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Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899-1991)


Rufino Tamayo was a Mexican painter and lived from August 26, 1899 to June 24, 1991. He was born in Oaxaca de Juárez with Zapotec heritage. Tamayo was active during the mid 20th century and was known in Mexico as well as New York. His work focused on figurative abstraction with influence from former surrealist painters. Rufino Tamayo was a self-taught artist and believed in showing what he stood for in his paintings. After the Mexican Revolution he devoted his art to depicting the traditional Mexico; this was to show that he believed that the revolution was not necessary and that it would only harm Mexico. One of his most famous pieces is "Women of Tehuantepec" which simply depicts women from Mexico, but it is very simple and does not focus on the details of the faces or the surroundings.

Although he got his start in Mexico, he truly began to shine from 1937-1949 during his stay in New York. He gained his credibility after his show at the Valentine Gallery. His painting "Lion and Horse" was one of his most famous paintings he created during his time in New York. Tamayo and his wife moved back to Mexico in 1959 permanently. Rufino Tamayo was not only known for his paintings, he was also known for his sculptures and printmaking as well. Tamayo painted his last painting in 1989 at the age of 90. Taymayo's work will continue to be displayed in museums all over the world.

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