Lot 14
  • 14

JOAQUÍN TORRES-GARCÍA | Constructivo en blanco y negro (Inti)

2,000,000 - 3,000,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Joaquín Torres-García
  • Constructivo en blanco y negro (Inti) 
  • Signed with initials J.T.G and dated 38 (lower left)
  • Tempera on cardboard mounted on board
  • 31 7/8 by 40 in.
  • 81 by 102 cm
  • Painted in 1938.


Estate of the artist

Manolita Piña de Torres-García, Montevideo (acquired from the above)

Horacio Torres, Montevideo (acquired from the above)

Royal S. Marks, New York (acquired from the estate of the above and sold: Sotheby's, New York, November 20, 1989, lot 6)

Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich (acquired at the above sale)

Acquired from the above in 2006


Montevideo, Museo Torres-García, 1959, no. 29 

Montevideo, Comisión Nacional de Bellas Artes, Torres-García: Colección Privada de Montevideo, 1962, no. 2

Buenos Aires, Instituto Torcuato Di Tella Centro de Artes Visuales, Joaquín Torres-García: Obras de museos y colecciones particulares de Montevideo y Buenos Aires, 1964, no. 6, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Montevideo, Amigos del Arte, Arte Constructivo: Joaquín Torres-García, 1965, no. 2

Houston, Meredith Long and Company & New York, Meredith Long Contemporary, Works by Joaquín Torres-García 1874-1949, 1977, no. 12, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Caracas, Museo de Bellas Artes, Joaquín Torres-García y su visión constructiva, 1980, no. 12, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Mexico City, Museo de Arte Moderno & Monterrey, Museo de Monterrey, Exposición del gran pintor uruguayo Joaquín Torres-García (1874-1949), 1981, no. 16, illustrated in color in the catalogue & on the cover 

London, Hayward Gallery; Dusseldorf, Stadtische Kunsthalle; Barcelona, Fundació Joan Miró; Miami, Center for the Fine Arts & Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Torres-García: Grid-Pattern-Sign: Paris-Montevideo 1924-1944, 1985-87, no. 92, illustrated in color in the catalogue

New York, Kouros Gallery, Torres-García and his Legacy, 1986, n.n.

Paris, Musée d'art moderne de la ville de Paris & Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Le Siècle de Picasso, 1987-88, no. 60

Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía & Valencia, Institut Valencià d'Art Modern Centre Julio González, 1991, J. Torres-García, no. 94, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Cologne, Museum Ludwig, Kunstwelten im Dialog, von Gaugin zur globalen Gegenwart, 1999-2000, no. 171, illustrated in color in the catalogue

New York, El Museo del Barrio, Nexus New York: Latin/American Artist in Modern Metropolis, 2009-10, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue & on the cover

New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Madrid, Fundación Telefónica & Málaga, Museo Picasso, Joaquín Torres-García: The Arcadian Modern, 2016-17, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue  New York, Acquavella Galleries, White/Black, 2018, n.n.

New York, Acquavella Galleries, The Path of Modernism: From Impressionism to Today, 2019, n.n., illustrated in color in the catalogue 


Enric Jardí, Joaquín Torres-García, Barcelona, 1973, fig. 297, illustrated in color p. 212

"Beyond the Fringe" in Building Design, London, January 17, 1986, illustrated in color pp. 20-21

Nissa Torrents, "Torres-García en la Hayward Gallery de Londres" in El País, Madrid, January 1986, illustrated in color n.p.

Angel Félix, "Made in Medellín, el contrabando de la imagen cultural" in Arte en Colombia, Bogotá, May 1990, no. 44, illustrated in color p. 87

Barbara Braun, "Joaquín Torres-García: The Alchemical Grid" in Pre-Columbian Art and the Post-Columbian World, Ancient American Sources of Modern Art, New York, 1993, illustrated in color p. 276

César Paternosto, The Stone and the Thread: Andean Roots of Abstract Art, Austin, 1996, fig. 117, illustrated in color p. 218

Adolfo Maslach, Joaquín Torres-García: sol y luna del arcano, Caracas, 1998, fig. 346, detail illustrated in color p. 573 

Miguel A. Battegazzore, J. Torres-García: La trama y los signos, Montevideo, 1999, fig. 70, illustrated in color p. 81

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1938, Constructivo en blanco y negro (Inti) is one of the best-known and most-exhibited of Torres-García’s works. Created in the period of Torres-García’s career after his return to Uruguay in 1934, the genesis of Inti was bracketed by the founding of the Asociación de Arte Constructivo (AAC) in 1935 and the organization of the Taller Torres-García (TTG) in 1943. From 1937 onwards, Torres-García was involved in his “Indo-American project,” concerned with separating his version of contructivist abstraction—which he called Universal Constructivism—from its European origins (which included the influences of Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg.) As a part of this program, Torres-García began incorporating motifs derived from the art and architecture of pre-Columbian civilizations, particularly those of the Andes, but also from Mexico and North America, throughout his work. The constructions of this period are rigorously geometric, with emphasis on the organizational grid, made even stronger by the use of subtle shading to create a sense of bas-relief. Another aspect of these works is the restricted palette, often monotone earth colors—a quality taken to the extreme in Inti, a grisaille composition. The word Inti refers to the Andean sun god, who protected the Inca empire and was thought to be the ancestor of the Inca rulers. The typical presentation of this deity was surrounded by the rays of the sun, which Torres-García has abstracted with enough shading to make the lozenge with the name and its rays take on a three-dimensional quality that extend towards the viewer. This image directly harkens the  sun god represented in the center of the Tiwanaku Puerta del Sol (the Gate of the Sun), situated at the shore of Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Also included is a mask which may have been influenced by both Wari and Moche geometric masks, textiles and designs.

Torres-García’s deep fascination in Pre-Columbian architecture is visible here in the architectonic structure of Inti. The Incan fortress of Sacsayhuamán, with its precision-cut massive stones and geometric portals, is referenced at upper right. Indeed, there is an astonishing resemblance between the city-plan grid of Sacsayhuamán, arranged around a large central courtyard with radiating lines, and the composition of Inti. It is not clear how Torres-García would have known this plan—perhaps via an archaeological map or early aerial photograph. In the painting, the Pre-Columbian lintel is humanized by equating it with a human head and shoulders. This is Torres-García’s “Abstract Man (Hombre abstracto),” a motif that runs throughout his oeuvre, beginning in 1929 with a series of paintings and later on wooden sculptures.

This work is included in the online catalogue raisonné of Joaquín Torres-García (www.torresgarcia.com) as no. 1938.06