TORRES-GARCIA Joaquin
( 1874-1949). Uruguayan painter; born and died in Montevideo. The son of a Catalan father and a Uruguayan mother, he went to Barcelona when he was seventeen, studied mural painting there, and executed frescoes at the Palacio de la Deputación. After visiting Paris and Brussels ( 1910), he returned to Montevideo. In 1920-1922 he stayed in New York and then in Italy. In 1924 he established himself in Paris, where he lived until 1932. During this period, with Michel Seuphor, he founded the review and the group of Cercle et Carré and took an active part in the organization of the international exhibition of the same name, which took place in April 1930 and had the participation of the principal abstract painters then alive, notably Kandinsky, Mondrian, Schwitters, Arp, Sophie Taeuber, Pevsner, Prampolini, Vantongerloo, Baumeister, as well as Léger, Ozenfant and Le Corbusier. Then returning to Montevideo for good, he opened an art school that met with great success and exercised a profound influence upon the new generation. At the same time he continued by himself the review The Circle and The Square (Circulo y Cuadrado), which became the organ of a school rather than a review of abstact art. He published several works, among them a history of his life ( Historia de Mi Vida, Montevideo, 1939), and executed numerous decorations in Montevideo as well as an important monument (Monumento Cósmico) in the Parque Rodo of the same city. Except for a few works of the Paris Cerrle et Carri period ( 1930), the work of Torres-García remained figurative, although it showed a tendency towards a free improvisation that was peculiar to him. He seems to have learned his deepest lesson from pre-Columbian art, which he contrasted to and combined with modern European art. His work contains Cubist and Neck-Plastic elements as well as certain aspects of the Klee idiom, all integrated with perfect case into an ideographic concept of angular style that makes of Torres-García a great Indian artist of our time.
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