Biography. Part III

(1920 - 1930)
Marriage and Stay in Europe

The former members of the bohemian circle began to show the fruits of more mature efforts at the end of the 1920’s. Antenor Orrego was director of the newspaper El Norte, which had opened its doors in 1923. The head of the editorial office at this publication was Federico Esguerre, the head writer was José Agustín Haya de la Torre, and contributing writers included Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre and César Vallejo. Víctor Raul would go on to found the Peruvian chapter of APRA (Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana) in 1924 in Paris. In 1918, Macedonio had mounted an individual exhibition of his works and the poet Vallejo had published two noteworthy books: Los Heraldos Negros (1918) and Trilce (1922). Other poets, newspapermen and young artists visited this room and participated in its activities, including: Spelucín, Orrego, Manuel Seoane, Carlos Manuel Cox, Magda Portal, Carmen Rosa Rivadeneira, the violinist Manuel Tejada, Víctor Raúl and Agustín Haya de la Torre, José Eulogio Garrido and Carlos Manuel Porras. The bond the host shared with his guests was so tight that Daniel Hoyle became the first secretary of APRA in La Libertad, and was later captured and imprisoned in the Panóptico of Lima as a result of the APRA revolutionary movement in Trujillo and the assault on the O’Donovan barracks in 1932. This memorable cultural figure died in 1942.

During this intense decade, Macedonio affirmed his dedication to painting. Several other notable incidents took place at this time, including Macedonio´s marriage to Miss Adriana Romero Lozada Bello, daughter of Gustavo Romero Lozada and Lainez, in 1921. This was a bond between two truly artistic individuals given that Adriana, in addition to being one of the most beautiful women in Trujillo with her ivory complexion, large blue eyes and blond hair, was also a delicate and eminent pianist known for her renditions of pieces by Liszt, Chopin and particularly Mozart. Prior to the marriage, it was common to see the young violinist courting his pianist fiancée in front of the gated residence of the Romero Lozadas, located on Jirón Independencia- formerly calle de la Panadería- situated a few steps from the Plaza Mayor and next to the colonial cloister of “La Compañía,” which would eventually become home to the University of Trujillo.

After three years of restful home life at the house on la calle de Plateros, the couple would begin a new cosmopolitan and fertile phase marked by a move to Europe. This continent would be their home from 1924-1930. The first landscape paintings of the countryside in Trujillo, of the family haciendas in the sierra of La Libertad and some portraits, remnants of a bohemian, northern past, remained at the hacienda. Macedonio´s relatives and friends from this generation went on to vocations in politics, literature, journalism and philosophy. Several verses from César Vallejo chronicled the impromptu spiritual of joyous and tragic youths since past in the poem “Bajo los Alamos” (Under the Poplars), dedicated to José Eulogio Garrido. The first lines of this poem read:

"Like priestly imprisoned poets, the poplars of blood have fallen asleep.

On the hills, the flocks of Bethlehem chew arias of grass at sunset. ”

Or the first quartet of “Nostalgias Imperiales:”

“On the landscape of Mansiche twilight embroiders imperial nostalgia

and the race is wrought in my word, as it flows through my pores …”

Like Macedonio, Vallejo traveled to Lima and later on, in June of 1923, he set off to Europe never to return. Years later, he would meet up with his friend and fellow countryman, Macedonio, in Paris. Vallejo, swept away by memories of his homeland, murmured the following verse:

“What is she doing now, my Andean, sweet Rita of the wild rushes and the wild grape

now that Byzantium suffocates me, and my blood drowses like weak cognac, within me.”

Living Room at the rural home “El Molino” where literary and musical evenings were held. In the background, you can see the portrait of Macedonio de la Torre painted by Felipe Cossío del Pomar.

Macedonio tocando el violín

Macedonio made his long-awaited trip to Europe thanks to the tickets and modest pension provided by the government of President Augusto B. Leguía. The Old World that Macedonio found in 1924 was the same that had ended the XIXth century in the midst of a worldwide conflict that had lasted from 1914-1918. This continent had seen the dawning of the Russian Revolution in October of 1917, following a painful five-year battle that would open the doors to the overwhelming presence of the masses on a political scene; this scenario would eventually be shared by other tragic events: the rise of the German National Socialist Party, Italian fascism, and the misdirected governing classes in countries characterized by liberal economies and stammering political democracies. At the same time, iconoclastic, anti-establishment and combative currents, including dadaism, super-realism, expressionism, futurism, socialist realism, and cubism, amongst others, shook the art world.

Macedonio´s first stop was Germany, where he arrived in company of his wife Adriana and two of his children, both born in Trujillo: Gustavo, born on the hacienda “Las Quintanas”, in Mansiche, in 1922; and Zoilita, born in Trujillo in 1923. He took up residence in the city of Dresde, former capital of Saxon, located at the confluence of the Elba and Weisseritz rivers. Macedonio was witness to a splendorous time in the life of this historic city, which, some twenty years later, would suffer bombardments from allied planes during the Second World War; these attacks would destroy half of the city’s buildings, including its beautiful cathedral, palaces and part of the famous Gemäldegallerie, also known as the Museum of Ancient Paintings. In this city, Macedonio studied under Professor Henner. The artist also traveled throughout Germany, particularly Berlin and Munich, and experienced first hand the manifestations of German expressionistic tendencies and the works of those who had been influenced by French fauvism. In 1925, he left Dresde to meet up with his family in Genova, and made intense visits to the Ligur coast and Rome and Florence. On this trip, which lasted until 1926, Macedonio came into contact with the work of Italian impressionists and futurists and painted several canvasses with rural and seaside landscapes bathed in the light of the Mediterranean. From 1926 to 1927, Macedonio set up shop in Brussels and traveled around Belgium. He made sporadic visits to Paris, eventually settling there with his family from 1927-1930, a period briefly interrupted by Macedonio´s return to Peru in 1927. This trip lasted approximately four months and was spent between Lima and Trujillo; the artist also traveled to Puno and Cuzco during this period, and produced a mural painting that is still in place at the hacienda of Lucre, in Quispicanchi, in the province of Cuzco. His art developed alongside sudden changes in his family, including the birth of the couple’s third child in Brussels in 1926. This child, named Alberto, met with a tragic end after a fall left him paralytic until his death in Lima at the age of seven. While in Paris, the De la Torre-Romero family lived in Paris in a home located on the Rue de Vaugirard No 228, close to Montparnasse.