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Carlos Orozco Romero

Retrato de Patricia, 1937

Oleo / tela
71.5 x 61.5 cm
COR009

Strikingly different from his aesthetically experimental paintings like Dream [Sueño], 1939 (Blaisten Collection), Carlos Orozco Romero’s Portrait of Patricia belongs to a more traditional and realist current in his artistic production, namely his portraits. This seated girl, who gazes out at the viewer, is his niece Patricia Barreda Marín, a daughter of his brother- and sister-in-law, writer Octavio Barreda and Carmen Marín, who owned the painting until it entered the Blaisten collection. Both Orozco Romero and Barreda were married to sisters of Diego Rivera’s second wife Guadalupe Marín. Patricia wears a simple gold dress, its color repeated and heightened in the orange she holds in her hand. A fan-shaped bow links the ends of two braids on top of her head. The girl’s seated three-quarter pose indicates that Orozco Romero consciously drew on the classical conventions of formal portraiture. This painting, however, is very much a modern portrait. Orozco Romero places Patricia against a bare bluish-gray background, suggesting the work was painted in the artist’s studio and not an upper-class home. Known for his ability to reveal his models’ psychological states, here he captures the uncertainties of adolescence. The girl returns the viewer’s (and the artist’s) gaze with a guarded wariness, much unlike the look of confidence we see in Orozco Romero’s Portrait of María [Retrato de María] (Museo de Arte Moderno), a 1953 portrait of the artist’s wife. While Portrait of Patricia and Orozco Romero’s other portraits are realist images, they also contain key elements that appear in his more avant-garde work; Patricia’s almond-shaped eyes and elongated neck and fingers, for example, are even more exaggerated in other paintings. This work shares its overriding architectonic structure with other compositions as well; a former caricaturist, Orozco Romero frequently reduced the human figure to essential, stylized elements, which he carefully arranged in a relationship to the blank background in the same way he organized architectural and figural elements in other paintings.

Vide. Courtney Gilbert, Arte moderno de México. Colección Andrés Blaisten, Mexico, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005.

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Francisco Díaz de León Fund