself Neither, in spite of the Mexican landscape in which the artist arranges him, is he one of our milkmen a critical gesture whereby the nopal is cast aside and no longer directly informs the meaning of the painting. Guti rrez Najera e ([1888]1964: 229) recreates the Lechero as something very different: He is, perhaps, Graziellas anc , dressed also fantastically, very clean, very correct, very Jockey Club, e very put together and only accidentally peasant, and these enchanting and very well educated children are amorously paired. And yet, in their earlier academic outing, they were shown in exhibitions two years apart, thus making physical proximity to one another impossible. Guti rrez Najeras treatment of Graziella and the Lechero as characters in Mexico e City is of a piece with his chronicles of the capital published in the Mexico City press (Guti rrez, 1999; Corona and Jorgensen, 2002; Martnez, 2007). And in his e exemplary 1884 poem, La Duquesa Job, la Duquesa (whose name derives from his own pseudonym) inhabits the spaces of the city, mapped around points of class,
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costume, gender and custom. La Duquesa Job takes the reader to the very Jockey Club embodied in Escalantes Lechero, an aspect that will be addressed further below. In this way, Guti rrez Najera takes advantage of Escalantes paintings to extend the e walls of the salon principal of the Hotel del Jardn into the urban space of cosmopolitan culture. He draws into the exhibition a local and international centre of art production, conjuring both Mexicos National Academy and Paris, the centre of high culture. In a reference to the exhibitions at the Academy, Guti rrez Najera ([1888]1964: e 223) declared : [there] we have only seen uniform, standardised painters, teachers and alumnae, the former with ruler in hand and the latter, muttering. These paintings are like lessons learned and recited from memory. The Hotel del Jardn offered the presence of something different, of something that had not yet reached the Academy. Amongst its offerings were: pupils who have escaped from school (Guti rrez Najera, e [1888]1964: 223). Moreover, it offered the merit of being owed only to individual initiative (Guti rrez Najera, [1888]1964: 227). Setting the tired state school against the e enterprising painter who organised the hotel show, these comments also establish a criti cal framework in which Guti rrez Najera is able to disengage Escalantes paintings from e the discursive armature of the Academy that clearly structured Altamiranos response. As the Academy context literally and critically framed the works of art exhibited within its walls, so too did the space of the Hotel del Jardn. Academy and hotel were different spaces of socialisation, with the possibility of at least some intermingling of a range of monied sectors. With the exception of the limited days of free public access to Academy exhibitions, entrance to, and purchase of, the catalogue was at some cost, and would therefore have likely eliminated the working classes from entering (Widdield, 1996). We know, for example, that the Hotel del Jardn was advertised to foreign visitors and Mexican tourists in the press, where it featured amongst twenty hotels listed in the September 1887 edition of the Gua del Viajero (1887). Theoretically, entrance to the hotels show did not require the purchase of a ticket, but it is reasonable to assume that it attracted members Mexican or foreign tourists sufciently endowed to stay there or eat at its restaurant. It obviously attracted Gutierrez Najera. Whilst it is certainly possible that some of the Academys and the hotels viewers came from common sectors of society, it is unlikely that the hotel courted an assembly of government ofcials and dignitaries as did the Academy. Nor was the hotel the site of a public spectacle designed for the modelling of civic virtue. The space of the Academy, as we have seen, reiterated a nexus of historically signicant hierarchies of practices and display. Critics typically drew the viewer along from room to room, and painting to painting. The viewer would have imagined the multiple galleries displaying hundreds of works of art. The lay-out of the halls and subsections, as well as the exhibition catalogues, carefully ordered the oor-to-ceiling displays. The Hotel del Jardn, by contrast, provided a smaller, less formal, and less rigidly organised site for display than the galleries and hallways of the Academy of San Carlos. In the two short newspaper reviews of the show, it was the space in particular that drew the attention of the writers. The anonymous reviewer of the 1888 show described the salon principal as a hall whose roof was supported by a large column, surrounded by potted plants: The location, adorned with exquisite taste, presents a magnicent view. On one of its walls, arranged in simple but artistic confusion, musical instruments, palettes, small easel paintings and other stylish objects, on crimson velvet, are what rst calls our attention (Una Exposicion de Pintura, [1888]1964: 223). A painting at the Hotel del Jardn was, then, but one valuable object among other valuable objects, as they might be in the parlours of the middle and upper middle classes

