Francisco Toledo, ‘El Sapo Bufo con Pescado’, 1974, MLA Gallery
Francisco Toledo, ‘El Sapo Bufo con Pescado’, 1974, MLA Gallery
Francisco Toledo, ‘El Sapo Bufo con Pescado’, 1974, MLA Gallery
Francisco Toledo, ‘El Sapo Bufo con Pescado’, 1974, MLA Gallery

This is a very difficult print to find. It is an early print, from 1974, and was published by Daniel Gervis Editions, in Paris, France. This lithograph is in outstanding condition, which is not common for these earlier works. It is signed, lower left, and numbered 3/70.

Francisco Toledo is widely regarded as the most important, elusive and controversial artist working in Mexico today. His art draws on human, animal and mineral life and explores both indigenous, Zapotec, and worldwide cultures. He freely associates direct observations from nature with metaphors from literature and art. The work of Blake, Goya, and the writings of Kafka and Borges have been especially influential.

A protege of Rufino Tamayo, Toledo traveled and lived in Europe, where he worked briefly with William Stanley Hayter, in Atelier 17. He is a printmaker, painter and sculptor. Toledo is a great patron of the arts in Oaxaca, his native state, where he, as the driving force behind Oaxaca's cultural renaissance, has founded museums and art centers. Toledo is passionately engaged with the history and religion of the indigenous Mexican peoples. His work deals with themes of creation, potency, sensuality and metamorphosis, and is often located in the worlds of the spirit where animals and humans freely comingle.

Toledo arrived in Paris aged 19, and was showing in leading galleries throughout Europe and New York within 5 years. Despite his success he returned to Mexico in 1965, with a deep interest in recovering elements of his native Zapotec ethnicity and the cultural mixes particular to the Isthmus region. He has since explored both indigenous and worldwide cultures in his work, freely associating direct observations from nature with metaphors from literature and art. References to Blake, Goya, Ensor, Dürer, Kice, Miró, and writers like Kafka and Borges, become entwined with imagery from popular Indian fables and the political history of Mexico to create strange, harrowing visions like a woman overwhelmed by predatory fish and a human skeleton trapped within a grasshopper. More recently he has concentrated on self-portraits, close anatomical studies of small creatures and clay reliefs that erode in the rain.

Since the eighties Toledo has led a parallel life, actively engaged in social projects, running a publishing house and transforming colonial buildings in Oaxaca into cultural centres. They now house remarkable collections of graphics and photographs, as well as spaces for exhibitions and films and a library for the blind, used by locals and visitors. His original artistic vision, zealous insistence on the holistic role of artists in society and radical cultural interventions have made Toledo a major force in contemporary Mexican art.

Signature: signed lower left and numbered 3/70 lower right.

Publisher: Daniel Gervis Editions, Paris

acquired from a collector in Paris.

About Francisco Toledo

Francisco Toledo has dedicated his multi-disciplinary practice to the preservation and promotion of the arts and crafts of his native state, Oaxaca; Toledo has produced paintings, lithography, engravings, sculpture, ceramics, and designs for tapestries made in collaboration with artisans in Teotitlan del Valle. Toledo was greatly influenced by European artistic traditions—particularly by Jean Dubuffet, Joan Miró, Paul Klee, and Francisco Goya—as well as folk art. His hybrid style is characterized by its exaggerated and fantastical forms, with an emphasis on geometry and texture. He has depicted subjects both observed from nature and borrowed from dreams. Toledo’s mentor, Rufino Tamayo, credited him with the innovation of a new school of expression.

Mexican, b. 1940, Minatitlan, Oaxaca, Mexico