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.
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.
L. Venturi, “Rufino Tamayo,” Commentari 1, 2 (Apr.–June 1950), 112–13, fig. 131, pl. 50.
Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), 444.
Rufino Tamayo: del reflejo al sueño, 1920–1950 (Mexico City, Fundación Cultural Televisa/Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporáneo, 1995), 23–24, ill.
Judith A. Barter et al., American Modernism at the Art Institute of CHicago, From World War I to 1955, (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2009), cat. 94.
Houston, Tex., Contemporary Arts Museum, Mexican Paintings and Drawings, Sept. 13–29, 1953, cat. 45, College Station, Tex., Texas A&M University, Oct. 4–19, 1953.
University of Chicago, 1953.
Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Il Bienal Interamerican de Mexico, Sept. 5–Nov. 5, 1960.
Phoenix, Ariz., Phoenix Art Museum, The Works of Rufino Tamayo, 1926–1967, Mar. 1968, cat. 10.
Mexico City, Fundación Cultural Televisa/Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporáneo, Rufino Tamayo: del reflejo al sueño, 1920–1950, Oct. 1995–Jan. 1996, cat. 47.
Santa Barbara, Ca., Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted, Feb. 17–May 27, 2007, cat. 36, ill. p. 135.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, apint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950, Oct. 25, 2016–Jan. 8, 2017; Mexico City, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Feb. 3–Apr. 30, 2017; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, June 14–Oct. 1, 2017, cat. 107.
Mrs. Frances A. Elkins, Monterey, Ca.; given to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1946.
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.