Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)
sheet: 22 x 18 in. (55.9 x 45.7 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Museum, Anonymous Gift 
Accession Number:
© D.R. Rufino Tamayo / Herederos / México / 2012 Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A.C. 
Not on View

Oaxacan–born and of Zapotec descent, Rufino Tamayo incorporated both his Mexican and Pre-Columbian heritages into his oeuvre. Unlike the output of his well-known countrymen—Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros—Tamayo’s work was not politically charged but was instead concerned with the formal and the decorative. Much to the dismay of his peers, he embraced the idioms of European surrealism and cubism. References to the cosmos permeate his paintings, prints and sculpture, as does figural subject matter, drawn from the schematic, masklike faces of Mexican folk art and Pre-Columbian sculpture. While he was internationally recognized for his vibrant works on canvas, during his expansive seven-decade career Tamayo was also a dedicated printmaker, highly interested in every step of the process, including making his own paper.

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