About this artwork
Rufino Tamayo’s portrait of the celebrated painter María Izquierdo presents her with eyes closed, as a plume of cigarette smoke wafts upward. A transparent fish outlined in red appears behind her, almost as if emanating from her mind, projecting a sense of the unreal or the fantastic. Tamayo’s portrayal likely references the imaginative quality of Izquierdo’s own work. In 1932 she began creating allegorical compositions that moved beyond the direct representation of nature into a more poetic realm. By depicting her in a dreamlike manner in his portrait, Tamayo acknowledged the significance of invention in her artistic practice.
The limited and contrasting palette that Tamayo employed emphasizes Izquierdo’s mestiza identity (of both Indigenous and European descent)—and possibly, by extension, Tamayo’s own Zapotec heritage.
- Rufino Tamayo
- María Izquierdo
- Oil on canvas
- Signed lower right: Tamayo / 32
- 75.3 × 64.5 cm (29 5/8 × 25 3/8 in.)
- Gift of Frances A. Elkins
- © Tamayo Heirs / Mexico / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY