All modern art has a fundamental objective: to seek the expression of time.

Marlborough Graphics New York is pleased to present Rufino Tamayo: Prints. Known for his use of vivid color and figurative style, Tamayo produced many woodcuts, lithographs, etchings, and mixografia prints between the years of 1925 and 1991. The exhibition showcases a selection of graphic works produced by the artist from 1976 to the early 1990s. During this time Marlborough represented the artist, holding numerous important exhibitions that were instrumental to his international market.

The mixografia method was conceived in 1973 as the result of a collaboration between the artist and Taller de Gráfica Mexicana (now Mixografia®), a Los Angeles based printer and publisher founded in Mexico City by Luis Remba in 1969. As Mixografia® explains, the Rembas family invited Tamayo to create a series of prints. The artist agreed upon the condition that the studio develop a technique that would allow him to produce his prints in relief.

Tamayo was looking to expand the realm of printmaking by incorporating aspects of texture and dimensionality into his artwork. Remba rose to the challenge by inventing a process that not only allowed Tamayo to create prints in relief, but also registered the artwork’s very fine texture and detail. The production of a “mixografia” print involves placing wet paper pulp over a three-dimensional printing plate and running it through the press at very high pressure. The moist paper fibers are forced into the grooves of the plate, at once absorbing the ink and forming the raised quality of the print. Throughout Tamayo’s long and exalted career, he remained consistently sensitive to the two key elements that define his work: color and light. Both of these components of his art are derived from the same and ultimate source: Mexico itself.

Rufino Tamayo was born in Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico in 1899. He was orphaned around the age of 10 and moved to Mexico City to live with an aunt. His early works were strongly influenced by this heritage in combination with Cubist, Impressionist, surrealist, and Fauvist styles. In 1921, Tamayo was appointed head of the Department of Ethnographic Drawing at the Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Mexico City. This position included drawing pre Colombian objects in the museum’s collection, which influenced his own work.

If I could express with a single word what is it that distinguished Tamayo from other painters of our age, I would say, without a moment’s hesitation: sun. For the sun is in all his pictures, whether we see it or not; night itself is simply the sun carbonized.

(Octavio Paz, renowned poet and Nobel laureate, about the work of the artist)

Tamayo founded the Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City which houses his contemporary art collection and the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Oaxaca, Mexico which houses his collection of pre-Colombian art. Works by the artist are included in numerous museum collections including the The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Phillips Collection, Washington D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; Tate Gallery, London; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; and The Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. He was also a member of the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR) which supported Mexican Artists who produced work in response to the Mexican Revolution.

Marlborough would like to thank Mixografia® for sharing their history with Marlborough Graphics for this exhibition.