Also on view at our booth @artbasel, Joaquín Torres-García, Relief, 1927. –

Pioneering modernist Joaquín Torres-García brought avant-garde boldness to his native Uruguay and a new awareness of Latin American art to the U.S. and Europe.

Starting in the 1920s, when he was in New York, and continuing through the rest of his career, he made painted, wooden wall reliefs and sculptures, often done on rough, seemingly found pieces of wood. They are precariously assembled from humble materials: found wood haphazardly put together with nails, they are sometimes painted over the unfinished rough texture, or are carved or incised. They share something with what the artist calls his “Cathedral-style” and the structural paintings, but often in only the most tenuous ways. The lack of finish infuses them with a tactile presence while asserting that sophistication can be achieved while hewing to the handmade and, more importantly, homemade. Long before making something that looks slipshod became fashionable, Torres-Garcia recognized that making something that looks sophisticated was also a convention.

Torres-García mentored artists like Juan Melé and Carmelo Arden Quin, who later rejected the embrace of antiquity in favor of a purer geometric abstraction, catalyzed by the effect that Swiss architect and designer Max Bill had on the 1959 São Paulo Bienal. –

Image: Joaquín Torres – García, Relief, 1927, Painted wood, 20 x 29 cm (unframed)
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