In his oil paintings, Ángel Della Valle worked in pictorial genres such as portraiture and folk themes, showing the pampa, its people and customs. The painting Indios con tropilla y bueyes (Indians with Herd Drivers and Steer) handles an Indian theme in Creole style, produced as part of national history, once the native issue had ceased to be a threat. Finding refuge in these themes from the past as the central focus of national identity was the result of a fear that these customs might be dragged off by the other malón, the “white malón,” or immigration. Indians appear in this work to the left, driving a herd of horses in a vertiginous race from one side of the canvas to the other. In the foreground, the steer seem to follow a pace of their own. The rope around the first animal’s neck makes it evident that these are not wild horses, but booty. Perhaps the work is showing us the raider’s return at dawn, with the result of the theft, following a night of abuses. At any rate, while the theme is an important one, here it serves as an excuse for the artist to display his skill at representing animals and landscape. The countryside of the pampa plays the primary role.


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