Wood Planes of Colour, 1929

Joaquín Torres García

Madera Planos de Color

Torres García, Joaquín

Montevideo, 1874 - 1949

Wood Planes of Colour, 1929

© Sucesión Joaquín Torres García, Montevideo, 2015

Signed & dated on reverse
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid

Oil on wood with incisions

43,2 x 20,3 cm

CTB.1999.20

Artwork history

  • Royal S. Marks, New York

  • Sotheby’s Auctions, New York, lot 13,  November 23,  1992

  • Gmurzynska Gallery, Colonia

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

1999 - 2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, p. 192

2000

Del post-impresionismo a las vanguardias. Pintura de comienzos del siglo XX en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Valencia, IVAM Centre Julio González, n. 53, p. 172

2000 - 2001

Heterotopías. Medio siglo sin lugar: 1918-1968, Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, p. 284

2001 - 2002

Abstracción: El paradigma amerindio, Bruselas, Palais des Beaux-Arts; Valencia, IVAM Centre Julio González, n. 30

2002

Joaquín Torres-García. Un monde construit, Estrasburgo, Musée d'Art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg, p. 86

2002 - 2003

Joaquín Torres-García. Un mundo construído, Madrid, Fundación ICO, p. 92

2009 - 2010

Joaquín Torres-García. Constructing Abstraction with Wood, Houston, The Menil Collection; San Diego, San Diego Museum of Art, n. 39, pp. 22 y 227

2014

L'ideal en el paisatge. De Meifrèn a Matisse i Gontxarova. Col·lecció Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, fundació Privada Centre d'Art Col·lecció Catalana de Sant Feliu de Guíxols, p. 126, lám. p. 127

2015 - 2017

Joaquin Torres-García. The Arcadian Modern.The Museum of Modern Art, New York (October 25, 2015-February 15, 2016), Espacio Fundación Teléfonica, Madrid (May 19-September 11, 2016) & Museo Picasso, Málaga (October 10, 2016-February 5, 2017). p. 73 lam, p. 212.

2017 - 2018

César Paternosto. Hacia una pintura objetual. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Cat. 6, p. 32-33 (Ilus.)

2018 - 2019

Géométries Sud, du Mexique à la Terre de Feu. Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France. p. 76-77.

  • -Sotheby’s (aut. corp.): Nineteen Works by Joaquín Torres-García from the Estate of Royal S. Marks. [Auction Cat.]. New York, November 23, 1992, n. 13, lám.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 306, lám. p. 307 [Sheet by Tomàs Llorens]

  • -Ramírez, Mari Carmen: “Against the Grain”.  Houston/San Diego 2009-2010, pp. 9-12, cit. p. 11-

  • -Ramírez, Mari Carmen: “A Constructed Precariousness. Abstraction Against the Grain”. Houston / San Diego 2009-2010, pp. 32-49, cit. p. 42.

  • -Joaquín Torres-García. Constructing Abstraction with Wood. Ramírez, Mari Carmen (ed.). [Exhib. Cat. Houston, The Menil Collection – San Diego, San Diego Museum of Art, 2009-2010]. Houston, Menil Foundation, Inc., 2009.

  • -Joaquin Torres-García. The Arcadian Modern.The Museum of Modern Art, New York (October 25, 2015-February 15, 2016), Espacio Fundación Teléfonica, Madrid (May 19-September 11, 2016) & Museo Picasso, Málaga (October 10, 2016-February 5, 2017). p. 73 lam, p. 212. [Exhib. Cat.]

  • -César Paternosto. Hacia una pintura objetual. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, 2017, Cat. 6, p. 32-33 (Ilus.).[Exhib. Cat.].

  • -Géométries Sud, du Mexique à la Terre de Feu. Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France, 2018. [Exhib. Cat. Fondation Cartier]  p. 76-77.

Expert report

Throughout 1929 Joaquín Torres-García, who had been living in Paris since 1926, took part in the creation of an international group of abstract artists. Taking over from Neoplasticism, this new group, definitively constituted in 1930 with the name Cercle et Carré, intended to contrast the growing influence of Surrealism. As a consequence of this project, which took up a much of his time, Torres-García met some Dutch painters who were then living in Paris, among whom were Mondrian, Vantongerloo and Van Doesburg. The influence of Neoplasticism, present in his work from that moment on, would be one of the fundamental factors in his mature artistic style, which he attained in 1930.

The main element Torres-García adopted from Neoplasticism was the orthogonal pattern of horizontal and vertical rectangles, an element that will remain a constant feature of his subsequent oeuvre. Other evidence of the neoplastic influence can be found in a small group of works executed around 1929, in which he experimented with basic colour planes typical of the Dutch trend. The painting we are analysing is related to this group, not only in its orthogonal pattern but also in its irregular perimeter; this can also be found in at least two other works of the same group painted, like this one, on wood. Yet in this piece Torres-García abandoned the basic colours and chose a dark palette, with very warm and subdued hues. This range of colours is precisely the most striking feature of Wood Colour Planes. Its chromatism as well as the meticulous handling of the support-carved with a gouge, tinted with very diluted oil paint, and rubbed to show the wood grain-enable us to see in this work an outstanding illustration of the process through which Torres-García moved away from Neoplasticism and adopted the trans-cultural and primitivist abstraction that characterised his mature style.

Tomàs Llorens