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Two great videos on Tamayo One is Spanish One in English. Both worth watching.

Dos grandes vídeos en Tamayo Uno es el español uno en inglés. Tanto vale la pena verlo.

Rufino Tamayo (August 26, 1899 – June 24, 1991) was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences.

Rufino Tamayo, along with other muralists such as Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros represented the twentieth century, in their native country of Mexico. After the Mexican Revolution, Tamayo devoted himself to creating an identity in his work. Tamayo expressed what he believed was the traditional Mexico and did not create more overt political art like his contemporaries, such as José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, Oswaldo Guayasamin, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. He disagreed with these muralists in their belief that the revolution was necessary for the future of Mexico; Tamayo believed that since Mexicans began the revolution they were only going to get hurt by it. He expressed this belief in his painting, Children Playing with Fire (1947). In this image, Tamayo shows two individuals being burnt by a fire they have created, symbolizing the people in Mexico being hurt by its own choice. Tamayo claimed that Mexico is becoming and will continue to be hurt from a war it created. Tamayo claimed, “We are in a dangerous situation, and the danger is that man may be absorbed and destroyed by what he has created”. Due to his opinion, he was seen by some as a “traitor” to the political cause, and he felt he could not freely express his art, so in 1926, he decided to leave Mexico and move to New York. Prior to leaving, he organized a one-man show of his work in Mexico City, where he was noticed for his individuality. Tamayo returned to Mexico in 1929 to have another solo show, this time being met with high praise and media coverage.

Rufino Tamayo’s legacy in the history of art is truly found in Tamayo’s oeuvre of original graphic prints, in which Tamayo cultivated every technique. Rufino Tamayo’s graphic work was produced between 1925 and 1991 and includes the mediums of woodcuts, lithographs, etchings and Mixografia prints. With the help of Mexican painter and engineer Luis Remba, Tamayo expanded the technical and aesthetic possibilities of the graphic arts by developing a new medium, which they named “Mixografia”. The Mixografia technique is a unique fine art printing process that allows for the production of prints with three-dimensional texture. The technique not only registered the texture and volume of Rufino Tamayo’s design, but it also granted Tamayo the freedom to use any combination of solid materials in its creation. Rufino Tamayo was delighted with the Mixografia process, and Tamayo created some 80 original Mixographs. One of their most famous Mixografia was titled Dos Personajes Atacados por Perros (Two Characters Attacked by Dogs).

In 1935, Tamayo joined the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR). The LEAR was a place in which Mexican artists could express their beliefs through painting and writing towards the revolutionary war and governmental issues that were happening in México at the time. Although Tamayo did not agree with Siqueiros and Orozco, they were chosen along with four others to represent their art in the first American Artists’ Congress in New York. Now married, Rufino and Olga had planned on staying in New York for just a couple weeks while the event passed, however, they made New York their permanent home for the next decade and a half.

In 1948, his first major retrospective was done at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and while he was still controversial, his popularity was high. Still uncomfortable with the political differences and controversy, Tamayo and Olga moved to Paris in 1949, where he was welcomed by the artists of Europe. He remained in Paris for 10 years.

Tamayo is also known as someone who enjoyed portraying women in his paintings. In his early works, he portrayed many naked women, a subject which eventually disappeared in his later work. However, he also has many paintings of his wife Olga, in which he shows her struggles through color choices and facial expressions. A portrait which can help one see the struggles the two went through is seen in the painting Rufino and Olga, 1934. In this painting, both Olga and Rufino seem broken from past struggles.

Tamayo also painted murals, some of which are displayed inside Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes opera house in Mexico City, such as Nacimiento de la nacionalidad (Birth of the Nationality, 1952).


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