Colson, Jaime (1901–1975) By Estevez, Lisandra
One of the founders of the modernist movement in twentieth-century Dominican art, Jaime Colson worked in a variety of media that included drawing and painting. While his style of representation underwent dramatic transformations that assimilated Impressionism, Cubism and Surrealism, his emphasis on the human figure was central to his oeuvre. The subject of the nude, relatively rare in Dominican art at that point in history, was one that Colson continuously re-interpreted throughout his prolific career. His eroticized representations of both the male and female body, as seen in his Figuras Metafisicas (Metaphysical Figures, 1930, oil on board, Museo Bellapart, Santo Domingo), fuse monumental forms with sensual colour and brushwork. Colson is best known for his development of ‘neohumanismo’ (or neohumanism) as he called it. Moreover, Colson introduced the criollo, a figure whose diverse origins are rooted in African, European and Amerindian culture, into modern Dominican art. In his celebrated Merengue (1938, oil on board, Museo Bellapart), Colson ‘speaks directly to a Caribbean sensitivity’ according to Sullivan (Sullivan, 1996, 22). The picture’s rhythmic composition is populated with figures drawn with strong contours and painted in a vibrant palette that illustrates the festive nature of this music and dance form that is strongly connected to Dominican identity.