The artistic roots of Axel Stein

The artistic roots of Axel Stein

Although he has been living far from Venezuela for more than 25 years, Axel Stein, advisor to the modern and contemporary Latin American art market, has not lost his roots. On the contrary, he remains closely linked to the cultural events of the country. He is currently an advisor to the Oswaldo Vigas Foundation and has the merit of being part of the team that carried out the catalog raisonné of Oswaldo Vigas, with the history of more than 3,000 works that allow us to support the authenticity of the pieces, in addition to being an essential input. for any research on the artist.

Another historic achievement for Venezuelan arts was the discovery of the first version of The Sick Child (1887) by Arturo Michelena (which won the Gold Medal at the Official Salon of French Artists in 1887) and The Electoral Visit (1886). . With detective tenacity, he followed the clues left by Rafael Romero and Juan Ignacio Parra when they organized an exhibition for the centenary of the death of Arturo Michelena.

The essay where Stein describes the process that brought Michelena's work from oblivion is included in the book A Vision. A collection. Una mujer, published by El Cardón, a subsidiary publishing company of his company Axel Stein Fine Arts (ASFA, LLC). Although the publication was baptized in Miami in 2022, the El Buscón bookstore and the Sala TAC took advantage of his recent visit to Caracas, in March 2024, to present it.

This publication shows 39 works from the collection of Leonor Giménez de Mendoza, and has the pen of Luis Pérez Oramas for the article about Reverón and his majas; Cecilia Fajardo Hill writes about the presence of women in the history of art, Polly Sartori about the salons of the 19th century (precisely where Arturo Michelena won the Gold Medal for The Sick Child), Jorge Rivas Pérez comments on a series of caste paintings Mexican, within the context of what is happening in Europe and Latin America with non-religious painting, and Roldán Esteva Grillet refers to Héctor Poleo as a modern classic. In our magazine you can read the essays by Sartori and Stein.

His agenda in Caracas included a talk at the Freites Gallery about the Latin American art market, at the invitation of AICA-Venezuela Chapter; as well as a guided tour of the Central University of Venezuela, led by Professor Rafael Pereira. In Margarita he learned about the ceramics of El Cercado through the Serpentina Foundation, and from his tourist stops he treasured flavors, such as hot chili and Venezuelan cocoa.

Caresse Lansberg: We would like you to tell us about the El Cardón publishing label. How it started, what projects are coming.

I founded Editorial El Cardón with the idea of honoring the memory of my grandfather, Enrique Bernardo Núñez (chronicler of Caracas and writer of the Generation of 1918). El Cardón was the pseudonym he used when he wrote in newspapers between the years 1930 and 1950. El Cardón became an emblematic plant of Venezuela, because it is the one that withstands the “palamentazón” of the sun and circumstances. Hence its symbolism.

The first book that I published was the compilation of my grandfather's narrative works, which are Cubagua, Tiberio's Gallery, and some stories, which are gathered in a book of more than 300 pages illustrated with drawings by Adrián Pujol, photographs by Don Alfredo Boulton, with maps, with 19th century 20th century photography. That edition was supervised by researcher Alejandro Bruzual, who analyzed the two novels, which are fundamental to 20th century Venezuelan literature.
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