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whose mania for collecting could be seen in advertisements, family photographs, and in the illustrated periodical press.3 Textures, style, taste, ambience this was a sensory experience for the distinguished people perusing the hall, as the anonymous reviewer said. We might view the differences between Academy and hotel this way: the Academy performs the teaching of culture; the Hotel del Jardn, the consuming of culture. The Hotel del Jardn not only framed Escalantes paintings differently from the previous Academy exhibitions in which they were originally shown, but also generated a different critical response on the part of Guti rrez Najera. Not interested in performing e his civic duty to the progress of Mexican ne arts, he did directly compare the Academy exhibitions with the show at the Hotel del Jardn. Of the Academy he stated: [there] we have only seen uniform, standardized painters, teachers and alumnae, the former with ruler in hand and the latter, muttering. These paintings are like lessons learned and recited from memory (Guti rrez Najera, [1888]1964: 226227). The Hotel del e Jardn, on the other hand, offered the presence of something different, of something that had not yet reached the Academy. Amongst its offerings were: pupils who have escaped from school (Guti rrez Najera, [1888]1964: 226). Moreover, it offered the e merit of being owed only to individual initiative (Guti rrez Najera, [1888]1964: 226). e This is signicant, for it establishes a critical framework in which Guti rrez Najera e can disengage a painting from the academic structure designed to promote conformity rather than innovation. He waxed lyrical about the space of the exhibition, but as a metaphorical one. It offered, he said, an open window through which one can make out the horizon of Paris (Guti rrez Najera, [1888]1964: 227). Guti rrez Najeras famous afrancesamiento e e no doubt explains his longing to see in the hotel the Paris he never saw. For Guti rrez e Najera and his modernist colleagues, Paris was the cosmopolitan capital of the world (Franco, 1967; Somolinos, 1972; Tenorio Trillo, 1996). When he said that Paris could be seen out the window, it was a symbolic performance in which Mexican bourgeois culture was in a real sense involved, namely the importation of the signs of high modern culture (Guti rrez, 1999: 4041), be it of clothes, wine, literature or the mansard roof. e

The Implications of Space, Culture, and Exhibitions


The ways in which Altamirano and Guti rrez Najera responded to Escalantes paintings e was anchored in the displays of the paintings in their respective exhibition spaces. The one was a vast and complex array of works (painting, sculpture, prints, architectural models) in the galleries of the National Academy ordered by the historical pedagogical mission of the school, that not only inculcated a hierarchy of genres and practices, but trained artists to meet common standards. The other was a smaller, commercial space, designed to meet the consumer needs of a transient public, in which the art object was integrated into the display of other beautiful objects. The array of objects seems to have been dictated by the multi-purpose space of the hall that also accommodated the hotel d cor, for example, the potted plants and column. The critics rearticulated e these same structures of meaning, which I earlier phrased as academic culture and hotel culture.

3 On the question of nineteenth-century collections and collecting, see: Maleuvre (1999), Fernandez (2000), Vazquez (2001), and Yanes (2005).
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To be sure, the interpretations of both critics were also a function of their broader cultural views: Altamiranos as an expression of romantic-nationalism, and Guti rrez e Najeras of modernism. For Altamirano (1988), a radical liberal whose politics were formed in the generation of the Reform, the role of art was inextricably tied to the creation of a national culture; in his famous 1869 formulation in El Renacimiento, it was a tree that would ourish with the efforts of all for the benets of all. In terms of art, he also looked particularly at subjects: history, landscape, and customs that would issue from the history and soil of the nation. Guti rrez Najeras understanding of what e could constitute national art, by contrast, was intimately tied to the positivists and the Porrian regime in which progress, individualism and prosperity were fundamental. He looked to the urban arena, especially Mexico City and Paris, for the subject matter of art and literature, to the pleasures and acquisitions of bourgeois culture (Guti rrez, e 1999; Martnez, 2007). Their respective commentary on Escalantes Graziella issues from a given understanding of the subject matter of national art, especially as represented by contemporary customs. Altamirano was a radical, anti-clerical liberal, who nonetheless maintained interest in, and admiration for, the traditional Catholic practices of peasants, apparent especially in his novels (Wright-Rios, 2004). His sympathetic and idealising depictions of popular, rural religious practices constructed a picture of the peasant outside of the linear time of progress, and the urban sphere, in much the same way that Lamartine inscribed the character of Graziella into his novella, where Paris is emblematic of modernity and the Neapolitan coast of tradition. Altamirano no doubt understood Escalantes Graziella in the same terms, which was part of her appeal. Guti rrez Najera, as we saw, e transformed Graziella into a thoroughly modern young woman, dressing down to dress up, and whose charming partner, the Lechero, was associated with the Jockey Club, itself the epitome of a modern, urban space of Porrian socialising (Beezley, 1987). Guti rrez Najeras vision of the modern city and Escalantes characters is suggested e by his characterisation of the newly-installed electric lights on the San Francisco and Plateros Street, at whose western terminus the Jockey Club was to be found. From the vantage-point of the balcony of the Hotel del Iturbide in 1884, he likened the 40 lights hung on electrical wire to a string of pearls, thus creating an ornament on the city, just as he costumed the well-to-do-youths of Graziella and the Lechero for a night out at the Jockey Club (Guti rrez Najera, 1995: 33, 39). e There is another dimension to the spaces of the exhibitions at the National Academy and the Hotel del Jardn that, like Guti rrez Najeras symbolic rupturing of the salon e principal, opens on to the space of city in Porrian Mexico: the location of the exhibition spaces themselves. Both the Academy and the Hotel del Jardn were located in downtown Mexico City, in what is now known as the historic centre (Figure 3). In his comments on Escalantes Lechero, Guti rrez Najera invoked the Jockey Club, e which had opened in downtown Mexico in 1880. By the time the Hotel del Jardn had opened in 1886, the Jockey Club was already emblematic of the clubby, conspicuous consumption of the Porrian elite (Beezley, 1987). Both the Jockey Club and the Hotel were established around the historically important artery of San Francisco and Plateros Streets, a key commercial and domestic corridor to the west of the Plaza Mayor.4

