Head Over a Blue Background

Rufino Tamayo (Mexican, 1899 – 1991)
Mixographia print on handmade paper
Sheet : 34 3/4 x 26 3/4 in. (88.27 x 67.94 cm)
Mat : 40 x 32 in. (1 m x 81.28 cm)
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Purchased with funds donated by Mike Brummel '57
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A Zapotec Indian from the state of Oaxaca, Rufino Tamayo moved to Mexico City in 1917 to study art at the Academy of San Carlos, Mexico’s oldest art school. Tamayo was interested in contemporary European and American avant-garde art styles, but there was little enthusiasm for such styles in Mexico at the time, so in 1926 he left Mexico and spent much of the next thirty years living and working overseas. Tamayo drew inspiration from many sources and eventually developed a distinctive style that combined elements of Cubism, Surrealism and pre-Hispanic Mexican art. He returned to Mexico in 1959 and immediately became a major figure in the movement to encourage more experimentation and diversity in Mexican art.

Mixografia is a printing process that allows for the creation of images featuring strong textures and saturated colors. The mixografia process was first developed by Rufino Tamayo and master printer Luis Remba in Mexico City in 1973 and has been used by hundreds of artists around the world since then. This mixografia print features a highly stylized human head with a mask-like face that recalls the totemic sculptures of various pre-Hispanic Mexican cultures. As in much of Tamayo’s work, the color palette in this print is limited since Tamayo believed that using only a few colors clarified and strengthened the emotional impact of his designs.

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