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Rufino Tamayo expressed his ideas on the need to protect freedom of expression in the creative process. He explained that he did not belong to any group; on a personal level, however, he expressed his support for one of the “inalienable rights of man” which, unfortunately, were ignored in Mexico. As regards the pictorial monopoly, he stated that he had been the victim of abuse and attempted control, referring to the threats received at the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes [INBA, National Institute of Fine Arts] when he painted the walls at Bellas Artes. Tamayo accused his colleagues of having cozy ties with the political class, and of having created an official art that accepted no diversity of pictorial trends.


Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) could quote cases of abuse and unilateral behavior among those who advocated realist painting with a social message and thought of themselves as “proletariat” painters. He spoke out against the government’s stance on painting, and insisted that there should be many kinds of painting, not just one. Although Tamayo complained that his work and other painting styles were rejected, the record states that, as from 1948, he was given a level of government support that other painters never received. Among other official commissions, he was invited to the 25th Venice Bienniale in 1950. In 1951 and 1953 the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA) invited him to paint two murals at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. And, in 1952, Tamayo took part in the exhibition Arte mexicano moderno y antiguo [Modern and Ancient Mexican Art] that was taken to Paris, Stockholm, and London, in which his paintings were accorded the same recognition that had once been reserved for the works he used to criticize. Tamayo was proud to be the model artist; he never questioned that image, and did not waste his connections with people in power.  

Ana María Torres : CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional