Alejandro Otero's monumental polychrome for the facade of the School of Architecture at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, in which the lighter of the gridded structure's two blues was intended to correspond with the hue of the Caracas sky, stands as a crucial work for understanding the particularities of Venezuelan modernism and modernity in the 1950s. In embracing color's industrialization while refusing to sever its natural referents, I argue that Otero's polychrome speaks to larger questions of the relation of raw materials and finished products, as well as nature and history, in a modernizing oil nation.

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