Torres-García, Joaquín

Torres-García, Joaquín,

1874–1949, Uruguayan painter, b. Montevideo, considered the father of Latin American constructivism. In 1894 his family moved to Barcelona, Spain, where he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts. Torres-García apprenticed to Antonio Gaudí i CornetGaudí i Cornet, Antonio
, 1852–1926, Spanish architect. Working mainly in Barcelona, he created startling new architectural forms that paralleled the stylistic development of art nouveau or modernismo.
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, then experimented with impressionismimpressionism,
in painting, late-19th-century French school that was generally characterized by the attempt to depict transitory visual impressions, often painted directly from nature, and by the use of pure, broken color to achieve brilliance and luminosity.
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 and postimpressionismpostimpressionism,
term coined by Roger Fry to refer to the work of a number of French painters active at the end of the 19th cent. who, although they developed their varied styles quite independently, were united in their rejection of impressionism.
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 (as seen in Garden of the Gallery of Fine Arts, c.1897), the modernist classicism that marks Study for a Composition with Feminine Figures (c.1909–12), and cubismcubism,
art movement, primarily in painting, originating in Paris c.1907. Cubist Theory

Cubism began as an intellectual revolt against the artistic expression of previous eras.
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, and began designing wooden toys. During 1920–22, he was in New York, where he exhibited and began manufacturing his toys. Though the flatness of Barcelona Street Scene (1917) anticipates his later constructivismconstructivism,
Russian art movement founded c.1913 by Vladimir Tatlin, related to the movement known as suprematism. After 1916 the brothers Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner gave new impetus to Tatlin's art of purely abstract (although politically intended) constructions.
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, his New York scenes often soften that flatness. After his return to Europe, he became familiar with the constructivists and developed an interest in pre-Columbian art. He met Piet MondrianMondrian, Piet
, 1872–1944, Dutch painter. He studied at the academy in Amsterdam and passed through an early naturalistic phase. In 1910 he went to Paris, where the influence of cubism stimulated the development of his geometric, nonobjective style, which he called
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 (1929) and became involved in the constructivist group Cercle et Carré [Fr.,=circle and square], helping to organize a constructivist exhibition in Paris. Mondrian's influence can be seen in the grid structure of his compositions, which are filled with images and symbols from European and New World civilizations. Returning to Montevideo (1934), he founded the Association of Constructivist Art, continued to explore pre-Columbian art, and established a workshop (1943) where the principles of his American modernist La Escuela del Sur [Span.,=the school of the south] were taught. Among his later works are Constructivist Composition (1931), Universal Art (1933), Composition (1938), and Constructive City with Universal Man (1942).
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