Rufino Tamayo, Mexican (1899-1991)
Born in Oaxaca of Zapotec parents, Rufino Tamayo moved to Mexico City at an early age. In 1916 he attended a commercial business school during the day and studied drawing at night. He later joined the San Carlos Academy in 1917 but would soon decide to work on his own.
His position in 1921 in the Department of Ethnographic Drawings at the National Museum of Archaeology acquainted him with the Pre-Columbian art of his country. Individual exhibitions of his works were held in Mexico City and in New York at the Weyhe Gallery in 1926. He would live in New York for the next 18 years.
His paintings focused on the human Figure, animals and the cosmos and resulted in a coloristic synthesis of form. In 1948 he had a retrospective at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and exhibited widely in South America, Europe and the United States. Tamayo won several awards including the Mexican National government prize in 1964. The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. held an individual exhibition of his work in 1978 which traveled to the Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1979 a major retrospective, Rufino Tamayo: Myth and Magic, was shown at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Rufino Tamayo’s paintings were also exhibited at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 1988 and in the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Berlin in 1990.
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