Our cover this month, Luna y Sol, by Rufino Tamayo, sold for $4,750 at Swann Auction Galleries Old Master Through Modern Prints Featuring Latin American Art sale on May 2, 2019 in New York City. A Mexican painter, Tamayo had an extensive and prolific career. The image gracing our cover attests to that—it was his last painting, completed in 1990 at the impressive age of 90.
One of the greats of his time, Tamayo’s unique works combine European influences such as Cubism and Impressionism with a signature Mexican flair. Unlike his Mexican contemporaries, however, such as the highly regarded muralists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, Tamayo categorically abstained from political themes in his works. Due to his stance against the revolution and feelings of repression because of his views, Tamayo set out for New York City, where he completed some of his most memorable works. Tamayo eventually returned to Mexico City, this time to a much warmer reception of his art.
In 1987, one of Tamayo’s famous paintings, Tres Personajes, was stolen from a storage locker of a couple who had purchased it. Luckily, the story has a happy ending—in 2003, a woman found the painting in the trash on a New York City curb. Though not knowing much about modern art, the woman had a hunch that this was no random piece. After years of research, the painting was reunited with its rightful owner and sold for $1.049 million at a Sotheby’s auction, with a reward and portion of the sale going to the woman who made it happen.