Rufino Tamayo ( Mexican, 1899 - 1991 )

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General Description

Rufino Tamayo’s Desnudo (Nude) exemplifies the artist’s treatment of the painted female body. In this alternative to the modern, Western nude, Tamayo paints from the back a reclining female looking out toward a mountainous landscape. Just as the tonal and chromatic range of this painting is muted, the identity and location of the sitter is likewise obscured. The artist employs the aesthetic and iconography of the post-Revolutionary Mexican School, avoiding the controversial subject matter preferred by his contemporaries. Further, without marrying this scene to Mexico or Mexicanism, Tamayo teeters between portrait and landscape, interior and exterior, urban and rural, and domestic and exotic. One finds nuances of Mexico and its population in this modified salon nude and the heavy influence of the artist’s life in 20th-century Mexico.

Excerpt from

Erin Piñon, Label text, 2016.