I met artist Luis Gasparini a few years ago in Areco. I was surprised to find such treasures in a modest corner of Buenos Aires province, not yet as known to either Argentineans or foreign visitors. I received a very warm welcome and was delighted by the artist’s knowledge of the local history as well as that of the gauchos and their land, el campo.
Gasparini was born in San Antonio de Areco, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1958. Areco is a picturesque historic town situated about 100 km from Capital Federal; ‘A land of gauchos and horses’ in the Pampas Plains.
Gasparini achieved much greater renown when he made over 200 drawings included in the legendary book Martin Fierro (for the new bilingual edition), the epic poem by Argentinean writer José Hernández. The painter’s horses and gauchos are made in pastel oil and charcoal, the artist preferred and most recognised technique.
Gasparini has exhibited in many parts of the country and continues to support education and talent by visiting schools and talking to students of all ages and backgrounds. He has a museum in the centre of the town, where he works daily and enthusiastically welcomes the public. This Museo Evocativo Osvaldo Gasparini was opened in 1965 with his father and teacher, artist Osvaldo Gasparini. The centre also hosts works by his two talented brothers, Miguelangel and Dario.
Drinking some mates, kindly offered by the artist, we talked about politics, an inevitable subject of any tertulias in Buenos Aires, the fascinating history of the country, its independence, and the importance of the gauchos in the development of agriculture and animal rearing in the Pampas.
I noticed what a brave and generous man he is, choosing to become an artist in a country where such talent was not often recognised let alone offered many opportunities for such professionals to thrive. Probably like his father, he had to endure difficult times when political and social instability in the country were at its premium.
His paintings are not mere pictures; he captures the movements of the horses and riders in a unique way. After a short walk around the museum site, with its colonial patio, the old well and clay oven, and all the treasures that hang from trees, walls, windows and atelier, he invited me to witness his drawing. He started one of his typical gauchescas scenes with only a modest piece of charcoal in his bare hands. He drew with such speed and skill that I found myself lost for words for a long few minutes. I could not help but think of Sebastian, my brother, who has carried the land and horses in his blood since he was a little boy playing in our family’s estancia. I mentioned our adventures riding all day and the love and passion that Sebastian still has for these animals and our campo. I shyly expressed my wish to buy one of his drawings for him. To my astonishment, the artist began writing a short message under the painting he had just finished “Para Sebastian con cariňo, un recuerdo de Areco, Luis Gasparini”. I was indeed touched.
Patricia C Prada Jimenez
San Antonio de Areco, Buenos Aires, Argentina
“El gaucho fue la semilla de la raza en el gran surco de la Pampa”
More information on Museo Evocativo y de Bellas Artes Osvaldo Gasparini and the new renovation project on our Elephant Minds Foundation page. The Museum is situated in Calle Alvear 521, San Antonio de Areco, Bs As, Argentina. Phone number 00 54 2326 453930 (correct at time of publication).