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 Joaquin Torres-Garcia  (1874 - 1949)

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Lived/Active: New York / Spain/France/Uruguay      Known for: constructivist painting-geometric

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Joaquin Torres Garcia is primarily known as Joaquin Torres-Garcia

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, Joaquín Torres-García moved to Spain in 1891. In 1892 he studied at the School of Fine Arts and the Baixas Academy in Barcelona. He had his first individual exhibition in 1900 at the Salón la Vanguardia in Barcelona.

In 1903 and 1907 he painted murals for Gaudi's Church of the Sagrada Familia and made stained glass windows for the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca. He painted murals for the Uruguayan Pavilion at the Brussels International Expositions of 1909-1910. In 1920 he went to New York and exhibited with Stuart Davis.

He lived in Paris from 1924 to 1932, where he met Mondrian and Van Doesburg and founded the Cercle de Carré with Michel Seuphor.  In 1938 he completed the Cosmic Monument in Montevideo's Parque Rodó and published extensive works on his theories. He established the Taller Torres-García in 1944, where he trained a new generation of artists.

His work was featured in the 1992 exhibition at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C., crosscurrents of Modernism, Four Latin American Pioneers: Diego Rivera, Joaquín Torres-García, Wifredo Lam and Matta, and also in 1991 at the exhibition La Escuela del Sur: El Taller Torres-García y su legado, which originated at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía and later traveled to the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, Austin, the Museo de Monterrey, Mexico, the Art Museum of the Americas, OAS, Washington, D.C., the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and then the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico.

Source: Sotheby'

Biography from Art Museum of the Americas:
Torres-Garcia saw the function of the Latin American artist as one of recovering the ancestral dignity of the rich pre-Columbian tradition in order to create a uniquely South American art.  A pioneer of modernism, Torres-Garcia was born in Montevideo in 1874 of a Catalan father and Uruguayan mother.  His family moved to Spain in 1891 and settled in Barcelona.  Torres-Garcia studied at the Escuela Oficial de Bellas Artes de Barcelona (the "Llotja") and at the Academia Baixas.  By the end of the decade, he had become, along with Pablo Picasso and Julio Gonzalez, part of the bohemian milieu of the cafe Els Quatre Gats.

In 1903 Torres-Garcia assisted Antoni Gaudi with stained-glass windows for the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca and later with the windows for the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.  During this time the artist also executed various mural commissions and developed a style of pastoral and monumental classicism derived from that of Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.

The painting in this museum collection, Constructivist Composition 1943, is characteristic of the style of Constructive Universalism developed by pioneer artist Torres-Garcia.  It reflects the artist's passion, in his words, for "geometry, order, synthesis, construction and rhythm." A gridded ideogram-like structure, often based on the proportions of the Golden Section, is made up of compartment-like rectangles.  Within each cell there are different signs that have a strong linguistic quality and relate to autobiographical, mathematical, spiritual, or metaphysical concerns.  Within his fairly well defined repertory of signs and symbols, there are frequent references to the pre-Hispanic world including ideas about the relationship of man to the cosmos.

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