Tag Archives: Colombia

Paul Beer, 1936

Indio Motilone, Río de Oro, Colombia, 1936.

Indio Motilone, Río de Oro, Colombia, 1936.

We finally get a chance to post about Colombia…

We just acquired in Paris an unusual Paul Beer photograph. A hand-coloured gelatin silver print, it is signed, and dated “1936”.

We have been building for the last four years an important collection of Paul Beer’s ethnographic photographs, all of them dated from 1938 to 1939. The DiGiovanni-Beer expedition of 1937-1938 in the Colombian Amazonia and along the Orinoco river is well documented, and reproduced extensively in the few books about his work (notably in Paul Beer, la Silueta ediciones, Bogota, 2009). Beer made a second trip to the Amazon thought to be around 1940-1942, without DiGiovanni and with less resources; however, there are no dated documents to corroborate the exact dates of this exhibition. To our knowledge few images prior to 1938 are known…

Paul Beer arrived in Colombia in 1928. Little is known about is life and works until 1938.

The Rio de Oro, a tributary of the Catatumbo, runs in North-eastern Colombia, close to the Venezuelan border. The Motilone people, also know as Bari, inhabit the Catatumbo basin on both sides of the border. There is no mention of a trip to that area of Colombia by Paul Beer.

This photograph of the Motilone indian is very important when looking at Beer’s photographic work not only because of the date but because most of his ethnological work consisted on documenting the life of the Guahibo indians; taking portraits of them and photographing their customs, houses, and landscapes of the region (including the flora and rivers).

Paul Beer - Indio Guahibo, Tuparro (Vichada)

Indio Guahibo, Tuparro (Vichada), c. 1939.

Paul Beer - Indio Guahibo tomando moñoco - Vichada, c. 1939.

Indio Guahibo tomando moñoco – Vichada, c. 1939.