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
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and CVInés Bancalari
b. 1946 Buenos Aires, Argentina - lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Drawing inspiration from diverse sources ranging from the stained glass windows of Chartes Cathedral to Andean textiles, Inés Bancalari's artistic background is truly international.
The artist graduated as valedictorian with a professor's degree in painting from the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón in Buenos Aires, and studied under Aurelio Macchi and Luis Barragán. She also worked with Robert Beverly Hale and Frank Mason at the Art Students League in New York. Her extensive travels and experiences have profoundly impacted her approach to art.
Although Bancalari's early works were primarily representational, her career shifted towards abstraction in the 1980s. For almost two decades, the color red dominated her brightly colored geometric canvases and collages, however, in recent years she has begun to work in soft pastels. These new large scale works seem to evoke textiles through their layered planes of superimposed colors.
Artworks by Bancalari have been featured in group and solo exhibitions in the Americas as well as in Europe. In addition to pursuing her own artistic career, for many years Bancalari has also taught art from her studio in Buenos Aires.
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and CVJulio Alpuy
b. 1919, Cerro Chato, Uruguay - d. 2009, New York City
Growing up in the Uruguayan countryside with little exposure to art, Alpuy first began drawing at the age of twenty. Within a year, the young artist met Joaquín Torres-García. Inspired by the master's theories of universal constructivism, Alpuy joined the Taller Torres- García, and is today recognized as one of the Taller's most important members.
In 1944, Alpuy contributed two murals as part of the Taller's project to decorate the St. Bois hospital in Uruguay; he would continue to create murals throughout his career. Encouraged by Torres-García, Alpuy and other Taller members travelled to the Andean region of South America in 1945; this experience, along with other periods of travel during the 1950s in South America, Europe, and the Middle East profoundly affected the themes and structural composition of his art.
In 1961, Alpuy emigrated to New York, where he remained for the duration of his life. Alpuy's art has been featured in numerous exhibitions about the Taller Torres-García, as well as in several international one-person exhibitions. His works are included in major international collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; The Morgan Library and Museum, New York; The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection, New York; and Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay.
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and CVLidya Buzio
b. 1948, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 2014, Greenport, New York
A unique talent in the world of ceramics, Buzio learned to create, form, and shape clay sculptures from the master ceramicist José Collell, based on ancient Amerindian practices. Buzio continued to work within this same method, cutting earthenware slabs into geometric shapes, and then combining these cylinders, cones, and hemispheres to form the body of her sculptures. Using special pigments which she mixed herself, the artist drew and painted directly onto her unfired works. Before firing, Buzio burnished her pieces; this step serves to fuse the paint into the clay and results in the unique luminosity and distinctive hues that characterize her artworks.
After moving to New York in the early 70s', Buzio's pictorial vocabulary shifted to reflect her new urban surroundings, inspiring her to create her New York Cityscapes, with their evocative rooflines, cast iron architecture, and water towers. Her last series of abstract geometric designs executed in bright primary colors, represented a new direction in her practice.
Buzio's ceramics are found in the Brooklyn Museum New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; the Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin; the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; the Honolulu Academy of Art, Hawaii; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the National Museum of History and the Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan. Buzio’s work is also included in several other international museums and private collections.
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and CVGonzalo Fonseca
b. 1922 Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1997 Seravezza, Italy
In 1942, Fonseca quit his architectural studies in order to pursue an artistic career. Working under the direction of Joaquín Torres-García, Fonseca joined the artist's workshop, where he participated in the group's collective exhibitions. In 1945 Fonseca traveled with other Taller Torres-García members through Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia to study pre-Columbian art. This experience, along with numerous trips throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa during the 1950s, profoundly affected Fonseca's formal and theoretical approach to art.
Although Fonseca left the College of Architecture in Montevideo as a youth, an emphasis on structure and architectonics is present throughout his oeuvre. As a teenager, he taught himself to sculpt in stone and later returned to such sculptural practices after studying ceramics in Spain in 1953. Fonseca moved to the United States in 1958, and later divided his time between New York and Italy, where he created large-scale marble sculptures.
