November 17, 2020 12:00 EST

Modern & Contemporary Art

 
  Lot 44
 
Lot 44 - Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)

44

Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)
Hombre con Mula

Signed and dated 40 bottom right, crayon, pencil and watercolor on paper.
13 13/16 x 16 3/4 in. (35.1 x 42.5cm)

Provenance: Private Collection, Virginia.

NOTE:
This lot has been registered in the Rufino Tamayo Archives under number 940-Go-52.

The scenes of daily life characterized by the Mexican Painting School present a certain narrative and highlight characters exalting specific civil and social values. This type of nationalistic art was denounced by Rufino Tamayo in a 1933 National School of Visual Arts conference. He spoke on "Nationalism and the Pictorial Movement," which was also published in the magazine Crisol in May 1933.

Tamayo argued that the most important Mexican artists, referring to Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, were concerned with "producing art that before any other quality, offers Mexican perspectives." Therefore the fundamental priority of painting is the inclusion of visual arguments against a customary order, leaving aside a solution for true, visual problems, which for him meant greater possibilities and changes, in order for his art to speak to universal values.

That stance meant that Tamayo had become a public enemy in the artistic and cultural realms, which sustained a nationalistic enthusiasm, which in turn caused a self-banishment in the United States for more than 15 years and for 10 more years in Europe. Nevertheless, the market for Tamayo's work, both in the U.S. and Mexico, solicited themes close to those the painter had denounced as superficial and anecdotal.

Man with a Mule is a piece that responds to this theme, but it has aesthetic values that paradoxically keeps Tamayo at a distance from art that is nationalistic and anecdotal. The scene is timeless, outside of a narrative context, the grouping presents an aspect that one can associate with a cinematic still. As with all of Tamayo's art, this composition stands for more than it describes. The colors are monochromatically sober, earth tones seen in paintings of the outdoors, and at the same time it evokes the ceramics of the everyday indigenous person. The aesthetics of the scene lie in the anatomic proportions of the indigenous person and the animal, which has a certain sterility and returns one to a kind of iconic Mexican, which nevertheless also possesses a sophisticated and elegant aesthetic.

Man with a Mule is a watercolor that, until now, has not been widely circulated, as these very attractive and coveted pieces immediately become part of treasured collections of private residences, without arriving in the hands of galleries, museums and publications. Its inclusion here represents an opportunity to be able to study and appreciate the broad vision which Tamayo brought to his paintings of countryside themes and aesthetics, which represents Mexico throughout many parts of the world. [As translated from the Spanish.]

- Juan Carlos Pereda, Museo Tamayo

Sold for $46,875
Estimated at $20,000 - $30,000


 

Signed and dated 40 bottom right, crayon, pencil and watercolor on paper.
13 13/16 x 16 3/4 in. (35.1 x 42.5cm)

Provenance: Private Collection, Virginia.

NOTE:
This lot has been registered in the Rufino Tamayo Archives under number 940-Go-52.

The scenes of daily life characterized by the Mexican Painting School present a certain narrative and highlight characters exalting specific civil and social values. This type of nationalistic art was denounced by Rufino Tamayo in a 1933 National School of Visual Arts conference. He spoke on "Nationalism and the Pictorial Movement," which was also published in the magazine Crisol in May 1933.

Tamayo argued that the most important Mexican artists, referring to Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, were concerned with "producing art that before any other quality, offers Mexican perspectives." Therefore the fundamental priority of painting is the inclusion of visual arguments against a customary order, leaving aside a solution for true, visual problems, which for him meant greater possibilities and changes, in order for his art to speak to universal values.

That stance meant that Tamayo had become a public enemy in the artistic and cultural realms, which sustained a nationalistic enthusiasm, which in turn caused a self-banishment in the United States for more than 15 years and for 10 more years in Europe. Nevertheless, the market for Tamayo's work, both in the U.S. and Mexico, solicited themes close to those the painter had denounced as superficial and anecdotal.

Man with a Mule is a piece that responds to this theme, but it has aesthetic values that paradoxically keeps Tamayo at a distance from art that is nationalistic and anecdotal. The scene is timeless, outside of a narrative context, the grouping presents an aspect that one can associate with a cinematic still. As with all of Tamayo's art, this composition stands for more than it describes. The colors are monochromatically sober, earth tones seen in paintings of the outdoors, and at the same time it evokes the ceramics of the everyday indigenous person. The aesthetics of the scene lie in the anatomic proportions of the indigenous person and the animal, which has a certain sterility and returns one to a kind of iconic Mexican, which nevertheless also possesses a sophisticated and elegant aesthetic.

Man with a Mule is a watercolor that, until now, has not been widely circulated, as these very attractive and coveted pieces immediately become part of treasured collections of private residences, without arriving in the hands of galleries, museums and publications. Its inclusion here represents an opportunity to be able to study and appreciate the broad vision which Tamayo brought to his paintings of countryside themes and aesthetics, which represents Mexico throughout many parts of the world. [As translated from the Spanish.]

- Juan Carlos Pereda, Museo Tamayo

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