Woodcuts of Buenos Aires: Urban and Industrial Scenes


These woodcuts were created for a social realist novel about the underworld of Buenos Aires of the early 1920s, Historia de Arrabal by Manuel Gálvez. This novel tells a story of prostitution, low life, and intrigue among the working classes of the city at a time when it was expanding very quickly through European immigration. The scenes of the novel take place mostly in the port region known as La Boca and the poverty-stricken district of Isla Maciel. These are just a few of the seventy woodcuts that Adolfo Bellocq made to illustrate this novel. Small in format, they are nevertheless vivid compositions that show the artist's realist eye, skill with the medium, and aptitude for rendering light and dark.

Adolfo Bellocq was one of Argentina's greatest printmakers. He made many works of social criticism in the 1920s and 1930s, blending influences from Kathe Kollwitz and Frans Masereel to the contemporary reality of Argentina. He also illustrated many works of Argentine literature, such as El Matadero (The Slaughterhouse) and Martin Fierro.

Index of the Images