Rufino Tamayo, born in Oaxaca on August 26, 1899, was one of the main artists to define modern painting in Mexico. After working for more than 25 years in the United States and Europe, he returned to Mexico in 1964, where he founded two museums. Tamayo was primarily a painter of easel work, but he also painted murals and created graphic arts. With the Mexican painter and engineer Luis Remba, Rufino Tamayo expanded the technical and aesthetic possibilities of the graphic arts by creating a new genre of limited edition printing, which they named Mixografia.
Rufino Tamayo had little formal schooling and spent most of his time drawing, often heading to the National Museum to sit and sketch the archeological treasures of Mexico. At 17, he attended a commercial art school. In 1926, he has his first one man show in Mexico and soon after had his premier in New York. He spent his next ten years in New York teaching at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and producing a prolific body of work. Throughout Tamayo’s seventy year career, the human body, especially the female, was an object of constant aesthetic reflection. This resulted in an extensive gallery of female nudes on canvas and in some of his most renowned graphic works.
The Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum, located in Mexico City, was opened in 1981 for the collections that Rufino Tamayo and his wife acquired during their lifetimes, and ultimately donated to the nation.