Lot 9
  • 9

Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991)

350,000 - 450,000 USD
370,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Rufino Tamayo
  • Mujer Voluptuosa (Still Life with Anthurium)
  • signed and dated O-53 lower right
  • oil and sand on masonite


Mr. & Mrs. Gary Cooper, Los Angeles
Property from the Los Angeles Count Museum of Art (Gift from the above)
Sale: Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, Modern Mexican Paintings, Drawings, Sculpture, and Prints, April 5, 1978, lot 80, illustrated in color
Acquired from the above
Thence by descent


São Paulo, Museo de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, 2ª Bienal Internacional de São Paulo, 1954
Mexico City, Salón de la Plástica Mexicana INBA, Gran Exposición de Pintura de Rufino Tamayo Laureado en la Bienal São Paulo, January 20-February 1954, no. 12
New York, Knoedler & Co., February 24-March 20, 1954; Beverly Hills, Frank Perls Gallery, May 24-June 26, 1954; Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Musem of Art, 1954; Tamayo, no. 14
Phoenix, Phoenix Art Museum, Rufino Tamayo, March 1968, no. 58, illustrated
New Orleans, Isaac Delgado Museum of Art, The Art of Ancient and Modern Latin America, September 1968, no. 323

Catalogue Note

In 1953, Rufino Tamayo was invited to participate in the second edition of the Biennial of Sao Paulo with a large sample of his work. Included in this selection was Mujer Voluptuosa, unanimously awarded the International Prize by the jury as recognition to the most distinguished contribution to the visual arts. 

Once removed, the painting was transferred to Mexico to celebrate such distinction with an exhibition at the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana. In the introduction to the exhibition catalog an essay by Octavio Paz reads: "The sun and moon, day and night, mechanical terror and almost animal joy of light, complementary enemy forces and governing the poetic universe of Rufino Tamayo."

Paz's words reveal key insights into a fuller appreciation of this work. Known by two titles: Voluptuous Woman and Still Life with anthurium, the present painting portrays a unique female nude executed in Tamayo's characteristic cube-futurist style of the 1950s. As with other works from this important period, synthetic forms permeated with erotic energy intersect each other to shape the body of a woman. The scene reveals with clear eloquence, the prodigious strength of female erotic instinct, its cosmic palpitations and tremors.  

In this daring and poetic image, the protagonist is possessed by the sun. As in classical mythology where Zeus possesses Danae through a shower of gold, here too the rays of the sun penetrate the body of this modern Venus, causing sensations that result in convulsive movements translated by Tamayo into plastic forms. Female ecstasy is equally expressed through powerful lines further complicating the body of the woman. As with the other classic genres of painting, Tamayo modernized the canonical female nude, unusually transforming its shape into a complex set of shimmering forms that endowed it with a sculptural appearance. 

Executed with new materials such as fast drying latex paint and synthetic supports such as masonite, Tamayo's artistry underscores his technical experimentation. Likewise, his abstraction of the human body, especially the female, seems to bestow upon it a new function: to communicate corporeal forces that are essential to female nature.  

Juan Carlos Pereda
October 2015