SANTIAGO MARTINEZ DELGADO

El gigante del arte Colombiano

His life in Chicago and the US

The Chicago Academy of Fine Arts

By 1928, Antonio Martinez the Master's older brother became the Colombian Consul in Chicago. He had observed the master's ability and assisted him on making the preparations to travel with him to Chicago.

As Walt Disney and others before him Martinez, found Ruth VanSickle Ford, who was instrumental in Martinez Delgado's development; she was not only generous but she helped Master Martinez by getting him the commission at the 1933 fair and other projects. By the time of his graduation Mr. Hugh M. Newman the Academy Director said: You are the greatest artist that has walked these hallways during our generation. 
 
For information about Ruth Van Syncle Ford click this link

Master Martinez at the 1933 - 1934 Chicago International Fair (A Century of Progress)

Master Martinez Delgado was commissioned, to paint a mural for the 3rd pavillion of the General Exhibit. He painted a magestic piece titled: "the Colombian Progress during the last century". The mural was well composed in the Art Deco style, impressing must art critics.
Diego Rivera who was in NY painting the Rockefeller plaza entrance, visited Chicago during the fair and said: "That mural is a Master piece of contemporary art".Nelson Rockefeller said: this is exquisite in detail and rich in talent; Mr. Rockefeller considered Master Martinez Delgado to finish Rivera’s Mural, due to the scandal caused by the inclusion of Lenin in the mural; but Master Martinez Delgado was unable to do it for reasons unknown today. Nelson Rockefeller would latter commission Martinez for the largest canvas in Colombian History for the City Bank Colombia Headquaters.
The Master piece at the International Fair, earned Martinez the prestigious; Logan Medal that was the highest honor for the arts in the Chicago area during the 20’s and 30’s.

More About Martinez in Chicago

   Martinez won the following Prices while attending school in Chicago:
* Logan Medal for Mural at the 3rd pavilion of the General exhibit @ the 1933 Chicago International Fair "Century of Progress"
* The Latham Foundation Art Contest 1932
* Best add for the US Federation of Commercial Artist 1934 Top award for the prominent Masterpiece Interpretation of the 
  "Chicago Tribune"
* Santiago Martinez Delgado during the 1930’s made illustrations for Esquire Magazine, that were liked by magazine writers
   like Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway among other Esquire magazine staff members.

Disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright
While a student at the Fine Arts Academy of Chicago from 1932 to 1935; Master Martinez Delgado lived on and off at Taliesin, where Frank Lloyd Wright had his TaliesinFellowship. 
Wright commissioned Martinez to make wooden sculptures and stained windows among other pieces during his time there.

Martinez would later remembered with much appreciation his lessons and discussions at Taliesin, describing them: as a reenactment of the renaissance, when the old Masters lived, educated and argued with their disciples . Wright was quoted: Young Columbian Santiago Martinez argues a bit much about the stroke of this project nevertheless; Taliesin needs more like him, to make the debates stand the transient of the facts.
In 1939 one of his mates at Taliesin, Mr. Charles Morgan spend some time in Bogotá, where they made plans to bring some of Wright’s ideas in to the Bogotá’s landscape; unfortunately, they were unable to start due to local political upheaval and latter due to the early death of Master Martinez.
It is said that Wright always admired the talent of Martinez for the decorative arts. Wright awarded Martinez with the invention of the tropical Deco; as he called the stained Windows Martinez did for him at Taliesin.

El Lio de La Madonna de Bogota (About the Madonna of Bogota by Raphael Sanzio)
In 1938 Mrs. Maria Mendoza a friend of Master Martinez invited him and his wife Leonor Concha de Martinez, to her home in Bogotá Colombia. Mrs. Mendoza had with her a painting she thought to be by Vazquez Arce y Ceballos a well-known Colombian artist of whom Martinez Delgado had written a book, so based in the Fact that Martinez was considered an expert in Art History, she ask him to attribute the piece. As soon as Master Martinez laid eyes on the painting he immediately knew that it was either by Raphael Sanzio or his school.
The piece was in very poor condition broken in two and kept together by a wire. Master Martinez took the painting for further archives and scientific research, after x rays and other steps he was convinced that it was by Raphael.
When the rumor about the painting started the press, It quickly to started a debate; some dismissed it (like an article in el Tiempo) that argued: it was a copy of a Raphael piece currently at the Prado Museum in Madrid.

Soon the Master called for a symposium at the municipal theater to talk about his find. The event was attended by well known Colombian experts like: Enrique Uribe White, Antonio Bergmann, Domingo Otero and Ines Acevedo Biester. Martinez explained the provenance and the scientific work of the piece making an irrefutable point that this was indeed a Madonna by Raphael, brought to Colombia by Caballero Góngora; Furthermore, Mr. Enrique Restrepo proved that although it was similar to the one in El Prado it was different in many aspects and pointed to the fact; that the one in Madrid was in el Escorial Chapel during a very long time making it impossible to be copied during the 1500’s.

Finally in 1939 Martinez brought the piece to New York, where it travel to the Metropolitan Museum and Columbia University where the piece was studied by Daniel Catton, Rich A. Sweet, Ruber H. Clark, Leo A. Marzolo, Lionello Venturiy, and Wilheim Valentiner the foremost authority on Raphael in the world, who was in NY for the International Fair. In June 1939 The piece was confirm as an original by the great renaissance Master Raphael and was entered in the Artist catalog as THE MADONNA OF BOGOTA.
The piece was taken to the Chicago Art Institute to be Restored.

Joaquin Pineros Corpas confirmed it in Colombia on an Article in el Tiempo; “CONFIRMADO: MADONNA DE BOGOTA POR RAFAEL SANZIO URBINO” Many US papers acclaim Master Martinez for his discovery.

The Whereabouts of this piece are clouded, but rumors are that it may be in bank volt in New York City. The discussion of this painting's provenance and authenticity in Bogotá where so big that the quotation: "UN LIO DE LA MADONNA” is nowadays commonly used to describe a complicated dilemma.

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