4 A signicant commercial and domestic corridor ran along the street that linked the Plaza Mayor and the Alameda, known since the early colonial period as Plateros and San Francisco streets so-named for the silver industry and for the huge Convento de San

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1 Alameda Park

2 Jockey Club 4 San Francisco and Plateros Streets

5 Caf

6 Plaza Mayor 7 Academy

5 Hotel de Jardn

1. Alameda Park 2. Jockey Club 3. Hotel de Jardn 4. San Francisco and Plateros Street 5. Caf de la Concordia 6. Plaza Mayor 7. National Academy of Fine Arts Diagram not to scale, shows relative positions only.

Figure 3.

Plan of Downtown Mexico City in the 1880s.

The National Academy was located on what is now Academia Street, just east of the Plaza Mayor. There is a signicant scholarship on the effects of Porrian state as well as private initiatives and their impact on various aspects of the city centre and its inhabitants (Lear, 1996, 2001; Johns, 1997; Piccato, 2000; Garza Merodio, 2006). We know that the there was a population shift, particularly of elite families from the east side of the Plaza, that is, in the relative vicinity of the Academy, to the west side of the Plaza Mayor. Future studies will have to examine the possible effect of changes in the composition of the city centre on the Academy as an exhibition space. What, nally, did the buildings themselves bring to the meaning of the exhibitions and the critical reception of works of art? The Jockey Club and other gathering places such as the Caf de la Concordia (opened in 1868) were established in colonial-period e palaces. For its part, the Hotel del Jardn occupied one wing of the courtyard rooms that anked the garden of the sixteenth-century Convento de San Francisco. The spaces that the Caf de la Concordia, the Jockey Club and the Hotel del Jardn occupied were e not originally constructed to accommodate their respective modern commercial and social activities. Rather, their proprietors made use of three well-known colonial period structures, in order: the house of the Marquesado del Valle de Oaxaca, the house of

Francisco whose northern periphery ran for several blocks along the street. The Jockey Club and the Caf de la Concordia were both here; the latter at the corner of what is now e Madero and Isabel la Catolica Streets, closer to the Plaza Mayor, and the former, known today as the House of Tiles (now Sanborns), in the Plaza de Guardiola, across from what is now the Palacio de Bellas Artes, at the western end of this corridor. The Hotel del Jardn never faced directly onto San Francisco/Plateros, but was in the vicinity, just a few blocks to the south. The Convento de San Franciscos garden walls faced south-west, onto what today are the Eje Lazaro Cardenas and Venustiano Carranza Streets.
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the Conde de Orizaba and the Convento de San Francisco.5 This process raises the important issue of the historicisation of the city centre, and especially of eclecticism, and the meaning of historical styles. This has been probed within the general arena of Porrian urban projects around the turn of the century, especially in the case of Porrian public monuments and buildings (Fernandez, 2004; Reese, 2004). What impact do the existing structures, especially in terms of their particular functions, have on the display and reception of art? What is at stake, for example, in the Hotel del Jardns location in a renovated sixteenth-century Franciscan convent, or the National Academys in its midnineteenth-century version of a Renaissance palace? Escalantes two small paintings, exhibited in these very different spaces, are richly provocative of such questions, whose answers will tell us more about the process of Porrian modernity, not just its results.

Acknowledgements
Versions of this essay were read at Tulane University, the University of Chicago, and the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. I thank my colleagues at these institutions for their insightful comments.

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