Biographies: Rufino Tamayo


Born in Oaxaca of Zapotec parents, Rufino Tamayo moved to México City at an early age. In 1916 he attended a commercial business school during the day and studied drawing at night. He studied at the San Carlos Academy in 1917 but soon decided to work on his own. His post in 1912 in the Department of Ethnographic Drawings at the National Museum of Archaeology acquainted him with the Pre-Columbian art of his country. Individual exhibitions of his work were held in México City and in New York at the Weyhe Gallery in 1926, where he would remain for the next18 years. His artwork, focusing on the human figure, animals and the cosmos, has gone through several stages culminating in a coloristic synthesis of form. In 1948 he had a retrospective at the Palace of Fine Arts in México City and exhibited widely in South America, Europe and the United States. Tamayo won several awards including the Mexican National Government prize in 1964. The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., held an individual exhibition in 1978 which traveled to the Marion Koogler McNay Art institute in San Antonio. In 1979 a major retrospective, Rufino Tamayo: Myth and Magic, was shown at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Rufino Tamayo’s paintings were also exhibited at he Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrird in 1988 and in the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Berlin in 1990.

Starting your art collection

When starting a collection one must consider a variety of factors. First however, one must start by asking – why and how will I start to collect art?

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