Joaquín Torres García

Pintura constructiva, 1929 - Joaquín Torres García
Pintura constructiva, 1929 / Image @ MNAV

Making his universe

Joaquín Torres García was connected with a lot of modern artists in the first half of the 20th century from Gaudí to Paul Klee, however, when you look at his work, there’s nothing immediately associated with any movement he saw happening during his time in Europe.

Everything feels very particular. It’s his universe. He admired abstraction, the use of primary colours, surrealism and pre-Columbian art so he created works that contain all of that together in his “Universalismo Constructivo” (Universal Constructivism).

Construction in White and Black, 1938 - Joaquín Torres García
Construction in White and Black, 1938 / Image @ MoMa
Arte Constructivo, 1943 - Joaquín Torres García
Arte Constructivo, 1943 / Image @ WikiArt

Born in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1874, his family moved to Barcelona in 1891 and he spent the next 43 years in Europe with a short period in the US.

Most of this time was spent in Barcelona where he studied and was part of the Noucentisme movement, and in Paris, where together with other avant-garde artists, he started to experiment with Constructivism.

Torres García was a prolific artist that also wrote books, created magazines, toys, taught classes, conferences and founded schools.

His vision of “the south is the north”, subverts the notion of relevance and importance given to the northern hemisphere and puts the south, particularly South America in evidence. He certainly paved the way for several South American artists looking to develop their artistic expression.

Paisaje de playa, 1924 - Joaquín Torres García
Paisaje de playa, 1924 / Image @ MNAV
Paisaje de ciudad, 1918 - Joaquín Torres García
Paisaje de ciudad, 1918 / Image @ MNAV

Links to learn more

Today his legacy is carried forward at Museo Torres García and the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales (MNAV) both in Montevideo. 

In 2015 MoMa showed a big retrospective of his career and the Uruguayan newspaper “El Observador”, created this amazing special coverage where you can learn more about his life and career (in Spanish).

Joaquín Torres García: “Un volcán en erupción” – El Observador

Have a great week!

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