About the chronology

Key events and activities of the life and artistic path of Joaquín Torres-García (JTG) are summarized in this chronology, which encompasses his works, exhibitions, writings, and life events. Other aspects of his career, such as the lectures he gave in Montevideo after his return in 1934, as well as the activities of the Asociación de Arte Constructivo (AAC) and the Taller Torres-García (TTG) are documented in the 1992 exhibition catalogue, El Taller Torres-García: The School of the South and Its Legacy (UT Press).

Only select artworks, exhibitions, and writings by the artist are featured in this chronology.  For more complete information, please browse the catalogue, exhibition, and literature sections of this catalogue raisonné.

The facts in the chronology have been gathered from a wide variety of sources and have been checked against the archives of the Museo Torres-García and those of Cecilia de Torres.  There exist in the public sphere numerous inaccuracies that have been previously published; this chronology has sought to correct those errors.

Chronology:   Early Life and Barcelona: 1890s–1919  //  New York: 1920–22  //  Italy: 1922–24  //  Villefranche-sur-Mer: 1925–26  //  Paris: 1926–32  //  Madrid: 1933  //  Montevideo: 1934–49

Documentary Materials

Documentary
Torres-Garcia's ticket to the Exposition Coloniale, 1931
 
photo (historical)

Installation of paintings in the Salle des Martyres at the Musée Jeu de Paume, Paris confiscated by the Nazis (1941-42)

linked catalogue entries »
 
Family

The artist with his son, Horacio, 1927

 

The artist with his son, Augusto

 
photo (historical)
The artist and his wife in his Paris studio
 
photo (historical)

Unknown seated man with Ifigenia and Augusto Torres dressed in a Native American headdress at Torres-García's Paris home.

linked catalogue entries »
 
photo (historical)

Torres-Garcia's son, Augusto, dressed as a Native American in their home in Paris

linked catalogue entries »
 
Friends
photo (historical)
Group of Latin American Artists in Paris, 1930
 
photo (historical)

Second row left to right: Olimpia Torres (holding Horacio Torres), Augusto Torres, Jean Hélion with pipe, Torres-García, Manolita Pina de Torres (standing behind Torres-García)

 
photo (historical)

Torres-García and Mondrian seated at head of the table

 
photo (historical)

Left to right: Ingeborg Bjarnason, Denis Honegger, Manolita Pina de Torres, Torres-García, Piet Mondrian, Florence Henri, Georges Vantongerloo, and Madam Schall

 
Studio photography

Studio photography while in Paris.

photo (historical)

The artist's Paris studio was located Rue Marcel Sembat

linked catalogue entries »
 
photo (historical)

The artist's Paris studio was located Rue Marcel Sembat

linked catalogue entries »
 
Toys
advertisement
Project for a poster
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1928 Archivo Fundación Torres García, Montevideo

Advertisement for an edition of Aladdin Toys by Torres García for F. Coll.

This project was never realized

linked catalogue entries »
 
advertisement

1930 advertisement for Aladdin Toys

linked catalogue entries »
 
advertisement
Archivo Fundación Torres García, Montevideo

Advertisement in L'Acte magazine, num. 2

Paris, December 1927

linked catalogue entries »
 
advertisement
Archivo Fundación Torres García, Montevideo

Advertisement for the Toys exhibition at Librairie Oliviero

Paris, December 1931

 
artwork
Still Life with Torres García Toy, 1929
Otto Van Rees
Oil on canvas
linked catalogue entries »
 
illustration
Man in a structure
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1929 6 x 3.5 in. Private collection, New York
 
illustration
The Modern Toy
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1928 19.5 x 15.5 cm Private collection, Valencia
 
illustration
Two Figures
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1928 5 3/4 x 4 3/8 in. Private collection, New York
 
letter
Archivo Fundación Torres García, Montevideo

Envelope for a letter sent to Torres García from the Otto Wagner toy factory

Freiburg, Germany 1931

 
object
Cover for Aladdin Toys box
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1928 32 x 24 cm Torres García Collection, Montevideo
 
object

Torres García's newspaper clippings

linked catalogue entries »
 

1926

September 19: JTG arrives in Paris with his family and temporarily shares a studio with the painter Jean Hélion (1904-1987).

November 25: JTG builds and paints a banister on the stairs going to his studio in his new home and studio at 3, rue Marcel Sembat in Paris.

1927

August 3: JTG, friends, and family work full time to complete an order of toys from the Au Printemps department store in Paris.

JTG places an ad for the “Jouets Transformables Aladdin” in the December issue of the magazine L’Acte, no. 2.

American painter John Xceron (1890-1967), whom JTG had befriended in New York, arrives in Paris.

Works

In reaction to the Fauve style of the School of Paris painters, JTG paints portraits, still lives, and urban scenes with heavy impasto and dark, deep colors. He makes a series of ink drawings of commercial products inspired by advertising, in which he juxtaposes letters and images.  He also makes wood figures and assemblages inspired by primitive art.

