Joaquín Torres-García's Influence on Jean Hélion and Sergio de Castro

Rosenberg & Co.
Oct 12, 2016 3:04PM

How two artists on either side of the Atlantic found a friend and an inspiration in Uruguayan master Joaquín Torres-García. 

As demonstrated in the Museum of Modern Art's recent retrospective The Arcadian Modern (2015-2016), Uruguayan artist Joaquín Torres-García was one of the most influential artists of the past century, serving as an intermediary between the European and Latin American avant-garde. As one of the fathers of international Modernism, he was a mentor for artists across continents, including the French painter Jean Hélion, and the Argentinean artist Sergio de Castro

Jean Hélion met Torres-García in 1926, when Torres-García moved into the Paris apartment of Jean Hélion and his wife Jean Blair. The two men soon became friends, and Torres-García introduced Hélion to Modern art, specifically Cubism. Over a decade after meeting Torres-García, Jean Hélion painted Composition Abstraite, demonstrating that his interpretation of Cubism continued to evolve throughout his life.

Three years later, in 1939, Joaquín Torres-García and his family moved back to Uruguay, and it was there that he met the young Sergio de Castro. Sergio de Castro, who had recently moved to Uruguay from his native Argentina, was only seventeen at the time, but Torres-García recognized in him a great artistic talent. 

Although de Castro had moved to Montevideo to study music, Torres-García introduced him to the visual arts. Soon, de Castro began to study painting under Torres-García's guidance. Just like Jean Hélion, Sergio de Castro learned the foundations of Modernism from Joaquín Torres-García, which he then applied to create his own uniquely abstracted compositions, such as L'Atelier Gris


—Elliott Brooks


Jean Hélion's Composition Abstraite is included in "Cubist Perspectives," which is on view at Rosenberg & Co., New York, Sep. 14 - Dec. 21, 2016. 

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