May 14, 2012

0207 URUGUAY - A living sculpture for a survivor

A gorgeous postcard, from a country less accessible, with a text carefully constructed, a special stamp and a clear postmark. Could exist for a collector a better beginning of the week? Of course not. And for this I must thank Fernando, one of the best swappers that I have met so far.

So: Uruguay, Punta del Este, Casa Pueblo. About the history of Uruguay (substantially different from that of the other countries in the region, be it about much more extensive Brazil and Argentina or about Paraguay) I will write when I receive a postcard with Colonia del Sacramento. Now I will mention only that Uruguay is home for 3.3 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area, that an estimated 88% of the population are of European ancestry, and that In 2009 Uruguay became the first nation of the world which provided to every school child a free laptop and internet.

Punta del Este is a resort town on the Atlantic Coast, located about 140km east of Montevideo. There are two types of coastlines in Punta del Este, Brava and Mansa, i.e. the end of the Río de la Plata on one side and the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. The city has much colonial architecture contrasting with more modern buildings, but its icon is Casa Pueblo, an artwork by the Uruguayan painter and sculptor Carlos Páez Vilaró, situated atop Punta Ballena (Whale Point). The artist began working on the project in 1958, and took 36 years to be completed. Fernando asks if it seems to me crazy. Not at all, pal. A lot of people spend their lives doing nothing, so to spend 36 years of life to bequeath such a masterpiece, is a victory.

Casa Pueblo, a homage to the artist's son, Carlitos Paez, one of the sixteen survivors of the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, is considered a "living sculpture". Built around a tin box called La Pionera (The Pioneer), it had as inspiration the Mediterranean coast houses from Santorini. Inside are many rooms facing the sea, a museum, an art gallery, and an hotel. The building also boasts sculptures, paintings and ceramics made by its creator.

About the stamp
The stamp is part of a large series of definitive (autoahesive), named Old crafts and designed by Carlos Menck Freire, of which I found on the Internet the following 14, issued between 2007 and 2010:
El manicero / the peanur seller ($1)
El turco: vendedor de baratijas / The turkisk: the seller of trinkets ($5)
El panadero / the baker ($5+2$)
El afilador / the knife grinder ($7)
El caramelero / the caramel Maker ($7)
El vendulero / the greengrocer ($8)
El pastero / the pastry cook ($8)
El organillero / the organist ($10)
El zapatero / the shoemaker ($10)
El cuarteador ($17) - it’s on the postcard
El vendedor de pescado / the fish seler ($25)
El peruquiero / the barber ($25)
El heladero / the ice cream man ($30)
El boticario / the druggist ($50)

As Fernando says, "the cuarteador was the one who handled a team of horses pulling a vehicle on rough roads (often to go up hills)".

sender: Fernando Grammaldo (direct swap)
sent from Montevideo (Uruguay), on 02.05.2012