Alvaro Guevara

Puppets

c.1930–40

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1377 x 1531 x 28 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by Hubert Lacroix, the artist's grandson 1999
Reference
T07488

Display caption

A sense of anxiety and threat hangs over Guevara`s painting, perhaps reflecting the atmosphere of Europe on the brink of war. Puppets substitute for people, their features exaggerated into caricature. The metaphor suggests both the collapse of contemporary politics into farcical play-acting, and the helplessness of individuals tugged by the strings of history. Originally from Chile, Guevara had been a fashionable portraitist in London before moving to France in 1930. As he struggled for recognition there, the ease of his earlier work was replaced by a melancholic mood.

Gallery label, September 2004