Joaquín Torres-García. Construction in White and Black. 1938

Joaquín Torres-García

Construction in White and Black


Oil on paper mounted on wood
31 3/4 x 40 1/8" (80.7 x 102 cm)
Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in honor of David Rockefeller
Object number
Painting and Sculpture
This work is not on view.
Joaquín Torres-García has 11 works online.
There are 2,314 paintings online.

This painting belongs to the series of gridded, bichromatic, abstract compositions Torres–García made between 1935 and the early 1940s. In this work, irregular, geometric forms evoke primal architectonic structures, and the dramatic contrast between light and shadow on the many planes creates an effect of depth and volume. The painting reflects the artist's deep engagement with the indigenous art and architecture of the Americas and, in particular, his interest in Incan stonework. The strong shading in each rectangular compartment gives the impression of stacked blocks, visually mimicking Incan masonry.

Gallery label from New Perspectives in Latin American Art, 1930–2006: Selections from a Decade of Acquisitions, November 21, 2007–February 25, 2008

This work is included in the Provenance Research Project, which investigates the ownership history of works in MoMA's collection.
Estate of the artist, Montevideo, Uruguay, 1949; by inheritance to Olimpia Torres-Garcia, Montevideo, Uruguay; Galerie Gmurzynska, Cologne, 1989; acquired by Rolf and Margit Weinberg, Zurich, Switzerland; sold through Sotheby's, New York (Sale 7140) [1].

[1] See auct. cat. Paintings from the Rolf and Margit Weinberg Collection, Sotheby's New York, May 13 and May 27, 1998, p. 46 and de Torres, Cecilia and Susanna V. Temkin. "Construcción en blanco y negro, 1938 (1938.01)." Joaquín Torres-García Catalogue Raisonné. (accessed December 3, 2015).

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