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El Mago/Pim Pam Pum (The Magician/Pim Pam Pum)

A lively and vibrantly colored painting dense with figures that take up the entire canvas. These include a wizard-like man with a long white beard in a black top hat, spectacles, and a bright-blue robe adorned with celestial imagery. Robed revelers pass behind him on white horses, and he is flanked by two figures: to the left, a medium-skinned woman in a yellow dress holds a cone-shaped telescope aloft and peers into it with one eye, while at left, a light-skinned child wearing a cone-shaped party hat holds a horn-shaped noisemaker to their mouth.

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  • A lively and vibrantly colored painting dense with figures that take up the entire canvas. These include a wizard-like man with a long white beard in a black top hat, spectacles, and a bright-blue robe adorned with celestial imagery. Robed revelers pass behind him on white horses, and he is flanked by two figures: to the left, a medium-skinned woman in a yellow dress holds a cone-shaped telescope aloft and peers into it with one eye, while at left, a light-skinned child wearing a cone-shaped party hat holds a horn-shaped noisemaker to their mouth.

Date:

1926

Artist:

Maruja Mallo
Spanish, 1902-1995

About this artwork

Maruja Mallo blended depictions of spectacle with social critique in this painting, which was inspired by open-air celebrations, or verbenas, in Madrid. As she explained, these “cosmic festivals” began to shift in the 1920s from religious holidays to secular public celebrations. Here Mallo depicted the popular street-festival game Pim Pam Pum, in which participants toss balls at mannequin-like puppets on horseback. The artist modeled the titular magician wearing bright blue robes on Spanish poet and playwright Ramón del Valle-Inclán (1866-1936). Del Valle-Inclán’s concept of esperpento—a literary genre known for distorted and exaggerated representations of reality—aligns with Mallo’s vision in this lively and disorienting scene.

Status

On View, Gallery 396

Department

Modern Art

Artist

Maruja Mallo

Title

El Mago/Pim Pam Pum (The Magician/Pim Pam Pum)

Place

Spain (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

1926

Medium

Oil on panel

Dimensions

60 × 74 cm (23 5/8 × 29 3/16 in.)

Credit Line

The Lacy Armour Endowment Fund

Reference Number

2023.3080

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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