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The Other Borges

A Painting by the Younger Sister of Jorge Luis Borges

I was reading a radio interview by Osvaldo Ferrari with the late Jorge Luis Borges, when the subject came up of the writer’s sister, Leonor Fanny “Norah” Borges Acevedp (1901-1998):

FERRARI: As for your relationship with painting, Borges, we mustn’t forget that you’re the brother of a painter.

BORGES: Of a great painter, I think, eh? Although I don’t know if the word ‘great’ adds anything to the word ‘painter.’ Brother of a painter, let’s say. Now, as she explores subjects like angels, gardens, angels who are musicians in gardens …

FERRARI: Like the painting of the Annunciation, for example, which has the city of Adrogué in the background, which is in your house.

BORGES: Yes, which she wanted to destroy.

FERRARI: How dreadful.

BORGES: No, it’s because she thinks that she was still very clumsy, that she couldn’t paint when she made it. Well, what I know is that she sketches the plan of each painting and then she paints it. That is, the people who’ve described it as a naive painting are completely wrong. But art critics, of course, their profession is to get things wrong, I’d say … or all critics.

Woman Playing a Guitar, Painted by Norah Borges

Before one raising the issue of the blind writer as an art critic, let me say that Borges lost his vision in the mid 1950s, so he is talking of painters from his memories of thirty or more years ago. There is also a book I have of Borges’s film criticism, which also dates from before the onset of his blindness.

Because Borges and his writings have been so influential in my life, I am deeply interested in works produced by his family. For instance, Borges’s mother, Leonor Acevedo, collaborated with her son on a number of translations from the English.

Norah Borges

The work of Norah Borges is known and exhibited in South America.

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