María Izquierdo

La sopera, 1929

Oleo / tela
50.5 x 60.5 cm

La sopera is a visual tour de force, the objects constructed almost entirely in black, white and grey. Silvery highlights on the tureen and the dish with eggs establish their volume against the dark reddish brown of the table. A fine, pale line establishes the contours of the objects and enhances the tonal contrast between light and dark. Without suggesting that Izquierdo was aware of them, La sopera curiously has something in common with similarly dark still lifes by Cézanne and Matisse, also rendered with a loose brush. Similarly Izquierdo here relishes the texture of the paint and the play between pictorial illusion and surface. Izquierdo left the Escuela de Bellas Artes in June 1929, disillusioned by the conservative attitudes of her fellow pupils. Olivier Debroise has noted that La sopera is one of the first paintings in which the influence of Tamayo is clearly visible. She abandons the frontality of works like Retrato de Belem (Blaisten collection) and increases the scale of objects and figures so that they appear fully to occupy the foreground. Her colors become deeper and the paintings altogether become more sensual. La sopera was one of fourteen paintings included in María Izquierdo’s exhibition at the Art Center in New York in November 1930, organized by Frances Flynn Paine, a dedicated supporter of modern Mexican art in the US. This was her first solo show in the United States. She had gone to New York with Rufino Tamayo, whose work was on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, included in the massive "Mexican Arts" exhibition curated by René d’Harnoncourt. None of the paintings in Izquierdo’s exhibition sold, but she and Tamayo spent a month and a half in the city, immersing themselves in the art and popular entertainments of the city, visiting "museos, salas de exposiciones, de concierto, teatros, rascacielos, el barrio negro de Harlem, los parques, jardines zoológicos, Nueva Jersey, el acuario, el cine, Coney Island".

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

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