Artworks by Fonseca are included at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museo Municipale, Pietrasanta, Italy; and the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, among other collections. The artist's works are also featured in numerous public spaces around the globe, including Tokyo; Palo Alto, California; New York; Reston, Virginia; and Montevideo.
Please click for CVJosé Gurvich
b. 1927, Lithuania – d. 1974 New York City
Populated with figures and images that reflect his Jewish upbringing, his participation with the Taller Torres-García, and his profound admiration for the European art masters Breughel and Bosch, Gurvich's artworks combine a unique personal style with technical mastery.
The child of Jewish immigrants, the artist was born in Lithuania and moved to Uruguay with his family in 1932. There, Gurvich excelled at both music and the visual arts, and it was while studying the violin alongside Horacio Torres that the young artist was introduced to Horacio's father, Joaquín Torres-García. Soon after, Gurvich joined the Taller Torres-García, participating in the workshop's exhibitions, writing for its publications, executing mural projects, and teaching. Gurvich's role at the Taller later influenced the creation of his own workshop, the Taller Montevideo, where he taught the next generation of Uruguayan artists.
In 1954 and again in 1964, the artist travelled to Europe and Israel, where he lived as a shepherd on the Ramot Menasche kibbutz. These experiences profoundly influenced the iconography of his paintings and sculptures. Moving to the United States in 1970, Gurvich joined his fellow Taller Torres-García artists Julio Alpuy, Horacio Torres, and Gonzalo Fonseca in New York City, where he continued to produce art until his premature death in 1974.
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and CVMarta Chilindron
b. 1951, Buenos Aires, Argentina – lives in New York City since 1969
From her early veristic paintings to her contemporary sculptural installations, Chilindron has always created art which explores perspectival, temporal, and spatial relationships.
In the 1990s, the artist began experimenting with furniture forms, altering their shapes to reflect her point of view in relation to physical space. From these works emerged Chilindron's collapsible sculptures, which can be opened and closed to alternate between flat, abstract compositions, and fully three-dimensional forms.
Since 2000, the artist has worked in transparent and color acrylics, creating manipulable, malleable, and interactional objects that change in both shape and color. In 2010, Chilindron was invited to create a public installation as part of the Fokus Lodz Biennale in Poland, and her sculptures were featured as a special project at the Museum of Latin American Art (MoLAA) in Long Beach, California in 2013. Her most recent solo exhibition at The Great Hall Exhibitions at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts, featured a variety of her sculptures including Cube 48 Orange and Green Pyramid. This exhibition focused on the contrasting aesthetic styles of the artist’s minimalist work and the decorated interior to draw forth dialogues on their shared considerations: construction, proportionality, and visitor interaction.
Chilindron's artworks are included in the collections of the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; El Museo del Barrio, NYC; the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), Miami, FL; Banco do Spiritu Santo, Portugal; the State University of New York (SUNY), Old Westbury, NY; Fonds D’Art Contemporain de Ville de Geneve, Switzerland, as well as numerous international private collections.
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and CVFrancisco Matto
b. 1911, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995, Montevideo, Uruguay
A founding member of the Taller Torres-García, Matto studied painting as a child before meeting Joaquín Torres-García, the atelier's founder in 1939. Following this encounter and encouraged by the creative environment at the Taller, Matto's artistic production shifted from his early Surrealist-influenced work to paintings and sculptures with markedly orthogonal compositions; these works were often executed on humble material supports such as cardboard and found wood pieces.
At the age of 21, Matto traveled to Tierra del Fuego and acquired the first Pre-Columbian pieces of what was to become a major collection and an important influence on his art. In 1962, Matto opened his collection of Amerindian art to the public. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art housed ceramics, textiles and sculpture from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela.
The Central Bank of Uruguay commissioned Matto to design a silver coin for the F.A.O. (United Nations Organization for Agriculture and Food). It was in circulation in 1969 and won the first prize from the Gesellschaft für Internationale Geldgeschichte, an international numismatic association based in Frankfurt, Germany.
In 1982, Matto was invited to participate in the First International Meeting for Open Air Sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay. He made a U shaped form sculpture in cement placed next to the beach.
