Lot 56
  • 56

Joaquín Torres-García (1874-1949)

500,000 - 700,000 USD
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  • Joaquín Torres-García
  • Arte constructivo con sol y estrella
  • signed lower right and dated 48 lower left
  • oil on board
  • 35 1/2 by 35 in.
  • 90 by 89 cm


Estate of the artist
Andrè Emmerich Gallery, NY
Galería René Metras, Barcelona
Galería Barbié, Barcelona
Private Collection, Barcelona
Private Collection, Spain
Galería Mayoral, Barcelona


Austin, The University of Texas at Austin, University Art Museum, Joaquín Torres-García, December 1, 1971- January 16 1972, no. 47
Madrid, Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, April-May 1973; Barcelona, Museo de Arte Moderno, June, 1973, Exposición Antológica Torres-García, no. 2, p. 121, illustrated
Barcelona, Galería Dau al Set, Torres-García (1874-1949): Exposición Homenaje Centenario de su Nacimiento, February 1974, no. 16, illustrated
Madrid, Galería Biosca, Exposición J. Torres-García, June 5-28, 1974, no. 39
Madrid, Galería Ruíz-Castillo, Torres-García, Período Constructivista, October, 1978


Enric Jardí, Joaquín Torres-García, Barcelona, 1973, no. 383, p. 263, illustrated
El Arte del Siglo XX 1900-1949, Barcelona, illustrated 
Julieta Grosso, “El espíritu de Torres- García recreado en una gran muestra,” September 29, 1998, illustrated 
Luis Pérez -Oramas, Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Model, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2015, p. 206, illustrated in color


This work is in very good condition. The board on which it was originally painted has been adhered to canvas and stretched onto a stretcher. This is a successful method of supporting this work. The painting has probably not been cleaned, and it may respond to careful cleaning. It seems that the only retouching that may have been applied are two vertical lines in the ochre color about 1 inch from the upper left edge. No restorations are apparent in the remainder of the picture. (This condition report has been provided courtesy of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.)
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

In Torres-García's aesthetics, structural order was geometric: “Geometry and symbolism must be the two supports or pillars of plastic art. The artist’s natural means of expression are geometric, as geometry is the graphic language of reason, and symbolic, because the symbol is a graphic idea.”(1) 

Painted in Montevideo in 1948, Arte constructivo con sol y estrella summarizes Torres-García's life-long philosophical ideals. Boldly graphic and executed in primary red, blue, black, white and ochre, the painting underscores his fundamental belief that constructivist art exceeds mere aestheticism because it is grounded on a holistic vision of art making. According to this integrated, universal notion, structures in his composition assume context not by superficial references to reality but by moral meaning.

“The elements of a painting must not be grouped solely by reason of their plastic harmony, but must also obey a moral ordering. This philosophical criterion, this moral sense, must be converted by the artist to symbol and then the abstract will become the form, the artist’s means of expression.” (2) 

A key source to deciphering Torres-García's complex iconography is his Monumento cósmico (Cosmic Monument) of 1938 where he registers the majority of his graphic symbols in accordance to three fundamental planes: the intellectual plane (governed by the sign of the triangle), the emotional or magnetic plane (governed by a heart sign) and the physical plane (governed by the sign of a fish). According to these subdivisions, the Pythagorean star depicted in the present painting are attributes of intellectual cosmology and a symbol of the “unity of the spirit.” 

Radiating from within itself, the present work was executed one year prior to Torres-Garcia’s death. A proud testament to his belief in the power of a universal art, Arte constructivo con sol y estrella is an outstanding composition that materializes the artists’s endless faith in the human spirit. 

(1) Joaquín Torres-García, “Del Esoterismo en el arte”, 1932 (unpublished manuscript)
(2) Joaquín Torres García, Notes sobre art, Gerona, 1913, p. 7