Biography of Salvador Efraín o "Salarrué" Salazar Arrué (1899-1975)

Poet, Narrator, playwright, painter, sculptor and Salvadoran music composer, born in Sonsonate on October 22, 1899, and died in San Salvador on November 27, 1975. Although his full name was Salvador Efraín Salazar Arrué, he/she chose a combination of their two last names to sign all his creations under the pseudonym of "Salarrué". Its versatile artist status ended up giving a universal recognition that makes it one of the most outstanding figures of the Salvadoran literary and artistic panorama of the 20th century.


With only eight years of age he/she settled, in the company of his family, in San Salvador, where the young Salvador Efraín began to show clear signs of her innate literary vocation. Without receiving another bookish formation than the acquired through his own readings, he/she made a generous self-taught effort that allowed him to publish his early collaborations at the astonishing age of ten years. These first texts of "Salarrué" saw the light between the pages of the prestigious journal of El Salvador (1895-1932), Rotary that at that time the fertile Nicaraguan poet directed Román Mayorga Rivas, one of the discoverers of the many talents that Salvador treasured.

In his youth, "Salarrué" was completing their education in the Liceo Salvadoreño, the National Institute and the Academy of Commerce. In those years, at the time progressing in his particular discovery of universal literature, the young Salvador Efraín enrolled in painting and drawing school directed by the master greco-ruso Spiro Rossolimo, who trained the future artist (and his cousin who would then succeed as a cartoonist under the name of Toño Salazar) on the first Visual arts techniques. Turned, then, to artistic creation, Salvador Efraín won a scholarship to further his studies at the Corcoran School of Art, of Washington D. C., in the United States of America. There, in the famous Inn completo Gallery, when he/she had just turned the twenty years of age (1919), he/she managed to "Salarrué" hang up his first solo exhibition.

Returning to El Salvador, he/she married the artist Zelie Lardé and began to provide labour services in the Red Cross. However, he/she managed to maintain assiduous collaborations in different media of his country, experience that helped him to be engaged, in 1928, as editor in Chief of the newspaper Patria, another splendid Rotary El Salvador, directed by Alberto Masferrer and Alberto Trigueros war, writers paid great attention to the development of contemporary literature. Thus, "Salarrué" could publish in homeland numerous articles along with their first stories, then regrouped under the common name of tales of boys. Its active presence in all the media of their country remained constant until the end of his days, so in the current Central American newspaper archives is easy to find not only journalistic and written literary articles of "Salarrué", but also a lot of artwork that was leaving scattered through the pages of the main newspapers and magazines of geo-cultural scope. Among these means that counted with the collaboration of "Salarrué", it is obliged to quote literary and artistic magazines for all, spiral, Germinal, Cactus, Amatl (founded by the own writer in 1939, and directed by himself), compass, synthesis, and culture and University life, and rotating the Salvadoran newspapers, want and Diario Latino.

Naturally, this constant presence at the apex of the American intelligentsia led him to be appointed to numerous cultural institutions, as well as to assume relevant public offices at the service of the Salvadoran administration. Member of the society of friends of art (1935-1939), for several years he/she worked as cultural attaché of the diplomatic delegation in the United States of America, and participated actively in the education conference organized by the University of Michigan in July 1941. After a long period of intense dedication to plastic creation, in 1963 he/she held the position of Director General of fine arts, and in 1967 he/she founded, in the famous parque Cuscatlán, the National Gallery of art (now known as national exhibition hall), whose leadership was taken over by the own "Salarrué". By then he/she was already considered one of the greatest artists and Salvadoran writers of all time, and enjoyed the unanimous recognition not only of his countrymen, but also many people followed with interest the evolution of the arts and literature in Hispano-American wide. Thus, in 1967 was the subject of an emotional tribute paid by the Salvadoran Government, and three years later received a similar award promoted by the national library. But it ceased its tireless public work in the service of their fellow citizens, and from 1973 until the day of his death (as happened during the night of November 27, 1975) he/she worked as cultural Advisor to the Cabinet of the Director General of culture, Carlos de Sola.

