Del Prete, Juan (1897–1987) By Berland , Rosa
While the legacy of Juan Del Prete (b. 1897, Vasto, Chieti, Italy; d. 1987, Buenos Aires) begins with the introduction of visual abstraction to Argentina through two exhibitions of his work in 1933 and 1934 (both at the Asociación Amigos del Arte in Buenos Aires), his oeuvre, which spans over forty years, is largely characterized by experimentation in a variety of modernist styles. Born in Italy, Del Prete immigrated to Argentina in 1909 and studied briefly at the Academia Perugino and Mutualidad de Estudiantes de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires, participating in the El Bermellón Group. Much of his early work was representational, and included landscapes like Nota campestre (1925). In 1926, Del Prete exhibited with the progressive organization Asociación Amigos del Arte, which awarded him a scholarship to study abroad in France (1929–1933). Del Prete was one of many Latin American artists living and working in Paris, and took part in a rich artistic exchange with Hans Arp, Massimo Campigli, Rachel Forner, Joaquín Torres García, Jean Hélion, and Georges Vantongerloo. Del Prete joined the Abstraction-Création group in 1932. In Paris, Del Prete exhibited with the Salon des Surindépendants (1930–1933), Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, Huit artistes du Rio de la Plata, Galerie Castelucho-Dianan and the Première Exposition du Groupe Latino-Americain de Paris (1930). Moreover, Gallery Zak held an exhibition of Del Prete’s work in 1930, as did Galerie Vavin in 1931. His work from this period includes colorful geometric compositions including Abstracción (1932).