Biography. Part II

(1910 - 1920)
University, Stay in Buenos Aires Group North

On June 10 of 1917, shortly after his return to Trujillo, Macedonio held a reception at his home on Gamarra street. His closest friends attended the affair, whose purpose was to exhibit his sculptures. On this occasion, the poet César Vallejo read his exceptional composition “Los Heraldos Negros” (The Black heralds) for the first time:

There are in life such hard blows . . . I don’t know!

Blows seemingly from God’s wrath; as if before them

the undertow of all our sufferings is embedded in our souls . . . I don’t know!

There are few; but are . . . opening dark furrows in the fiercest of faces and the strongest of loins,

They are perhaps the colts of barbaric Attilas or the dark heralds Death sends us. And the man . . . poor . . . poor!

He turns his eyes around, like

when patting calls us upon our shoulder;
he turns his crazed maddened eyes,
and all of life’s experiences become stagnant, like a puddle of guilt, in a daze.

They are the deep falls of the Christ of the soul,
of some adorable one that Destiny Blasphemes.
Those bloody blows are the crepitation
of some bread getting burned on us by the oven’s door

There are such hard blows in life. I don’t know

We can only imagine the impact that this poem, with its profound, measured and substantial verses, made upon those present that evening. The reading was followed by conversation and Macedonio´s violin rendition of classical compositions. This night marked the definitive beginning of many of the guests´ lively trajectories. The names of these individuals were already well known in the circles of Trujillo dedicated to thought and creation. The guests at this party included: César Vallejo, José Eulogio Garrido, Antenor Orrego, Alcides Spelucín, Carlos Valderrama, Federico Esquerre, Gustavo Romero Lozada y Laínez – Macedonio´s future father-in-law and the elegant composer of piano pieces such as “Emilia”, “Trujillano”, “Idilio”, “Felicidad” and many others–, José Félix de la Puente, Oscar Imaña, Eloy Espinoza, Agustín Haya de la Torre, and Ignacio Meave Seminario amongst others.

Embossed bust of a child sculpted by Macedonio de la Torre. Trujillo. Beginning of the 1920s.

Busto niño

Mercedes de la Torre Collard de Ganoza and Rosita de la Torre Collard, Macedonio’s sisters, with some of their relatives: Eduardo Ganoza y Ganoza, Victoria Zoila de la Torre de Cárdenas de Haya, Alfredo Morales de Cárdenas, María Isabel Morales de Cárdenas. Pictured on the tricycle are Elsa and Eduardo Ganoza de la Torre, the painter’s niece and nephew.

Retrato de Daniel Hoyle por Macedonio de la Torre

It is interesting to point out here that Vallejo’s first recitation of “Los Heraldos Negros” coincided with a book he was writing of the same title, which was to be published the following year- 1918- in Lima. Thus, he lived in the heart of this northern bohemia during a fertile period for literature and intense learning. These were also times of crisis while he was finishing his fifth year of university study, which corresponded to his third year of law school. He would eventually abandon this career path to study medicine in Lima, a move that he decided upon prior to completely and resolutely committing himself to the arts. Macedonio held his first exhibition in Arica and several others in Trujillo.

At the end of the second decade of the century, after this group that had been brought together by Garrido had broken up, other artistic meetings were organized in an inviting rural environment known as “El Molino,” a hacienda owned by Mr. Daniel Hoyle Castro, a composer and accomplished pianist. The “Compañia de Jesús” owned this property until they were evicted in 1767. “El Molino” still exists. It consists of: a solid building made of thick walls made of adobe, two arches that cover several other verandas in an L shape, spacious rooms with large windows and wooden gates, a large orchard with a main swimming pool made of steel, and abundant fruit trees that perfume what was once the pleasant, charming and noisy garden of yesteryear. Ten years ago, Mrs. Isabel Hoyle Cabada, Daniel´s daughter and the delicate and serene guardian of this home and its memories, splendidly spoke of events that had occurred some seventy years before. Mrs. Hoyle was close to ninety -five years old when she gave her account.

These evening affairs were normally held on weekend nights. Conversation and musical performances took place, and Daniel played his compositions on the baby grand that he had kept. Macedonio dedicated his time to painting and sculpting. The meeting place was a large room that remained physically unaltered from the 1920´s to the end of the XXth century. It had a rectangular layout with high widows, wide doors and a covered verandah facing the orchard. These venerable grounds had witnessed few physical alterations when the most cultivated intellectuals of the 1920´s began their visits. Beautifully bound books from the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth century could be found next to the piano along with drawings and watercolors by Macedonio and Constante Larco Hoyle, photographs of horses and portraits of the ladies of the family. These women were the delicate beauties of their era, and were pictured next to pedigree dogs and fine stepping horses. This room was also home to romantic furniture and art nouveau, including the rocking chair used by the artist and, of course, two large oil paintings whose iconography dominated the space. One of these paintings was of Daniel Hoyle Castro standing in front of his piano, posing from the waist up and facing the spectator; the work is signed Macedonio, 1923. This true-to-life portrait captured the firm, red-blooded and tenacious nature of the owner of the house. If one looks closely, one will notice a hole just above the heart; this was caused by a shot fired by a relative who, upon finding that the owner, with whom the aggressor had some type of argument, was not in, angrily shot at Daniel’s effigy as it looked on disdainfully. The other portrait, done in oil, was of Macedonio. An artist from Piura named Felpe Cossio del Pomar, who was a frequent visitor to “El Molino,” painted this work. The artist is standing in the painting and playing violin. As he had done on several occasions in the past, Macedonio retouched his hands in the painting, a reflection of his dissatisfaction with the painters´ “less than accurate” rendition of this part of his body.