María Izquierdo

Estación tropical, 1940

Gouache / papel
44 x 58.5 cm

In 1940 Maria Izquierdo was at the height of her career and was enjoying international success. She participated in Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and an exhibition of modern Mexican art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. In May she held a joint exhibition with her partner the Chilean painter Raul Uribe, organized by the Galería de Arte Mexicano, at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. There she showed thirteen gouaches, of which Estación Tropical may have been one. Izquierdo’s small, luminous gouaches of this period tend to concentrate on a single event or episode, sometimes of an allegorical character. Here, in a glowering landscape with a ruined building and some truncated banana plants, a boy in a sailor suit blows a trumpet. An empty railway line shoots across the scene, though perhaps the trumpet announces the arrival of a train. Whether this is a "real" scene or takes place in the boy’s imagination is uncertain. The railway line, posts and telegraph cables form a dramatic perspective disappearing into the distance, one contradicted by the ruined house or station, whose walls converge to form a different vanishing point. This is a device Izquierdo derived from de Chirico, though she put it here to a very different effect from that of the Italian painter’s compositions. There is an acute sense in this painting, whether it represents an abandoned tropical station or a child at play, of loneliness, of waiting for what may never come. Izquierdo was once quoted as saying "Yo creo que un cuadro sin misterio, sin cierta magia, es sólo una fotografía iluminada". The belief that a painting has a special and unique capacity to make mysteries visible, to open a window onto the human imagination, informs her entire oeuvre.

Dawn Ades, Arte Moderno de México. Colección Andrés Blaisten, Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005.

More of this artist