Rufino Tamayo, Man with Tall Hat (Hombre con sombrero alto), c. 1930, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art, Art © Tamayo Heirs/Mexico/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, photo © Museum Associates/LACMA.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents Rufino Tamayo: Innovation and Experimentation. Rufino Tamayo (1899–1991) was a leading Mexican artist of the 20th century who achieved international acclaim. Though he was known primarily for his paintings and murals, he also created a robust body of works on paper, which provided an important avenue for formal and technical innovation. Drawn exclusively from LACMA’s holdings, the exhibition highlights Tamayo’s engagement with printmaking and also includes a selection of Mesoamerican sculpture (an important source of inspiration for the artist) from the museum’s collection.
Rufino Tamayo (1899 –1991) was a leading Mexican artist of the 20th century who achieved international acclaim. Though he was known primarily for his paintings and murals, he also created a robust body of works on paper, which provided an important avenue for formal and technical innovation. Drawn exclusively from LACMA’s holdings, th e exhibition highlights Tamayo’s engagement with printmaking and also includes a selection of Mesoamerican sculpture (an important source of inspiration for the artist) from the museum’s collection.
About the Exhibition
Tamayo is perhaps best known as a painter and muralist; however, he was also deeply interested in experimenting with prints and finding a way to add volume and texture to a traditionally two -dimensional medium. A unifying thread i n the exhi bition is Tamayo’s depictions of the human figure, which became progressively more abstract as he developed what he described as a universal art. Drawn exclusively from LACMA’s collection, the exhibition features 20 works on paper by Tamayo — including two watercolors and 18 prints —and five Mesoamerican sculptures. Tamayo actively collected art from the ancient Americas. He amassed more than 1,300 Mesoamerican works, which now belong to the Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo in Oaxaca.
The exhibition features five comparable objects from LACMA’s collection , demonstrating the artist’s fascination with this material throughout his long career. An introductory gallery provides a brief overview of Tamayo’s career, beginning with early wood cuts from the 1920s and extending to his large mural size print
Two Personages Attacked by Dogs (1983) . The w orks in this section highlight his relationship with the Mexican mural movement, his Zapotec heritage, and his initial engagement with printmaking. A small selection of Mesoamerican figurines, similar to those that were a source of formal inspiration for Tamayo’s art, are also featured. The following galleries feature etchings , lithographs , and Mixografía prints (a new mixed process that allowed the artist to introduce volume and texture to his prints) created in the 1960s –80s .
Throughout his career, Tamayo created over 350 prints, collaborating with workshops in the United States, Mexico, and Europe as he achie ved increasing international acclaim. H e developed a relationship with Los Angeles, first through a residency at Tamarind Lithography Workshop and later through the Taller de Gráfica Mexicana, which relocated from Mexico City to Los Angeles as the Mixograf ía Workshop Gallery in the early 1980s. Works in these galleries focus on his exploration of various print processes, leading to his collaboration with the Taller de Gráfica Mexicana and the development of the Mixografía technique . Digital photographs and a video projection provide a behind- the -scenes look at the making of Tamayo’s Mixografía prints. A final gallery will be dedicated to the student installation creat ed in collaboration between Char les White Elementary School students and Raul Baltazar.
Spanning over 60 years of his prolific career, Rufino Tamayo: Innovation and Experimentation focuses on Tamayo’s