María Izquierdo

Alacena, 1947

Oleo / tela
102 x 85 cm

Drawing upon the games of perspective employed in Baroque still life painting, in the 1940s Izquierdo created a small group of innovative and humorous images of shallow cupboards or alacenas. In their use of illusionary space and complex colour combinations, these paintings are formally similar to Izquierdo's series of altar paintings such Viernes de Dolores(Blaisten Collection). On three wooden shelves, Izquierdo depicts an eclectic collection of objects, including examples of blown and pressed glass, a small wooden cross, a bowl of fruit, and three folk art animals. Like the 19th century still life paintings of Agustin Arrieta, the objects of Izquierdo's Alacena reveal a dual culture: European and American. A trompe l'oeil effect is created through elements such as the fruit bowl, which leans off the shelf and into the viewer's space. Izquierdo decorated her home with similar alacenas, and many of the objects in the painting can be seen in photographs of the artist's studio and today remain carefully preserved by the artist's family. For example, the brown and white bull in the top right hand corner of the painting is from Peru, and Izquierdo likely acquired it while in Lima during her 1944 tour of South America. Izquierdo's adoption of folk art forms held a strong nationalist significance, but the artist also related to them on a purely aesthetic level. Describing her use of such objects in another painting, Izquierdo commented on her multi-sensorial reaction to their textures, colours and sounds, and reflected that "las emociones que despiertan los objetos me sugieron el cuadro y el título". Sometimes the result of this is light-hearted, such as the humorous encounter between the hen and the rooster in Alacena, but it is also a poetic adoption of folk art forms unequalled by other artists in the period.

Terri Geis, Arte Moderno de México. Colección Andrés Blaisten, Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005.

More of this artist