Rufino Tamayo MMoCA Collects

Mexican, 1899-1991

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Rufino Tamayo. Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Rufino Tamayo, Demi poisson (Halved Fish), 1969, Lithograph.

Rufino Tamayo was one of the great Mexican painters of the twentieth century. Of Zapotec heritage, born of Indian parents in Oaxaca de Juàrez, he proudly wore his Mexican identity. Although appreciative of native Mexican art forms, Tamayo's artistic outlook was more informed by his passionate interest in European modernism. His true allegiance as an artist was to the international avant-garde. He did paint murals in Mexico, but he avoided the socialist and political commentaries that were at the core of the muralist and print movements of the 1920s and 1930s. There can be folk motifs and references to Mexican life in Tamayo's art, but his subjects are usually more universal.

Tamayo was given his first American exhibition in 1926 by the Weyhe Gallery in New York City. He moved to New York in 1936 and then to Paris in 1954, returning permanently to Mexico in 1964 after nearly three decades as an expatriate. The artist died in Mexico City at the age of ninety-two.

More Works by Rufino Tamayo in the MMoCA Collection

Pasteque #1

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Teaching Pages

Rufino Tamayo. Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Rufino Tamayo, Demi poisson, 1969, Lithograph, 22 ½ x 30 inches. Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Purchased through funds from the Brittingham Foundation and gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bolz. Art © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.