Rufino Arellanes Tamayo

  • Born 1899 in Oaxaca, Mexico
  • Died 1991 in Mexico City, Mexico

Rufino Tamayo was a figurative painter who incorporated Surrealist influences in his work. He moved to Mexico City after his parents died in 1911. Although he took some drawing lessons and attended the Escuela de Bellas Artes (School of Fine Arts) in Mexico City, he mostly studied independently. By age twenty-two Tamayo had been appointed head of the Department of Ethnographic Drawing at the Museo Nacional de Arqueología (National Museum of Archeology) in Mexico City. There he worked with and drew pre-Columbian objects, which inspired his early still lifes and portraits. During several years when he lived in Europe and the United States, he adopted the styles of modern artists, fusing them with themes from Mexican folk culture. From 1932 onward he was awarded commissions for public murals by the Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Palace of Fine Arts), Mexico City (1952–53) and UNESCO, Paris (1958). Unlike his fellow Mexican artists of that time, Tamayo preferred easel painting and did not strive to make his art the vehicle of political change. He had a retrospective at the Instituto de Bellas Artes (Institute of Fine Arts), Mexico City (1948), and took part in the Venice Biennale (1950). Working with Luis Remba in the early 1970s, he invented mixografía (mixography), an innovative relief printing technique.

Artworks by Rufino Arellanes Tamayo in the exhibition