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Rufino Tamayo’s early rupture with the muralist movement was more than a simple divergence. His mythical-poetic vision of national history, his concept of man as a universal entity, and his vocation for international integration inevitably distanced him from the local canons established by the so-called big three of Mexican muralism.

For the exercise of his mural painting, Rufino Tamayo created a symbolic system of images in which he decoded a new physiognomy of Mexico, its history and its inhabitants. It belongs more to the field of encrypted image and poetry than to the mimetic image of history and politics.

En apariencia otro México. Sketches for murals by Rufino Tamayo makes a brief account of a trajectory that broadened the horizons of muralism, modernized it and made it international. The exhibition displays some of the original sketches of the 20 murals that Tamayo made throughout his career, with which he updated and gave validity to the most important movement in the history of Mexican art. Some of these murals were not executed due to certain circumstances, while others have become icons of an essentially Mexican and modern art.

Tamayo’s murals are not only conceptually different, but also different in technique. After making three mural paintings with the classic fresco technique, whose forms are subordinated to the architecture of the places where they were made, Tamayo undertook a true revolution by painting his murals on canvases and mobile supports, giving them independence from the walls and spaces to which they were destined. These great paintings have the virtue of being transportable.

In the book Historia de la pintura mural en México, the writer Antonio Rodríguez included a text on Tamayo’s contributions to the muralist movement titled En apariencia otro México, which is the title of this exhibition.

In addition to the sketches of the murals, this exhibition includes eleven of the artist’s oil paintings that are now displayed in a room dedicated to his work. These are the paintings selected by the Tamayo family, as a sample of the most recent stage of the painter’s work, and which they decided to integrate into the museum’s collection. They cover a period of thirty years and among them are emblematic works such as Portrait of Olga, 1964, Watermelon, 1968 and The Great Galaxy from 1978.

On this occasion there is an addition of great importance, the unfinished canvas that Rufino Tamayo left on the work easel, and eloquently lets you glimpse the process of making his oil paintings.

Image: Sketch for the mural Nature and the artist, the work of art and the spectator. Done at Smith College, Massachusetts, 1942.

Museo Tamayo

Paseo de la Reforma 51

Bosque de Chapultepec 11580

Mexico City, Mexico


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