His recent exhibitions include "Francisco Matto: Exposição Monográfica," 6a Bienal do Mercosur, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2007; "Francisco Matto: The Modern and Mythic," The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, 2009; “Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection," The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas, 2012-2013. His work has also been included in group exhibitions in Paris, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Moscow, Tokyo, New York, and throughout Latin America.
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and CVManuel Pailós
b. 1918 Galicia, Spain - d. 2004 Montevideo, Uruguay
The child of Spanish immigrants, Pailós studied painting at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Montevideo before joining the Taller Torres-Garcia in 1943. Profoundly influenced by the pedagogy and theories of the workshop's founder, Joaquín Torres-García, Pailós was an important contributing member of the Taller throughout its existence, working as both a student and eventually a teacher.
In addition to his drawing and painting production, Pailós executed sculptures in wood, granite, and other materials, and many of his reliefs and free-standing sculptures now grace parks and plazas in Montevideo.
Works by Pailós have been exhibited extensively throughout Latin America, and in 1991 the artist was honored by the Spanish regional government of Galicia with a museum exhibition and sculpture commission for the gardens at the University of Santiago de Compostela.
Please click for CVMaría Freire
b. 1917, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 2015, Montevideo, Uruguay
María Freire is one of the Southern Cone's most productive and engaged, if also one of the least-known, artists working in the Constructivist tradition. Freire trained at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Montevideo from 1938 to 1943, studying under José Cuneo and Severino Pose and at the Universidad del Trabajo under Antonio Pose. Her first sculptures indicate the profound influence of African art on her work, something of an anomaly for an artist in South America at that time. In the early 1950s, after meeting her future husband, the artist José Pedro Costigliolo, her art became more influenced by European non-figurative art, such as Art Concret group, Georges Vantongerloo, and Max Bill. In 1952 she co-founded the Arte No-Figurativo group with Costigliolo in Montevideo, and exhibited with them in 1952 and 1953. Freire exhibited regularly in the National Salons from 1953 to 1972. In 1953 Freire and Costigliolo were invited to the 2nd Sao Paulo Biennial, where they came into contact with Brazil's enthusiasm for geometric abstraction. In 1957 Freire and Costigliolo won the “Gallinal” travel grant which they used to live and study in Paris and Amsterdam, and to travel throughout Europe until 1960, meeting many of the historical pioneers of abstract art, including Antoine Pevsner and Georges Vantongerloo. In 1959 they exhibited in Brussels, at the Galerie Contemporain. She was invited again to the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1957 and the XXXIII Venice Biennale in 1966.
Freire developed her work within a strict, yet variable formal vocabulary, often switching between periods of greater or lesser degrees of abstraction. Her series Sudamérica, worked on from 1958 to 1960, employed cut planes and polygonal forms in a reduced palette. Freire taught drawing in an Architecture Prep School and wrote art criticism for the journal “Acción” from 1962 to 1973. Around 1960, she began to experiment with looser forms of abstraction, and a more expressive range of colors, resulting in her series Capricorn and Cordoba, 1965-1975, and later on she would create volumetric disturbances by dividing the surface with repeated forms or by creating chromatic modulation sequences in her series Variantes y Vibrantes, 1975-1985. In 2000, she began to produce large-scale public sculpture in Uruguay.
Please click for CVHéctor Ragni
b. 1897 Buenos Aires, Argentina - d. 1952, Montevideo, Uruguay
Ragni´s family moved to Montevideo in 1915 where Héctor continued his art studies and activities. In 1918, Ragni sailed for Europe, living in Barcelona and returning to Uruguay after ten years abroad. In 1934, Ragni met Torres-García and joined the Asociación de Arte Constructivo. Active in the artistic and cultural movements of the time and a participant in the numerous exhibitions of the AAC and later the Taller Torres-García, Ragni had a strong graphic sense coupled with superb technical mastery. His line drawings are highly coveted as there are few canvases extant.
Please click for CVAntonio Llorens
b. 1920, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995 Montevideo, Uruguay
Antonio Llorens was a student at the Círculo de Bellas Artes, Montevideo and became a member of the MADÍ group during the 1940s. Also a founder of the Uruguayan Group of Abstract Art, his work was in numerous exhibitions of the MADÍ group including the important 1958 Parisian MADÍ International, Groupe Argentine at the Galerie Denis René; the 1961 15 Years of MADÍ Art, Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires; Vanguardias de la década de los 40, Arte MADÍ Perceptismo, Museo Sivori, Buenos Aires in 1980; the 2001 Abstract Art From the Rio de la Plata, 1930s to 1950, Americas Society, New York and Tamayo Museum, Mexico City.
