Lot 6
  • 6

Joaquín Torres-García (1874-1949)

400,000 - 600,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Joaquín Torres-García
  • Port constructif avec ciel bleu (Puerto constructivo con cielo azul)
  • signed upper left and dated 30 upper right
  • oil on canvas
  • 20 1/4 by 24 1/4 in.
  • 51.4 by 61.9 cm


Manolita Piña de Torres-García, Montevideo
Private Collection, New York
Galerie Denise René, New York
Royal S. Marks, New York
Sale: Sotheby's, New York, Nineteen Works by Joaquín Torres-García From the Estate of Royal S. Marks, November 23, 1992, lot 11, illustrated in color


Madrid, Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, April-May 1973; Barcelona, Museo de Arte Moderno, June 1973, Joaquín Torres-García, Exposición Antológica, no. 73, p. 6
New York, The Brooklyn Museum, 1977 (temporary loan)


Enric Jardí, Torres-García, Barcelona, 1973, no. 222, p. 167, illustrated in color; also illustrated in color on the cover
Eduardo Vernazza, "Los 99 años de Joaquín Torres-García. Exposición en el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Madrid," El Día, July 29, 1973, illustrated
Adolfo M. Maslach, Joaquín Torres-García, sol y luna del arcano, Caracas, 1998, no. 175, p. 349, illustrated

Catalogue Note

In 1930, art discussions in Parisian intellectual circles centered around three radical and powerful ideas of modernity: surrealism, abstraction and constructivism. By exploiting free visual associations and unconscious automatism inspired by Freud’s revolutionary insights, surrealism enriched the world of images. The much less popular abstract aesthetic despised such exercise as a mere artifice distracting from a more essential line of thought: to free pure color and form. After all, art was not to be inspired by the natural world or the vagaries of the human mind. Although strongly connected with the world of images--which he insistently attempted to reduce to basic geometric and symbolic values--Torres-García also flirted, briefly and brilliantly, with pure abstraction between 1929 and 1930.

Puerto constructivo con cielo azul is an extraordinary example of this profoundly fertile transitional period. It was then when Torres-García conceived his edifice as a bi-dimensional puzzle made of blocks of primary colors, blacks and whites much in the way he conceived his famous wooden toys. This reductive proposal reads like a continuum of interlocking geometric figures emerging and disappearing into the grid. Many of the symbolic figures recur in Torres-García's production: a clock symbolizing time and impermanence, ships representing adventure and discovery, an anchor suggesting safety and truth, a single man at work representing all of humanity fully integrated and in harmony with its environment. 

But even Torres-García himself was not entirely convinced abstraction could lead to the new art he had conceptualized. In Puerto constructivo con cielo azul, he furtively re-inserted a few elements of reality into a mainly abstract construction. The result is a masterly executed painting where carefully calibrated elements are consciously suspended between the opposing worlds of reality and abstraction. The present painting, once in the prestigious collection of Royal Marks, sold in these rooms in a white glove sale in November 1992.