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Prominent Chilean artist's Chinese odyssey celebrated

By Lin Qi | China Daily | Updated: 2023-10-24 06:08

Jose Venturelli shows his print to artist Li Keran in Beijing in the 1950s. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chile is almost as far as it is possible to get from China. When in March 1952, a Chilean artist named Jose Venturelli (1924-88) arrived to attend an international conference, the journey linked him closely to a country on the other side of the world from his own, and spurred him to expand exchanges between China, Chile and Latin America, until the final moments of his life.

Pioneering the friendship between the two countries, Venturelli traveled to China on a number of occasions, making art, teaching and exhibiting. He helped introduce the foremost trends in painting in Europe to artists and students in China, and in the Chilean capital, Santiago, he co-founded the Chilean-Chinese Cultural Institute with Pablo Neruda and Salvador Allende, and promoted visits by South American cultural figures to China.

A sketch by Jose Venturelli, made while the artist was in China. [Photo provided to China Daily]

While living in Beijing (where he would eventually die), Venturelli and his family took dozens of photos of Chinese artists and intellectuals, and documented the social scene of the 1950s.

A selection of these photos, along with some of the drawings he made in China, are now on show at Chile y China (Chile and China), an exhibition marking Venturelli's contributions to exchanges between the two countries. It is being held at the National Art Museum of China until Tuesday, and items on show are from the collection of the Jose Venturelli Foundation.

Among the guests at the opening ceremony on Oct 16 was Chilean President Gabriel Boric, who led the delegation attending the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

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