Llorens was an influential proponent of geometric and abstract art in Uruguay. He was commissioned to paint public and private murals, taught from 1962 to 1972 at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Montevideo, and in 1987 was awarded the National Prize Pintura INCA in Montevideo. Llorens work is in the prestigious Blaquier Collection, the Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires, the Cisneros Collection in Caracas, Venezuela, and the CIFO collection in Miami, among others.
Please click for CVAugusto Torres
b. 1913 Tarrasa, Spain - d. 1992 Barcelona, Spain
The eldest son of Joaquín Torres-García, Augusto was an active participant in his father's artistic life. Growing up primarily in Italy and France, the young artist met many of the great figures of twentieth century art, including Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Joan Miró. During the 1930s, while living in Paris with his family, Augusto was the apprentice of the sculptor Julio González and studied drawing in Amedée Ozenfant’s academy. Introduced to North African and American Indian art by the painter Jean Hélion, it was also in Paris that the artist developed his lifelong passion for tribal and primitive art.
After Torres-García brought his family to Uruguay in 1934, Augusto participated in all the activities of his father’s teaching atelier, the Taller Torres-García. One of the Taller's most well known students, Augusto later went on become a teacher himself, instructing subsequent generations of artists. Throughout his life, Augusto traveled widely, including two years living in New York. From 1973 on, he divided his time between Barcelona and Montevideo.
The art of Augusto has been displayed internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, and his work is included in the collections of such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Miró Foundation, Barcelona; and the Museo Torres-García, Montevideo.
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and CVLeón Ferrari
b. 1920, Buenos Aires, Argentina – d. 2013, Buenos Aires
Recognized for his unique oeuvre which blends art with politics, drawing with sculpture, and concept with form, Ferrari is today regarded as one of the most important Latin American artists of the second half of the twentieth century.
Although he began his career in Argentina pursuing parallel interests in art and engineering (an influence which can be observed in the structural emphasis of much of his art), Ferrari first started exhibiting ceramic sculptures in the 1950s. From this point of origin, Ferrari's artistic experiments expanded over the decades to include film, drawings, found objects, and hanging sculptures in materials ranging from wire to bones.
Despite the diversity of his artwork, a fascination for language - as a means of communication, as a visual form, and as a metaphor - has permeated Ferrari's career. This is perhaps best observed in Ferrari's written drawings, which take their departure from written script.
A world renowned artist, Ferrari's work is included in major museum collections including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY; the Casa de las Americas, Havana; Daros Latin America, Zurich; and the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The artist received the prestigious Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Biennale in 2007. In 2009, Ferrari's work was shown in New York's Museum of Modern Art exhibition, Tangled Alphabets.
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and CVCésar Paternosto
b. 1931 La Plata, Argentina – lives in Segovia, Spain
After beginning his career working in an informalist mode, followed by a brief period of lyrical figuration, Paternosto first created artworks based on Geometric Abstraction in the early 1960s. By the end of this decade, his formal and theoretical explorations led the artist to push beyond the very boundaries of the medium of painting. Leaving the surface of the canvas blank, Paternosto shifted the emphasis of his artworks to their outer edges, converting his paintings into objects, and rebelling against the inherited tradition of only viewing paintings frontally. Since this breakthrough, he has remained on the vanguard of abstraction in both New York, where he lived for over four decades, and Latin America.
In addition to his career as a painter, Paternosto has studied Pre-Columbian art with academic rigor. This expertise has
not only influenced his artistic practices, but has also led him to assume scholarly and curatorial roles, including the international exhibition, Abstraction: The Amerindian Paradigm. In 2005, the artist moved to Segovia, Spain, where, just a year prior, a major retrospective of his work had been on view at the Esteban Vicente Museum of Contemporary Art. Paintings by Paternosto are found in various prestigious collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; the Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland; and the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Germany, amongst others.
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