Rufino Tamayo  (Mexican, 1899-1991) 

Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899–1991) was a painter, sculptor, and printmaker. He was born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and moved to Mexico City with an aunt after the death of his parents. In his early years, he worked in the family business but developed a passion for art after his aunt enrolled him in art classes. Tamayo began studying art at Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas in San Carlos in 1917. During his time there, he was influenced by Impressionism, Cubism, and Fauvism. Due to dissatisfaction with his studies, Tamayo left school and went to work for Jose Vasconcelos (Mexican, 1882–1959) at the Department of Ethnographic Drawings in 1921. He was eventually promoted to the head of his department.

Tamayo’s artwork frequently profiles images associated with the Zapotec heritage. One of his most notable paintings, Children Playing With Fire, was painted in 1947 during the time of Mexican revolt. This piece shows two people being burned by a fire they created to symbolize the people of Mexico being hurt by their own decisions. Between the years of 1925 and 1991, Tamayo produced a number of graphic art pieces that consisted of etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and Mixografia prints. Mixografia was the name given to an art technique created by Tamayo and a fellow Mexican painter that combined prints with three-dimensional textures. In 1935, Tamayo joined the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR). This was a place where artists could use their paintings and other artworks to express their feelings about the Mexican Revolutionary War and other issues concerning the Mexican government. Along with four other artists, Tamayo was chosen to represent his art in the first American Artists’ Congress in New York. Throughout his career, he also became known for painting murals and images of women. He created a number of paintings that portrayed images of his wife Olga, including the Rufino and Olga piece that he painted in 1934.

In 1981, the Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum opened in Mexico City. Tamayo’s work has been exhibited worldwide in museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, FL, The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain, and the Phillips Collection in Washington. The artist died in Mexico City on June 24, 1991.

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Rufino Tamayo, Cabeza en Rojo


Rufino Tamayo
Cabeza en Rojo

MLA Gallery
Rufino Tamayo, Personaje en Blanco (from the Barcelona suite)


Rufino Tamayo
Personaje en Blanco (from the Barcelona suite)

Michael Lisi Fine Art
Rufino Tamayo, Perfil de Hombre


Rufino Tamayo
Perfil de Hombre

MLA Gallery
Rufino Tamayo, Perro durmiendo (Sleeping Dog)


Rufino Tamayo
Perro durmiendo (Sleeping Dog)

Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art
Rufino Tamayo, Manos en Rojo (Hands in Red)


Rufino Tamayo
Manos en Rojo (Hands in Red)

AC Fine Art
Rufino Tamayo, Figura en Rojo


Rufino Tamayo
Figura en Rojo

Mixografia ®
Rufino Tamayo, Luna Y Sol


Rufino Tamayo
Luna Y Sol

Mixografia ®
Rufino Tamayo, Salome


Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo, Perfil Sobre Estuco


Rufino Tamayo
Perfil Sobre Estuco
Past auction results (3438)  View All
Rufino Tamayo, Hombre en Negro


Rufino Tamayo
Hombre en Negro, 1976
mixography in colors


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Rufino Tamayo, Untitled


Rufino Tamayo


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Rufino Tamayo, El Gimnasta, Cruz de Hierro


Rufino Tamayo
El Gimnasta, Cruz de Hierro, 1988


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1899   Born: in Oaxaco, Mexico on August 26th
1917 - 1921   Attended the School of Fine Arts, Mexico City, Mexico
1921   Became head of the ethnographic drawing department at the National Museum of Archaeology in Mexico City, Mexico
1950   Exhibited at the Venice Biennale
1974   Founded the Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art through the donation of his collection of pre-Columbian art
1981   Donated his collection of international art to the people of Mexico
1991   Died: in Mexico City, Mexico on June 24th
2013   Mixografia Prints - Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, NM
Mixtape - Molaa Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA Send message
2012   Colectiva de verano 2012 - Galería Vértice - Guadalajara-México, Guadalajara
Visions of Mexican Art - Wichita Art Museum WAM, Wichita, KS
Modern Mexican Painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection - Meadows Museum, Dallas, TX
Mexicanidad - Museum Würth, Künzelsau
Mexicanidad - Kunsthalle Würth, Schwäbisch Hall
Fifty Years Of Latin American Art: Selections From The Neuberger Museum Of Art - Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY
¡Tierra y Libertad! Revolution and the Modernist Mexican Print - MMoCA - The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
2011   Shore, Forest and Beyond - Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Eyes Wide Shut - KM fine Arts, Chicago, IL
La Colección: Diferencia y continuidad en el arte moderno mexicano - Museo de Arte Moderno de Mexico City, Mexico City
La Colección: Obras selectas del Museo de Arte Moderno - Museo de Arte Moderno de Mexico City, Mexico City
Simply Masterful: Picasso and Artists of the Modern Era - Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CA
2010   The John Deere Art Collection - Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA
Latin American Art from the Museum's Collection - Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, FL
Transforming the Figure: Post WWII Prints - El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA), El Paso, TX
Vanguardia en papel. Figura y abstracción - Museo Nacional de Arte - MUNAL, Mexico City
Mexico Beyond Its Revolution - Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA
Cross Currents in 20th Century Art: Prints and Ceramics from the Anne C. and Harry Wollman Collection - Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH
2009   Camino A La Modernidad - The Path to Modernity: Mexican Modern Painting - Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
Revolution on paper: Mexican prints 1910–1960 - British Museum, London (England)
MESSIAHS - MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen
Ruth Asawa and Artes Latinos - Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Latitudes - Mestres Latino-americanos - Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba
Obras 1900 - 1960. Colección pictórica del Banco Nacional de México - MALBA Colección Costantini - Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
2008   Latitudes: maestros latinoamericanos en la colección FEMSA - Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - MNBA, Buenos Aires
Art of the Americas - Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2007   Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920-1950, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Frida Kahlo, Deigo Rivera and Mexican Modernism, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia
Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
2005   Retratos: 2,000 Years of Latin American Portraits, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
2003   The Magician and the Mechanic: Tamarind Lithography Workshop, the Early Years, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
2002   The Latin Century Beyond the Border, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, NY
2000   Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Twentieth-Century Mexican Art: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA
1999   Art in post-Revolutionary Mexico, Dallas Art Museum, Dallas, TX
1998   Latin American Masters, Los Angeles, CA
Rufino Tamayo, Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico
1995   Centro Cultural Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City, Mexico
1994   The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura, Japan
1993   Nagoya City Art Museum, Nagoya, Japan
Rufino Tamayo: Works from Six Decades, Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, New York, NY
1959   Tamayo, Knoedler Galleries, New York
  Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
  Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
  Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
  Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
  Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico
  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
2007    Du Pont, Diana C. Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted. New York: Turner Publishing, 2007
2004    Martinez, Ramiro, Juan Carlos Pereda, and Raquel Tibol. The Prints Of Rufino Tamayo (Artes Visuales Turner). New York: Turner Publishing, 2004
2000    del Conde, Teresa. Tamayo. Boston: Bulfinch Publishing, 2000
1995    Lassaigne, Jacques and Octavio Paz. Rufino Tamayo. Barcelona : Ediciones Poligrafa, 1995
1979    Tamayo, Rufino. Rufino Tamayo, Myth and Magic. Barcelona: Ediciones Poligrafa, 1979