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    Sale 12166

    Latin American Art

    25 - 26 May 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 22

    Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991)


    Price Realised  


    Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991)
    signed and dated 'Tamayo O-77' (lower right) titled and dated 'BIENVENIDA, 1977' (on the reverse)
    oil and sand on canvas
    76 1/4 x 51 in. (193.7 x 129.5 cm.)
    Painted in 1977.

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    We are grateful to art historian Juan Carlos Pereda for his assistance cataloguing this work.

    In a letter dated from the late 1920s from Rufino Tamayo to contemporary poet and man of letters, José Gorostiza, the artist wrote “Mi querido Pepe, Usted me escribe expresando cierta admiración que estoy muy lejos de merecer” (My dear Pepe, You write expressing a certain admiration of which I am far from deserving). In the same note, Tamayo expressed his dreams of going to Paris one day and finding a place where he would be happy although perhaps poor. Tamayo concluded his correspondence by urging his friend to write back soon.[1] Gorostiza, the author of the book The New School of Painting in Mexico (1939), supported Tamayo’s work and that of other artists at the time with great enthusiasm.[2] The letter was published in August 1991 in La Vuelta de los Días magazine in Mexico two months after the artist’s death. In that same issue of the journal, another celebrated cultural figure, artist Juan Soriano, was interviewed at length about his friendship with Tamayo. He could not recollect when and how they had actually met; how he often met up with the artist in Mexico or even in New York where Tamayo went out of his way to be a perfect host and toured him all over town, especially to Harlem; and, how strange that after all the years, he could not summon the details of their many conversations—but he conceded that between them a close friendship had transpired over the span of many years. Indeed, the late art critic and art historian Raquel Tibol personally recalled how few friends Tamayo seemed to have had but how deeply connected they were to the artist.

    Juan Carlos Pereda, art historian and noted expert on Tamayo’s work, notes that in Bienvenido or Bienvenida, Tamayo aesthetically pays homage to the meaning of fraternity and brotherhood expressed simply but nevertheless eloquently through the two sporting male figures who, are enveloped in an atmosphere of diaphanous luminosity.[3] Stylistically, the artist’s use of brilliant colors, mostly dazzling variations of the rich corn-yellow and grey, the color of the many temples that are part of the vast national patrimony of Tamayo’s ancient homeland, together with the architectural setting he has erected for his figures, endows the composition with a serene and unparalleled harmony. As the friends glance into the viewer’s space, they convey a feeling of welcoming as well. Noticeably, Tamayo also pays homage to his youth evoking a scene that shares affinities with the cubist masters he studied during those early days he spent away from home learning his craft as a painter but always evoking its eternal beauty, power and the colors he first discovered as a child. As yet another great Mexican literary figure José Corredor-Matheos has so succinctly affirmed about Tamayo’s palette: “The color is something living. Rather than being applied, it seems to come from within the picture.”

    Margarita Aguilar, Doctoral Candidate, The Graduate Center, New York.

    1 Raquel Tibol, the late art critic and art historian, recalls how the early letters from the artist to the noted poet are
    still part of the poet’s personal archives. It appeared in the Mexican journal La Vuelta de los Días on August 1991.
    2 Gorostiza’s book also included critical analysis of the works by artists Julio Castellanos, Jesús Guerrero Galván, Roberto Montenegro, and others.
    3 J. C. Pereda’s analysis of the present work.


    Marlborough Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist).
    Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 18 November 1987, lot 87 (illustrated in color).
    The Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection of Mexican Art.
    Gift from the above.

    Pre-Lot Text



    Exhibition catalogue, Marlborough Gallery, Rufino Tamayo Recent Paintings, 1977, p. 17, no. 21 (illustrated in color).
    J. Acha, "Introduction a l'ouvre de Rufino Tamayo", Vie des Arts, vol. XXVI, no. 106, Quebec, Spring 1983, p. 49 (illustrated).
    Rufino Tamayo: Addendum for Book 'Rufino Tamayo', Palm Springs, California, B. Lewin Galleries, 1983, p. 50 (illustrated in color).
    Exhibition catalogue, Rufino Tamayo Retrospectiva, Nagoya, Nagoya City Art Museum, 1993, p. 93, no. 68 (illustrated in color).
    Exhibition catalogue, Tamayo su idea del hombre, Mexico City, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo, 1999, p. 78, no. 44 (illustrated in color).
    Exhibition catalogue, Traslaciones España, México pintura y escultura 1977-2002, Madrid, Círculo de Bellas Artes, 2002, p. 103 (illustrated in color).


    New York, Marlborough Gallery, Rufino Tamayo, Recent Paintings, 18 November-30 December 1977, no. 21.
    Nagoya, Japan, Nagoya City Art Museum, Rufino Tamayo: Retrospectiva, 9 October-12 December 1993, no. 68. This exhibition also travelled to Kamakura, Japan, The Museum of Modern Art, 18 December 1993-5 February 1994, and Kyoto, Japan, 15 February-21 March 1994.
    Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mexican Masterpieces from the Bernard and Edith Lewin Collection, 23 November 1997-16 February 1998.
    Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, La colección Bernard y Edith Lewin del Museo de Arte del Condado de Los Angeles, Vivencias para ser mostradas, autobiografía de una coleccionista, 29 April-26 july 1998, no. 92.
    Mexico City, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Internacional Rufino Tamayo, Tamayo su idea del hombre, 26 August-31 October 1999, no. 44.
    Madrid, Círculo de Bellas Artes, Traslaciones España, México pintura y escultura 1977-2002, July-September 2002. This exhibition also travelled to Mexico City, Palacio Postal, November 2002-January 2003.