Rufino Tamayo, a visionary of Mexican modernism, fused European painting styles with Mexican folk motifs, creating a richly coloured and emotionally expressive oeuvre. If you’re seeking original Rufino Tamayo prints and editions for sale, or looking to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network's most in-demand pieces.

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Born in 1899, in Oaxaca, Mexico, Tamayo was of Zapotec heritage, an indigenous culture that significantly influenced his use of colour and form throughout his career. Orphaned at a young age, he moved to Mexico City where his talent was nurtured under his aunt who enrolled him at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas.

Tamayo's journey was defined by his commitment to exploring and refining his own vision, an endeavour that led him to distance himself from the overtly political art of his contemporaries such as Diego Rivera. Instead, he focused on creating a universal language in his art that could transcend regionalism and speak to a broader audience.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Tamayo's work evolved through periods marked by the blend of Cubism and Surrealism, with a distinctive palette inspired by the vibrant hues of Mexican culture. His paintings, often imbued with a haunting, introspective quality, featured simplified forms and a masterful use of textures.

Throughout the years, Tamayo's work garnered international acclaim. A pivotal period in his career was his time in New York during the 1930s and 40s, where his exposure to the burgeoning contemporary art scene further refined his style. This period saw the creation of major artworks that resonated with global audiences and solidified his reputation as a pioneer of modern Mexican art. His work was featured in prominent institutions around the world, and he was the recipient of prestigious awards, including the National Prize for Arts and Sciences in Fine Arts from Mexico. Tamayo's legacy endures through his innovative approach to merging traditional Mexican motifs with modernist techniques, creating a dialogue between indigenous identities and universal themes.

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