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Guevara, Alvaro (1894-1951)
by Scholes, Robert


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Modernist Journals Project
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Alvaro Guevara (1894 - 1951)

He was born in Valparaiso, Chile, and came to England in 1908, spending two years in Yorkshire in business. He began studying art at the Bradford College of Art, moving on to the Slade in 1912. He worked with Roger Fry at the Omega Workshops, before returning to Chile, where he gained a reputation as a prize fighter as well as an artist. He exhibited with the New English Art Club, becoming a member in 1920. Guevara's tall, handsome demeanor attracted many people of both sexes. He was well known among the Bloomsbuy Group, and in Chelsea. He was also visible occasionally at the Paris home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Though he was not open about his male lovers, he often painted male nudes in a style similar to that of Duncan Grant and other modernists. Reviewing a show of the National Portrait Society in London in 1918, Ezra Pound had this to say about Guevara's work:

The interest in the exhibition, such as it is, may well centre in Alvaro Guevara. I must confess to a preference for his dancers and acrobats. In this show his “Dorothy Warren ” is a fancy picture, and the lady's hair is not that colour. His Mrs. Wallace is needlessly reminiscent of John. It “comes up better ” at thirty yards distance--that is, from the very end of the other galIery; but paintings are not normally viewed from thirty yards distance, and unless this portrait is particularly intended to decorate some unusually large room this focus is an error.
(NA 22.18:357)

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