1 of 9 return

The Still Life 1996 Spring



The Still Life

Pourquoi peignez-vous des natures mortes?
"Un mort,ça ne bouge pas."
Why do you paint still lifes?
"A dead thing doesn't move."
Paul Cézanne

A selection of STILL LIFES, from 1912 to the present; works by:
Julio Alpuy, Elsa Andrada, Pierre Bonnard, Lidya Buzio, Sergio de Castro, Caio Fonseca, Gonzalo Fonseca, José Gurvich, Francisco Matto, Jonio Montiel, Paul Resika, Edgardo Ribeiro, Gustavo Serra, Steven Skollar, Augusto Torres, Horacio Torres and Joaquín Torres-García.



Joaquín Torres-García

b. 1874 Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1949 Montevideo, Uruguay

When Torres-García arrived in Montevideo on April 30, 1934 after forty-three years of absence, Torres-García told the press that he had returned to his native country of Uruguay in order to "develop a wide range of activities, to lecture, to teach courses, to achieve... on walls what I have already achieved on canvas,... to create in Montevideo a movement that will surpass the art of Paris."  These lofty ambitions were achieved through the creation of his world famous workshop, the Taller Torres-García, where he taught his theory of Universal Constructivism to future generations of Latin American artists.

Before returning to Uruguay, Torres-García had arrived at the concept of Universal Constructivism after a long development during which his painting evolved from Mediterranean classicism through periods of Vibrationism, Cubism, and Fauvism.  A truly global artist, Torres-García lived in Spain, New York, Italy, and Paris, where his theories and aesthetic style culminated into his characteristic incorporation of symbols located in a geometric grid based on the golden section. 

The uniqueness of Torres' proposal consisted of his incorporation of essential elements of indigenous American art into the basic principles of European constructivism and geometric abstraction.  Today, he is recognized as a canonical figure in both Latin American and modern art in general, with works in prestigious public and private collections worldwide.

An online catalogue raisonné, which includes comprehensive information about Torres-García’s art, exhibition history, and literary references, as well as a chronology with documentary materials related to the artist’s life and career, is available online at www.torresgarcia.com


Please click for Chronology and CV


Julio Alpuy

b. 1919, Cerro Chato, Uruguay - d. 2009, New York City

Growing up in the Uruguayan countryside with little exposure to art, Alpuy first began drawing at the age of twenty.  Within a year, the young artist met Joaquín Torres-García.  Inspired by the master's theories of universal constructivism, Alpuy joined the Taller Torres- García, and is today recognized as one of the Taller's most important members. 

In 1944, Alpuy contributed two murals as part of the Taller's project to decorate the St. Bois hospital in Uruguay; he would continue to create murals throughout his career.  Encouraged by Torres-García, Alpuy and other Taller members travelled to the Andean region of South America in 1945; this experience, along with other periods of travel during the 1950s in South America, Europe, and the Middle East profoundly affected the themes and structural composition of his art. 

In 1961, Alpuy emigrated to New York, where he remained for the duration of his life.  Alpuy's art has been featured in numerous exhibitions about the Taller Torres-García, as well as in several international one-person exhibitions.  His works are included in major international collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; The Morgan Library and Museum, New York; The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection, New York; and Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay.

 


Please click for Chronology and CV


Lidya Buzio

b. 1948, Montevideo, Uruguay -  d. 2014, Greenport, New York

A unique talent in the world of ceramics, Buzio learned to create, form, and shape clay sculptures from the master ceramicist José Collell, based on ancient Amerindian practices.  Buzio continued to work within this same method, cutting earthenware slabs into geometric shapes, and then combining these cylinders, cones, and hemispheres to form the body of her sculptures.  Using special pigments which she mixed herself, the artist drew and painted directly onto her unfired works.  Before firing, Buzio burnished her pieces; this step serves to fuse the paint into the clay and results in the unique luminosity and distinctive hues that characterize her artworks. 

