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 Francisco Toledo  (1940 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas/New York / Mexico      Known for: fantasy animal and people painting

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Ad Code: 1
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from Auction House Records.
Vaca roja
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Biography from Art Cellar Exchange:
Throughout his career, Francisco Toledo, born 1940, was dedicated to promoting and defending the arts and culture of his birthplace, Oaxaca, Mexico. From a very early age, Toledo's artistic talent and abilities were recognized. He studied art in Oaxaca during his youth and as a young man moved to Paris to continue his studies. While residing in France he traveled throughout Europe where he saw and was influenced by the work of many artists, including Paul Klee and Jean Dubuffet. However, unlike these European artists, Francisco Toledo's work never became completely abstract.

After a five-year stint in Paris, Toledo returned to Mexico with many lessons under his belt. Following his stay abroad, Toledo was able to draw upon his European experiences and encounters in his artistic production while simultaneously imbuing his work with his Mexican heritage and life. This combination of influences resulted in the development of a unique ideological and aesthetic perspective in his art.

Upon his return to Mexico, Francisco Toledo began promoting and protecting the arts and crafts of Oaxaca with an intense vigor. He was very concerned about social and cultural state of his birthplace and this became evident in his body of work. Toledo's artistic production manifested itself in a number of media, including pottery, sculpture, weaving, graphic arts and painting. Throughout his production, Toledo consciously imbued his art with symbols and references to Mexican heritage, history and mythology.

From early on in his career, Francisco Toledo was considered an independent painter. He did not involve himself with the nationalistic themes that were so pervasive among the artists of the Mexican School (i.e. Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siquieros). Rather, Toledo was associated with the group known as la Raptura. La Raptura was a movement in Mexican art in the late 50s and 60s in which painters and sculptors broke away from depicting the bright, folkloric scenes or subjects tied to Mexican history and the Mexican Revolution. Although he was associated with this group, Francisco Toledo has always maintained his fundamental character as an autonomous painter.

One of the most pervasive themes in Toledo's paintings is animals. He presents animals as part of a symbiotic relationship between the painter and the rural indigenous world. He believes in a world where all men, like the flora and fauna that surrounds them, are fundamental to the understanding of the universe. Many of the animals that he has painted appear mythical and appear to have come from prehistoric worlds. In reality, his images have their origin in the experiences of his youth in Oaxaca. As a result of the relationship between his canvases and his homeland, Toledo's compositions often adopt a tonality similar to that of the arid landscape of Oaxaca. "Mujer-Caballo" and "Mujer-Pajaro" are both definitive examples of these phenomena in Toledo's oeuvre.

--Gretchen Van Camp
Latin American Art
Art Cellar Exchange

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