(1874 - Montevideo, Uruguay - 1949)
An emblematic figure of the doctrine and movement of Constructive Universalism, the painter and sculptor Joaquín Torres García is now one of the most famous artists of Uruguay.
Born on July 28, 1874 in Montevideo, Uruguay, Joaquín Torres García left his native country for Spain. During his studies in Barcelona, he met Pablo Picasso and Julio González. In 1903, he collaborated with Gaudí in the construction of the Sagrada Familia, for the elaboration of the stained glass windows, as well as the decoration of the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca.
After a short trip to France and Belgium (1910), he returned to Montevideo before spending two years in New York (1920-1922). A tireless traveler, he soon returned to Europe and discovered Futurism during his stay in Italy. In 1924, he decided to settle for a time in Paris and soon became part of the abstract avant-garde. Helped by Michel Seuphor, Joaquín Torres García collaborated in the birth of the Cercle et Carré group in 1929.
Five years later, he returned definitively to Uruguay, he was passionate about pre-Columbian art, whose influence was now reflected through his pictorial work. This new source of inspiration encouraged him to gradually detach himself from European artistic influence.
Promoted a professor in 1943, Joaquín Torres García opened the Academy of Constructive Art, whose success and influence were decisive for young Uruguayan artists. He undertook the publication of the journal Circulo y Cuadrado. He soon published his autobiography, Historia de mi vida (1939), then a theoretical work entitled Universalismo constructivo (1944). At the end of the 1940s, he founded his own studio, in which he produced a series of murals with artists and published the magazine Removedor. With the exception of the Parisian period of Cercle et carré (1930-1932), Torrès-Garcia remained essentially figurative while integrating neoplastic elements into his compositions.
He died on August 8, 1949 in Montevideo while preparing two exhibitions for the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York and others at the Pan American Union in Washington.