After moving to New York in the early 70s', Buzio's pictorial vocabulary shifted to reflect her new urban surroundings, inspiring her to create her New York Cityscapes, with their evocative rooflines, cast iron architecture, and water towers.  Her last series of abstract geometric designs executed in bright primary colors, represented a new direction in her practice. 

Buzio's ceramics are found in the Brooklyn Museum New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; the Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; the Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin; the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, Kansas; the Honolulu Academy of Art, Hawaii; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the National Museum of History and the Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan.  Buzio’s work is also included in several other international museums and private collections.


Please click for Chronology and CV


Gonzalo Fonseca

b. 1922 Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1997 Seravezza, Italy

In 1942, Fonseca quit his architectural studies in order to pursue an artistic career.  Working under the direction of Joaquín Torres-García, Fonseca joined the artist's workshop, where he participated in the group's collective exhibitions. In 1945 Fonseca traveled with other Taller Torres-García members through Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia to study pre-Columbian art.  This experience, along with numerous trips throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa during the 1950s, profoundly affected Fonseca's formal and theoretical approach to art.

Although Fonseca left the College of Architecture in Montevideo as a youth, an emphasis on structure and architectonics is present throughout his oeuvre.  As a teenager, he taught himself to sculpt in stone and later returned to such sculptural practices after studying ceramics in Spain in 1953.  Fonseca moved to the United States in 1958, and later divided his time between New York and Italy, where he created large-scale marble sculptures. 

Artworks by Fonseca are included at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museo Municipale, Pietrasanta, Italy; and the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, among other collections.  The artist's works are also featured in numerous public spaces around the globe, including Tokyo; Palo Alto, California; New York; Reston, Virginia; and Montevideo.


Please click for CV


José Gurvich

b. 1927, Lithuania – d. 1974 New York City

Populated with figures and images that reflect his Jewish upbringing, his participation with the Taller Torres-García, and his profound admiration for the European art masters Breughel and Bosch, Gurvich's artworks combine a unique personal style with technical mastery. 

The child of Jewish immigrants, the artist was born in Lithuania and moved to Uruguay with his family in 1932.  There, Gurvich excelled at both music and the visual arts, and it was while studying the violin alongside Horacio Torres that the young artist was introduced to Horacio's father, Joaquín Torres-García.    Soon after, Gurvich joined the Taller Torres-García, participating in the workshop's exhibitions, writing for its publications, executing mural projects, and teaching.  Gurvich's role at the Taller later influenced the creation of his own workshop, the Taller Montevideo, where he taught the next generation of Uruguayan artists. 

In 1954 and again in 1964, the artist travelled to Europe and Israel, where he lived as a shepherd on the Ramot Menasche kibbutz.  These experiences profoundly influenced the iconography of his paintings and sculptures.  Moving to the United States in 1970, Gurvich joined his fellow Taller Torres-García artists Julio Alpuy, Horacio Torres, and Gonzalo Fonseca in New York City, where he continued to produce art until his premature death in 1974.


Please click for Chronology and CV


Francisco Matto

b. 1911, Montevideo, Uruguay - d. 1995, Montevideo, Uruguay

A founding member of the Taller Torres-García, Matto studied painting as a child before meeting Joaquín Torres-García, the atelier's founder in 1939.  Following this encounter and encouraged by the creative environment at the Taller, Matto's artistic production shifted from his early Surrealist-influenced work to paintings and sculptures with markedly orthogonal compositions; these works were often executed on humble material supports such as cardboard and found wood pieces. 

At the age of 21, Matto traveled to Tierra del Fuego and acquired the first Pre-Columbian pieces of what was to become a major collection and an important influence on his art.  In 1962, Matto opened his collection of Amerindian art to the public. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art housed ceramics, textiles and sculpture from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. 

The Central Bank of Uruguay commissioned Matto to design a silver coin for the F.A.O. (United Nations Organization for Agriculture and Food).  It was in circulation in 1969 and won the first prize from the Gesellschaft für Internationale Geldgeschichte, an international numismatic association based in Frankfurt, Germany.

In 1982, Matto was invited to participate in the First International Meeting for Open Air Sculpture in Punta del Este, Uruguay. He made a U shaped form sculpture in cement placed next to the beach.

