RUFINO TAMAYO (1899-1991)
RUFINO TAMAYO (1899-1991)
RUFINO TAMAYO (1899-1991)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more PROPERTY FROM A NEW JERSEY COLLECTION
RUFINO TAMAYO (1899-1991)

Hombre sacando la lengua

RUFINO TAMAYO (1899-1991)
Hombre sacando la lengua
signed and dated 'Tamayo, O-67' (lower right)
oil and sand on canvas
39 5/8 x 31 ¾ in. (100.7 x 80.7 cm.)
Painted in 1967.
Private collection, Mexico City (acquired directly from the artist).
Anon. sale; Christie's, New York, 28 May 1998, lot 38.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
O. Paz and J. Lassaigne, Rufino Tamayo, New York, 1982, no. 110 (illustrated, p. 152).
M. Rivera Velázquez and C. Somorrostro, Tamayo, Producciones Gráficas, Mexico City, 1983 (illustrated).
J. Corredor-Matheos, Tamayo, New York, 1987, no. 65 (illustrated).
Venice, Dirección de Relaciones Culturales de la Secretara de Relaciones Exteriores del Gobierno de México, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, XXXIV Venice Biennale, Salón de Honor para Rufino Tamayo, June-October 1968.
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, Rufino Tamayo, March-April 1975, no. 25 (illustrated).
Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art; Hachi and Hyogo, Homenaje al Maestro Rufino Tamayo, April-July 1976.
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rufino Tamayo: Myth and Magic, May 1979, no. 78 (illustrated, p. 103).
Paris, Petit Palais; Leningrad, The Hermitage, México Ayer y Hoy (Rostro Antiguo y Contemporáneo de México), November 1981-February 1982.
Madrid, Centro de Arte Reina Sofa, Rufino Tamayo: 70 Años de Creación (Homenaje al Artista Mexicano Rufino Tamayo), June-September 1988, no. 56 (illustrated).
Special notice
On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.
Further details
We are grateful to Prof. Juan Carlos Pereda at the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City for his assistance in cataloguing this work.

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Kristen France
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Lot Essay

I am interested in Man,” Tamayo once declared. “Man is my subject, Man who is the creator of all scientific and technological wonders. To me that is the most important thing in existence” (“A Commentary by the Artist,” Tamayo, exh. cat., Phoenix Art Museum, 1968, p. 4). Archetypal figures, Tamayo’s men encode cosmic dualities: life and death, past and future, myth and memory. They are at once universal and distinctively local, inscribed within national and indigenous traditions, and delightfully human: they laugh and they cry, and they even stick out their tongues in playful defiance of the world around them. “Tamayo’s man is burdened with sadness, or is bursting with happiness,” art historian Paul Westheim has observed. “His suffering springs from inside himself, from his questions that have no answer, from his anxiety in trying to understand the incomprehensible, from his own humanity that isolates him in a world greedy for money, for power, for success” (Tamayo: A Study in Esthetics, Mexico City, 1957, p. 22 and 25). By the late 1960s, Tamayo himself enjoyed immense international prestige, serving as an emissary of modern Mexican painting abroad and assuming new prominence in the cultural life of Mexico City and his native Oaxaca. A major retrospective opened at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in December 1967, and the following year Tamayo’s paintings—Hombre sacando la lengua among them—were featured in the Mexican Pavilion at the XXXIV Venice Biennale.
Tamayo’s paintings and murals from this period distill diverse transatlantic sources, drawing from postwar existentialism and indigenous aesthetics in their renderings of paradigmatic men and women, his most enduring subjects. His figures became increasingly simplified during the 1950s and 1960s, their features effaced in ways that suggest their vaunted universalism and that further acknowledge precedents in pre-Hispanic art, which he had begun to collect. “Our great plastic traditions are peculiar to my country because they have a sense of proportion which is native to this country,” Tamayo explained. “Their coloring is peculiar to this country; so, they are for me the real roots of a Mexican School.” Mexico’s indigenous past materialized in resonances of form and color, Tamayo insisted, rather than in subject matter. “The plastic problem interests me more than anything else,” he continued. “I am trying more and more to express the essence of things, and to do so, I am limiting my palette as much as possible and simplifying and restricting shapes. . . . What is important is the structure of the figure. And it is the same with the colors” (“A Commentary by the Artist,” Tamayo, exh. cat., Phoenix Art Museum, 1968, pp. 3-4).
Hombre sacando la lengua encapsulates the essential, humanist values of Tamayo’s painting. The figure’s tongue—flaming red—wags while his head tilts upward, his face and body framed by complementary patches of red and green alongside accents of purple. A femur bone, outlined in red, hovers above, serving here as a memento mori, a subtle reminder of the transience and fragility of life. “Tamayo’s painting preserves the festive, gay, dramatic, sometimes even tragic character that marks every communal event in Mexico,” reflected critic José Corredor-Matheos. “The ritual character and extraordinary equilibrium that we find in his pictures and in his whole oeuvre are closely bound up with the life of his people. . . . This is festive painting, because for Tamayo the world is a sacred feast. There is joy and drama, as I have said before, and also, on the artist’s part, an enjoyment of painting. Frequently we can even guess that he is amusing himself” (Tamayo, New York, 1987, p. 17 and 19).
Abby McEwen, Assistant Professor, University of Maryland, College Park

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