Painted at the inception of this new period in 1961, Hombre contains the aesthetic paradox so characteristic of Tamayo’s painting: the simultaneous representation of abundance and scarcity on canvas. His chosen palette of predominantly ceramic tones, enlivened with fragments of deep blues and fiery touches of reds are emblematic of Mexican crafts. The present painting also reveals Tamayo’s high regard for certain technical aspects used in Abstract Expressionism: a dizzying gestural brushwork and a vigorous graffito that ply the painted surface of the picture. The expressiveness of his textures, however, a resource employed by the painter since the forties—and whose use was strengthened during his stay in Paris where he met Jean Dubuffet—is further enhanced by his own experiments with coarse materials which he produced by mixing fresh pigment with sand.
Hombre conveys the origin of a synthetic period where the anatomy and physiognomy of Tamayo’s characters undergo a rigorous purification. Such economy of forms is surprisingly balanced with opulent Oaxacan color. Masterly achieved by the application of superimposed layers of subtle halftone glazes, Tamayo’s palette reveals his virtuosity as one of the greatest colorists of the twentieth century.
Juan Carlos Pereda, March 2016
We wish to thank Juan Carlos Pereda for his kind assistance in the cataloguing of this work.
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