Plastic work

After initial exposures referred to in previous paragraphs, Salvador Efraín Salazar Arrué triumphed development as an artist in May 1947, following an exhibition of his paintings at Knoedler Galleries New York. The following year he/she returned to shine with their own light in the exhibition held in San Francisco (in the U.S. State of California), and in 1949 it conquered back to New York, the public and the critics after a solo show of his oils, watercolors and drawings hung in The Barbizon Plaza Galleries.

In his native country, in 1958 organized an extraordinary exhibition of pictorial and sculptural work at the Hotel El Salvador Sheraton, and decided to settle permanently among his countrymen, settled in the Planes de Renderos, where began to prepare other magna exhibition of his painting, this time consisting of sixty-two paintings that had composed during his stay in the United States of America. The sample was opened in April 1961, in Gallery form. Two years later, he/she returned to visit the United States to celebrate there an exhibition of forty-three works, that could be admired in the Centre the Salvador-Estados United (now called Salvadoran Cultural Centre)

Literary creation

In his role as a literary creator, "Salarrué" availed of their fertile artistic versatility to grow almost all literary genres that have been in vogue throughout the 20th century, although greatly highlighted by its expertise in the construction of short stories. His interest in mixing, within various thematic records of his work, references to the reality that develops Central American rural life with other fictional elements that apparently have nothing to do with the reality (like the Eastern esotericism or arguments most characteristic of science fiction), makes "Salarrué" one of the pioneers in the intuition of the main currents of magical realism where would flowa few years later, the huge flow of Spanish-American narrative. Why are regarded not only as one of the greatest Salvadoran writers of all time, but also as one of the greatest exponents of the development of the literature written in English during the 20th century.

His real breakthrough in the literary landscape of El Salvador took place in 1926, when his novel titled the black Christ won first prize in a prestigious national competition. The following year he/she returned to the shop windows of bookstores with another narrative delivery, the novel the Lord of the bubble, and subsequently published or ' Yarkandal (1929), tracing the Uluan (1932), Cuentos de barro (1933), conjectures in the penumbra (1934), that and more (1940) and tales of boys (1945, and reissued in complete edition in 1961). In 1947 he/she returned to demonstrate his mastery of the narrative in a new literary contest, this time thanks to his story entitled "Toccata and Fugue", which was awarded an honorable mention in the international competition of short stories "Alfonso Hernández Catá", held in Cuba.

The rest of his literary output consists of the following titles: trammel (1954), sword and other stories (1960), the thirst of Sling (1971), Catleya luna (1974), and world nomasito (1975). In addition, between 1969 and 1970, at the behest of the Publisher of the University of El Salvador, the poet and Narrator El Salvador Hugo Lindo was prolong the two volumes of the selected works of "Salarrué", who intervened directly in the selection of texts and appointed to the aforementioned cute as prologue. It could not be end to this hasty review of literary texts of Salvador Efraín Salazar Arrué without mentioning some of the works he/she left unpublished at the time of his death. Among them, the dramatic pieces entitled the resurrection of the minimum, the chain and the tree of life, and the thirst poems, cycle and the instant horse; In addition, it is worth recalling that left numerous articles and stories without being picked up in any of their collective titles, scattered in many national and international magazines and newspapers.

The importance of the literary work of "Salarrué" is well patent - aside from the indisputable quality of his prose, and the force of his poetic word - on the interest that has elicited beyond the territorial limits of Salvadoran. Some of his books have been published in such distant countries such as Chile, Cuba and Russia, and the United Nations Organization for education, science and culture organization (UNESCO) has universally diffused several works of "Salarrué" through their scarcity and files publishing projects.

Moreover, it is worth to recommend editions illustrated by the author himself, his wife, Zelie Lardé, by his daughter Maya or by his friend and collaborator, the excellent Salvadoran painter José Mejía Vides.


RODS-DINARTE, Carlos. School dictionary of Salvadoran authors (San Salvador: National Council for culture and art [CONCULTURA], Directorate of publications and printed materials, 1998).

ESCOBAR GALINDO, David (ed. lit.). Anthology index of poetry in El Salvador (San Salvador: UCA Editores, 1982).

GUILLÉN, Orlando. Men like dawns: the poetry of El Salvador (Barcelona: Anthropos, 1985).

J. R. Fernández Cano.