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Paisaje del Paricutín (Volcán en erupción) [Landscape of el Paricutín]
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About the item

In 1943, a volcano emerged from the ground in a farmers cornfield near the town of Uruapan in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. At first, ash formed a one thousand foot high cone. Later, lava started to pour out the fissures, eventually burying the nearby village, which had been evacuated. According to an eyewitness: In the evening, when night began to fall, we heard noises like the surge of the sea, and red flames of fire rose into the darkened sky, some rising 2,600 feet or more into the air, that burst like golden marigolds, and a rain like artificial fire fell to the ground (D. Bressan 75 Years Ago Humanity Witnessed The Birth Of A Volcano, in Forbes, February 20, 2018, n.p.). Although it was most active in its first year, throughout the 1940s the volcano continued to capture the imaginations of scientists, photographers, Hollywood filmmakers and artists such as Roberto Matta, Gunter Gerszo and Dr. Atl. Because it continued to be active (until 1952 when it suddenly ceased as abruptly as it had started) and had been documented from the moment of its appearance, the volcano presented a unique opportunity for scientists to study the full life cycle of an eruption of this type. (U.S. geologist William Foshag studied the growth of the volcano beginning one month after its birth.) The smoldering volcano was featured extensively in Life magazine and is a prominent backdrop in various scenes of the 1947 Hollywood movie Captain from Castile (see: Life, April 17, 1944, pp. 88-95). The eruption had garnered so much popular attention that airplanes, flying from Los Angeles to Mexico City, diverted from their normal routes in order to catch a glimpse of the burning volcano.  Mexicos Dirección General de Turísmo even plastered an image of a fiery Paricutín on posters encouraging travel to Mexico and to the area, making it a symbol of the nation.In his painted canvas of 1947, Paisaje del Paricutín, Rufino Tamayo seems to visualize the eyewitnesss oral account cited above, focusing on the nocturnal scene and sparks of red and orange lava that both burst open and rain down like artificial fire from the sky.  Beyond the specificity of this violent outburst as a local natural phenomenon that captivated the world, Paisaje del Paricutin needs to be understood in relation to a series of works the artist produced during the war years, in which he had begun to incorporate references to the cosmos, the birth of the atomic age and veiled references to crisis and trauma. James Oles has analyzed these paintings of howling animals, figure running from fire, and devastating cataclysms and has linked them to the tensions and crises of the war and the early atomic age. Thousands of people were displaced by the eruption of Paricutín and forced to rebuild their lives elsewhere; Life magazine emphasized, Paricutin is sample of Earths interior hell. Yet unlike his paintings of figures escaping burning buildings or children playing with firethe works that immediately preceded this paintingPaisaje del Paricutin is an abstracted landscape. It is as Oles states, a representation of an earth-shattering event and unleashed natural forces, broader themes that no doubt preoccupied the artist (J. Oles in The Howl and the Flame: Tamayos Wartime Allegories, Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted (exhibition catalogue), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, 2007, pp. 308-09). To be sure, curator and art historian Diana Du Pont indicates that Tamayos painting should be understood as a Surrealist metaphor for the unconscious and as an indigenist icon of Mexicos emergence as a modern nation (D. Du Pont, Realistic, Never Descriptive: Tamayo and the Art of Abstract Figuration in op. cit., p. 73).\nA master colorist, Tamayo uses his signature method of mixing oil with sand, which in this painting formally reinforces and materializes the theme of a soot-filled landscape. The brilliant reds and oranges of the lava are set against a deep purple and pinkish sky. Lines radiate and puncture the composition while the angled branches of an anthropomorphic burned tree to the right echo the forms of the lava spurting out from the volcano. Through formal means, Tamayo expresses the dynamism of this violent outburst focusing on the awe-inspiring and unbridled energy of subterranean forces.\nAnna Indych-López\n2018-2019 Stuart Z. Katz Professor of the Humanities and the Arts\nThe City College of New York, CUNY\nProfessor of Latin American and Latina/o Art\nPh.D. Program in Art History, The Graduate Center, CUNY\n\nWe wish to thank Juan Carlos Pereda for his kind assistance in the cataloguing of this work. \nSigned Tamayo and dated 47 (lower right)
US
NY, US
US

medium

Oil and sand on canvas

creator

Tamayo, Rufino

dimensions

30 1/8 by 40 1/8 in.

exhibition

Mexico City, Galería de Arte Mexicano, Tamayo: Diez óleos y seis dibujos, 1947, no. 9 New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Tamayo, 1950, no. 14 (titled Volcano in Eruption) Dallas, The Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Three Contemporary Mexican Painters, 1948, no. 6 (titled Paricutín) Buenos Aires, Instituto de Arte Moderno, Rufino Tamayo: Pinturas y Litografías, 1951, no. 13, illustrated in the catalogue Chicago, The Arts Club of Chicago, Tamayo, 1952, no. 14 (titled Volcano) Washington, D.C., Pan American Union, Tamayo, 1952, n.n. (titled Volcano) Fort Worth, Fort Worth Art Museum, Tamayo, 1952, no. 6 (titled Volcano) New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., Recent Works by Rufino Tamayo, 1956, no. 2 Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Miami, Miami Art Museum & Mexico City, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted, 2007-08, no. 79, illustrated in color in the catalogue Mexico City, Colegio de San Ildefonso, México, esplendores de treinta siglos, 1992-93, n.n. Mexico City, Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Arte Moderno de México 1900-1950, no. 334, illustrated in color in the catalogue (titled Escena nocturna del Paricutín) 

literature

Xavier Villarrutia, "Rufino Tamayo" in Tamayo: 20 años de su labor pictórica (exhibition catalogue), Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Museo Nacional de Artes Plásticas, 1948, n.n., illustrated n.p. Paul Westheim, Tamayo: Una investigación estética, Mexico City, 1957, illustrated n.p. (titled Paricutín) Teresa del Conde, et al., Tamayo, Mexico City, 1998, illustrated in color p. 132 Octavio Paz, et al., Transfiguraciones en historia del arte de Oaxaca, Mexico City, 1998, vol. III, illustrated in color p. 25 Marisa Fernández, "Paisaje: terreno del ser humano" in Reflejos del Paisaje, Mexico City, 2009, illustrated in color p. 105 Juan Carlos Pereda, et al., Del mural al caballete: El México de Rufino Tamayo y David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexico City, 2013, illustrated in color p. 75

provenance

M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York Charles Bolles Rogers, Minneapolis, Minnesota (acquired from the above) Minneapolis Museum of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota (acquired from the above) Galerías Iturbide, Mexico City (acquired from the above) Acquired from the above in 1971

signedDate

Signed Tamayo and dated 47 (lower right)

time_period

Painted in 1947. 

time_range_end

1947

artist_range_end

1991

time_range_start

1947

artist_range_start

1899

consignmentDesignation

Masterworks of Mexican Modernism: Property from a Distinguished Private Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1899 - 1991


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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