His recent exhibitions include "Francisco Matto: Exposição Monográfica," 6a Bienal do Mercosur, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2007; "Francisco Matto: The Modern and Mythic," The Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, 2009; “Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric, and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Art Collection," The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas, 2012-2013.  His work has also been included in group exhibitions in Paris, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany, Moscow, Tokyo, New York, and throughout Latin America.  


Please click for Chronology and CV


Gustavo Serra

b. 1966 Montevideo, Uruguay – lives in Montevideo, Uruguay

At 18, Gustavo began to study with the painter Daymán Antúnez with whom he continued to work until 1987. Beginning with Antúnez, Serra was to work with the most important surviving artists that had studied with the great modernist painter, Joaquín Torres-García. In 1987, he met the painter Augusto Torres (Torres-García's eldest son) and for the next six years, Serra painted with Torres in his studio until Augusto's death in 1992. In 1988, Serra became the studio assistant to Francisco Matto, working closely with him until Matto's death in 1995. He also assisted the sculptor Gonzalo Fonseca in his studios both in New York and in Seravezza, Italy in 1994 and 1996. Serra has also studied and collaborated with Julio Alpuy in New York and in Montevideo since 1991. All of these artists were original members of the renowned Taller Torres-García in Montevideo.

Since 1987, Serra has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Uruguay and abroad, including the 1996 Still Life Show at Cecilia de Torres, Ltd. in New York and the 1998, Salón Municipal, Montevideo. In 1997, Serra had his first one-man show at Galería Moretti in Montevideo.

Serra was invited in 1999, by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Montevideo, (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Montevideo) to participate in the exhibition, Identities, Latin American and Caribbean artists, organized for the International Development Bank in Paris.

Since 1990, he has worked organizing exhibitions related to Joaquín Torres-García and the Taller in various museums, galleries and public institutions all around the world. He has also curated exhibitions for the Museo Torres-García and Galería Oscar Prato in Montevideo, and since 2012 is in the board of the Francisco Matto and Julio Alpuy Foundations.


Please click for CV


Augusto Torres

b. 1913 Tarrasa, Spain - d. 1992 Barcelona, Spain

The eldest son of Joaquín Torres-García, Augusto was an active participant in his father's artistic life.  Growing up primarily in Italy and France, the young artist met many of the great figures of twentieth century art, including Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian, and Joan Miró.  During the 1930s, while living in Paris with his family, Augusto was the apprentice of the sculptor Julio González and studied drawing in Amedée Ozenfant’s academy.  Introduced to North African and American Indian art by the painter Jean Hélion, it was also in Paris that the artist developed his lifelong passion for tribal and primitive art. 

After Torres-García brought his family to Uruguay in 1934, Augusto participated in all the activities of his father’s teaching atelier, the Taller Torres-García.  One of the Taller's most well known students, Augusto later went on become a teacher himself, instructing subsequent generations of artists.  Throughout his life, Augusto traveled widely, including two years living in New York. From 1973 on, he divided his time between Barcelona and Montevideo.

The art of Augusto has been displayed internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, and his work is included in the collections of such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; the Miró Foundation, Barcelona; and the Museo Torres-García, Montevideo.


Please click for Chronology and CV


Horacio Torres

b. 1924 Livorno, Italy - d. 1976 New York City

Of the many painters who studied with his father, the great Constructivist artist Joaquín Torres-García, Horacio Torres made the quantum leap into the Contemporary art world of abstract and expressionistic painters in New York's 1970s. That he did so with figurative canvases was a singular achievement. Taken under the wing of the critic Clement Greenberg, who understood that Horacio's work was really about painting and was thoroughly modern, Horacio explored the thunderous territory of Titian, Velasquez and late Goya with a unique background of skill and aesthetic education in a contemporary way. Thus the series of headless nudes and of figures with faces obscured, make clear his painterly intentions and concerns. His monumental canvases are wondrous exercises of painted imagination formed with the structure of the depicted figure, but they are not about nudes, they are about painting.


Please click for Chronology and CV