3 of 6 return

Joaquín Torres-García - 50th Commemorative Exhibition 1999 Summer



Joaquín Torres-García - 1874–949

A Retrospective Exhibition of Works on Paper Commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of His Death

The selection contains works on paper never before exhibited such as his 1930 Constructivist self-portrait. From the years he lived in Barcelona, the exhibit includes a large 1901 pencil drawing and two rare 1917 inks that are early examples of his unique Constructivist style.

Torres-García's New York years (1920-1922) were influenced by American popular illustration and cartoons, as is evident in works like WAKE ME UP! and the Jazz Pianist.

His distinctive Pictographs of the late 1920s & 1930s, when he was living in Paris, are given an extensive presentation, including a striking drawing with the image of the Eiffel Tower fused into a grid. Two series of sequential sketchbook pages of 1928-29 are a visual illustration of the development of forms and ideas.

Several drawings and his handwritten ideographic books show Torres-Garcia's use of Indo-American imagery and words.

Relying on the intimate nature of drawings, the exhibition includes carefully selected works that provide the viewer with a unique opportunity to a fuller appreciation of the contribution Torres-García made to the art of our century.



Johnson Review - Courtesy of The New York Times (2 July, 1999)

Joaquín Torres-García

b. 1874 Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1949 Montevideo, Uruguay

When Torres-García arrived in Montevideo on April 30, 1934 after forty-three years of absence, Torres-García told the press that he had returned to his native country of Uruguay in order to "develop a wide range of activities, to lecture, to teach courses, to achieve... on walls what I have already achieved on canvas,... to create in Montevideo a movement that will surpass the art of Paris."  These lofty ambitions were achieved through the creation of his world famous workshop, the Taller Torres-García, where he taught his theory of Universal Constructivism to future generations of Latin American artists.

Before returning to Uruguay, Torres-García had arrived at the concept of Universal Constructivism after a long development during which his painting evolved from Mediterranean classicism through periods of Vibrationism, Cubism, and Fauvism.  A truly global artist, Torres-García lived in Spain, New York, Italy, and Paris, where his theories and aesthetic style culminated into his characteristic incorporation of symbols located in a geometric grid based on the golden section. 

The uniqueness of Torres' proposal consisted of his incorporation of essential elements of indigenous American art into the basic principles of European constructivism and geometric abstraction.  Today, he is recognized as a canonical figure in both Latin American and modern art in general, with works in prestigious public and private collections worldwide.

An online catalogue raisonné, which includes comprehensive information about Torres-García’s art, exhibition history, and literary references, as well as a chronology with documentary materials related to the artist’s life and career, is available online at www.torresgarcia.com


Please click for Chronology and CV