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Rufino Tamayo

"One of the particularities of painting is that its future is always open to the indefinite."


Notes of biography

Rufino Tamayo was born in Oaxaca, Mexico in 1899. He is pure Zapotec Indian. An orphan, he emigrates to Mexico City in 1911. After having studied painting at night school, he enters the Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City in 1917, that he leaves after only a few months to teach himself. Nominated head of the design section of ethnography at the National Museum of Archeology in Mexico City, it is this position in which he will become aware of Mexican art.
In 1926, Tamayo moves to New York where he will live, off and on, for 20 years. He will take up important teaching posts in painting in his native country as well as in the United States. The artist participates, at the same time, in numerous national and international collective exhibitions. His first two solo exhibitions are organized in 1926 in Mexico City and New York. This will be the debut of numerous artistic events which he will from now on participate in, events that will see his art exhibited in the most well-known museums, Guggenheim Museum of New York, Reine Sofia in Madrid, Oslo, Mexico City, Paris, Tokyo, etc. He will win several very important prizes.
He meets the Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera who will influence his work. A famous artist, Rufino Tamayo is a muralist who ranked amongst the best – a specific national art - he clearly distinguishing himself from Diego Rivera, Siqueiros or Orozco.
He starts his graphic work in 1925, it is ample: lithographs, engravings, mixographs (where he combines the two previous techniques).
He disappears in 1991, Rufino Tamayo is one of the first Latin-American painters of international dimension. Tamayo worked by integrating pre-Columbian art with popular art of the plastic revolution that took place in Europe at the beginning of the century. After his death, a museum named after him was opened in his native town, grouping together a number of his works as well as some important pre-Columbian works.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • « Rufino Tamayo », Robert John Goldwater, Ed. The Quadrangle Press, 1947
  • « Rufino Tamayo », cat. d'expo., biennale Venise, Ed. Mexicana, Venise, 1968
  • « Rufino Tamayo » par E. Genauer, Harry N. Abrams Publishers, New York, 1974
  • « R. Tamayo, fifty years of his painting », Ed. Phillips Coll., Washington, D.C., 1978
  • « Myth and magic », R. Tamayo, Ed. Guggenheim Museum, 1979
  • « Rufino Tamayo » par J. Corredor-Matheos, Ediciones Polígrafa, Barcelone, 1987
  • « Los Murales de Tamayo » par J. C. Pereda, Landucci Arte Editores, Mexico, 1997
  • « Rufino Tamayo », Lassaigne et Paz, Ed. Cercle d'Art, 1998
  • « R. T., vuela con sus raices », E. Ramirez Castaneda, Dir. Gen. de Publicaciones, 1999
  • «Tamayo » par T. Del Conde, Ed. Bulfinch Press, Etats-Unis, 2002
To read from the artist :
  • « Rufino Tamayo : 70 ans de création », Musée d’Art contemporain, Mexico, 1968
  • « Rufino Tamayo », R. Tamayo, Ed. Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporaneo, 1995
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Art movements

+ SINGULAR ARTISTS / XXème siècle /
+ MURALISM / 1922-1960 / Diego Rivera, Fernando Leal, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, Juan O'Gorman, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover