Drawing by Rufino Tamayo | Girl Making Tortillas

Rufino Tamayo drawing

Above is a very interesting and beautiful little drawing by Rufino Tamayo. The work is dated 1929 and was executed with a wonderfully simple economy of line. For example, when Tamayo’s pencil met the paper he created the whole outer arm of the central figure with just one unbroken line, demonstrating a true mastery of drawing. The face is made up with just a few pencil marks that create the eyes, nose, and mouth, yet bring to life the expression on the girl’s face. The head as well was created with just one unbroken line.

Although a wonderful piece in itself, the drawing was created as a working drawing for a larger painting Tamayo executed the same year, in 1929. We had the piece for sometime before we discovered this. The information was revealed to us by Jaun Carlos Pereda who is currently working on the catalogue raisonne for Tamayo. We were helping Pereda with his project, sending him photographs of pieces in our gallery when this little drawing came up and he showed us the oil painting that the drawing was done for, he even knew the name of the girl in drawing.

Rufino Tamayo drawing - Magave Pickers
Rufino Tamayo drawing - Magave Pickers (close up)

In addition to the drawing of the girl making a tortilla, there is another drawing on the back of the same sheet of paper. This drawing was also revealed to us by Juan Carlos Pereda to be part of a series of drawings Rufino Tamayo created for watercolor executed in 1926 titled "The Magave Pickers." It is interesting that Tamayo created this smaller drawing three years earlier, and used the back of the same sheet of paper to plan out the 1929 oil painting depicting two girls making tortillas.

To preserve the drawing on the back, and so that it is not forgotten about, we had a custom frame built, which includes a window in the back of the frame so that the piece can be flipped over allowing the second drawing to be seen. For more information, please see the short video presentation below.