Taller Torres-García

Cecilia de Torres, Ltd.
Oct 3, 2018 6:21PM


Considered the most significant Latin American workshop of its time, the TTG was founded by the artist Joaquín Torres-García and was dedicated to the teaching and dissemination of his concept of Universalismo Constructivo (Constructive Universalism). Over the course of twenty years (1943 to 1962), the workshop produced numerous artworks in this idiosyncratic style, which bridged European modernism and ancient American artistic traditions. While paintings, sculptures, and drawings by TTG members are today included in museum and private collections across the world, less well known is the workshop's production of decorative and applied arts.

Torres-García and Universalismo Constructivo: An Introduction

Torres-García believed that Constructive Universalism, the name he gave to the signature style for which he is today known, could serve in modern times as the model for a unified aesthetic that would pervade all aspects of life. Born in Uruguay in 1874, the artist was trained in Barcelona's academies and later pursued his artistic career in New York (1920-1922), Tuscany (1922-1925), and the South of France before settling in Paris in 1926. There, he was in contact with such artists as Theo Van Doesburg, Jean Hélion, and Piet Mondrian, and co-founded the group, Cercle et Carré with Michel Seuphor in 1929. It was around this time that Torres-García developed Constructive Universalism, a theory and style characterized by the representation of ideas by means of graphic symbols embedded in a modernist grid.

According to Torres-García, symbols are the only form of figuration compatible with the geometric structure. Man and his universe are at the center of his theory, which like in Egyptian, Mayan, and Incan arts has a unique and distinctive visual vocabulary. As with these ancient cultures, Constructive Universalism was not limited to painting and sculpture, but could also be applied to architecture and objects of everyday use.

When the market crash hit Paris in 1932, Torres-García left for Madrid. Within a year, he once again embarked and returned to his native Uruguay after forty-three years abroad. It was only after arriving in Montevideo in 1934 that he was able to realize his vision of Constructive Universalism as a unified practice encompassing all of the arts: painting, sculptures, murals, decorative and applied arts.

Cecilia de Torres, Ltd.