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Joaquín Torres-García

Uruguayan   •  1874 -1949


Joaquín Torres-García was born in Montevideo and moved to Barcelona with his family, studying at the Escuela Oficial de Bellas Artes. The Catalan Noucentismo movement provided the foundation for his artistic development. His work was also influenced by Neo-Plasticism, Cubism and Vibrationism, which fused Cubism and Futurism with urban imagery.

Torres-García returned to Uruguay after a 43-year absence. While at home, he continued to develop his iconic style of Constructive Universalism, a chief contribution to modernism that affected many younger generations of Uruguayan artists. This style aspired to establish a universal structural unity through synthetic abstraction. In order to accomplish this, Torres-García synthesized rather than analyzed the quotidian elements and urban scenes from reality. While remaining in the world of figuration, he integrated abstraction's structural grids within the composition, also incorporating pre-Columbian aesthetics.


  • Torres-García's belief in the importance of South and North American schools of modern art stimulated him to found the Association of Constructivist Artists, where he taught artists in Montevideo about avant-garde art movements such as Cubism.

  • Torres-García had an obsessive interest with wood as an artistic medium, as it related to his youth in Uruguay where his father used to work the sawmill in his family's shop.

  • The Museum of Modern Art in New York held Torres-Garcías's first major retrospective in the United States in 2015.

"All the classics have been contemporary in their era...have been men of their era. We too must be men – like them – of the present – of our era."

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