Drawing by Rufino Tamayo

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The Drawing

Today we're looking at a very beautiful and delicate drawing by Rufino Tamayo, dated 1929.

What I like about the drawing is the very simple economy of line - the pencil goes to the paper and just one unbroken line creates the whole outer arm.  And the face - just a few pencil marks for the eyes, nose and mouth, and for the head as well - just one unbroken line.

The drawing reminds me very much of Modigliani from the same period – who also works with the idea in drawing that less is sometimes more.

The Painting

I thought it was a very interesting drawing as a unique finished work, but later I realized that it was a working drawing for part of a larger oil painting created in 1929 - this was confirmed by the curator of the Rufino Tamayo Museum in Mexico City, Juan Carlos Pereda. Perada is also currently creating the catalogue raisonne on Rufino Tamayo.

I sent Juan Carlos Pereda an image of the drawing for the catalogue raisonne and not only did he confirm that this was a drawing for one of the figures in the painting (there's two girls in the painting who are making tortillas), he also knew their names, Aurora and Empara.

The Agave Pickers

Another unique quality about this drawing is that there is another drawing on the back of the sheet.  Juan Carlos Pereda informed me that this drawing on the back, was from a series of drawings created for a watercolor Tamayo painted in 1926 called "The Agave Pickers" or "The Road."

I enjoy the idea that Tamayo created a work on a sheet of paper in 1926 and later worked on the other side of the paper in 1929. I would image that the reason for this was the scarcity of paper during this period. Most artists from this same period all used the same type of paper - a common paper stock with a slightly brown color.