Martes 11 de Junio 2024

Commemorating: Rufino Tamayo, the Mexican Vanguard

In Cúpula, we want to honor the visual artists who have shaped the national artistic landscape. We start with one of the most globally recognized Mexican painters, who passed away on June 24, 1991

Créditos: Rufino Tamayo is a globally Recognized Mexican Artist. Photos: Courtesy of INBAL.
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One of Mexico's most renowned painters, Rufino Tamayo skillfully blended national heritage and pre-Hispanic art with international avant-garde movements. Born on August 26, 1899, in Oaxaca, Tamayo created over 1,300 oil paintings, including 20 portraits of his wife Olga, with whom he shared 57 years of marriage. Additionally, he produced 465 graphic works, such as lithographs and mixographs, 350 drawings, 20 murals, and a stained glass piece.

His murals adorn prestigious locations such as the Palacio de Bellas Artes, the National Museum of Anthropology, and the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico, as well as the Dallas Museum of Cine Arts, the University of Puerto Rico Library, and the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

According to critics, Tamayo was a painter deeply rooted in Mexican culture, yet his work transcended mere depiction of folk or indigenous scenes. He embraced his heritage while engaging in dialogue with the international avant-garde. During a 1956 interview, he said, "My feeling is Mexican, my color is Mexican, my forms are Mexican, but my concept is a mixture (...) Being Mexican, drawing from the tradition of my land, while simultaneously receiving from the world and giving to the world as much as possible: this is my creed as an international Mexican."

Credits: Photos Courtesy of INBAL

Xavier Villaurrutia remarked that Tamayo "composes not by accumulation, but by selection, unafraid of empty spaces which, in his case, are never voids. Thanks to each significant brushstroke, color continues to resonate within them, offering visual delight and enveloping the figures in the painting with an atmosphere and a complex, poetic duration."

Tamayo, who passed away in Mexico City on June 24, 1991, received numerous accolades. He was awarded the National Prize for Sciences and Arts, bestowed with honorary doctorates by universities including Manila, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Berkeley, the University of Southern California, and Veracruzana, and named a Knight of the Legion of Honor of France.

For the full text, please refer to the Cúpula segment of El Heraldo de México.