Exhibitions

May 16: Group exhibition, Galerie Montparnasse, Paris.

June 16: Solo exhibition, Galerie Carmine, Paris. Catalogue with text by Joseph Milbauer.

Writings:

“L’Esclave et l’homme libre” (The slave and the free man). L’Acte (Paris), no. 2 (December).

“Mon Cher Moi.” July, unpublished. 

1928

JTG and his son Horacio attend a performance of the Circus by Alexander Calder (Cirque Calder, 1926-31, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York).

May-June: JTG visits “Les Arts anciens de l’Amérique” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, Paris, a major exhibition of pre-Columbian art in Europe featuring more than one thousand works.

June JTG signs a contract with Atelier Coll, Paris, to manufacture toys.

Hélion introduces JTG to the art dealer G. Bhyne, who subsequently sells JTG’s work.

September: JTG and fellow artists Hélion, Daura, Alfred Aberdam (1894-1963) and Engel Rozier (1885-1965) are rejected by the Salon d’Automne. In protest, they present their rejected work at the “Salon de Refusés: 5 Peintres Refusés par le Jury du Salon d’Automne” (Five Painters Rejected by the Salon d’Automne Jury) at Galerie Marck in November, coinciding with the opening of the official Salon. It draws large crowds and attracts the attention of the press.

JTG meets Dutch De Stijl painter Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931) at the “Salon de Refusés.” The two artists begin a correspondence that continues until van Doesburg’s death in 1931.

JTG attends an exhibition of German De Stijl painter Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962), where he meets Belgian critic and writer Michel Seuphor (1901-1993) and Belgian artist Georges Vantongerloo (1886-1965).

JTG meets the Uruguayan painter Pedro Figari (1861-1938) and the French Uruguayan poet Jules Supervielle.

Works

In one of his most prolific years, JTG records his aesthetic and religious ideas in ideographic illustrated manuscripts. In another stylistic shift, JTG paints urban landscapes made up of planes of color overlapped by a rhythmic drawing that defines the objects. 

Exhibitions

November 3–25: Group exhibition, “Salon de Refusés: 5 Peintres Refusés par le Jury du Salon d’Automne” (Five Painters Rejected by the Salon d’Automne Jury), Galerie Marck, Paris.

December: Solo exhibition, Sala Badrinas, Barcelona.

December 1–7: Solo exhibition, Galerie Zak, Paris. Catalogue with foreword by Waldemar George.

Writings

Entries dated 1928 are unpublished unless otherwise noted.

“L’homme triangle” (Man triangle).

“Décadence et Primitivisme" (Decadence and Primitivism), February 9.  

“Ici à Paris” (Here in Paris).

“L’idée centre de l’homme” (Idea is central to man).

“Ҫa Va!”

“L’inédit" (The unprecedented).

“Je sais ou je vais” (I know where I am going).

“Par telephone” (By telephone).

“La Peinture Vierge” (New painting).

“À la Même Place” (In the same place).

“C’est l’Homme qui Compte” (It is Man that Counts).

“Mise au Point” (Clarification).

“Polarité” (Polarity).

“Actes.” Joia (Barcelona), 1, no. 2 (April): 28-30.

1929

Collaborates with the Polish poet Jean Brzekowski to publish the magazine Art Contemporain. The launch of the first issue takes place at Galerie Zak. JTG donates a painting (subsequently destroyed during World War II) to create a collection for the Lódź Museum, Poland. 

April: Seuphor introduces JTG to the Dutch De Stijl painter Piet Mondrian.

May 13: Van Doesburg writes “Le planisme de Torres García,” which is later published in Montevideo as “El Planismo de Torres-García,” Removedor: Revista del Taller Torres García, no. 16 (January-February 1947).

July: JTG and painter Luis Fernández (1900-1973) visit artists Amédée Ozenfant (1886-1966) and Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957).

August: Augusto Torres works at the Musée d’Ethnographie du Trocadéro, Paris, copying and cataloguing Nazca ceramics.

Collector Katherine Dreier visits JTG in Paris and acquires Docks, 1929 (1929.56); he gives her a number of his drawings of the Independent Artists Ball in New York in 1921. [Dreier’s works are now in the Société Anonyme collection, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut].

September: JTG attends weekly meetings at Seuphor’s studio in Vanves, with artists Vantongerloo, Hans (Jean) Arp (1886-1966), Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943), and Mondrian. They form the group Cercle et Carré (Circle and Square) to counter Surrealism’s increasing popularity and influence.

November: Van Doesburg publishes “Fransche Schilderkunst,” De Groene Amsterdammer, no. 2739, about the evolution of modern art in France, establishing a parallel between Czech painter Frank Kupka (1871-1957) and JTG in their former orientations in figuration and classicism.

Representatives of Cercle et Carré, including JTG, sign a contract with Galerie 23 to present an international exhibition of art and architecture based on geometric abstraction. JTG visits Dalí’s first exhibition at Galerie Camille Goemans; it encourages him to defend abstraction.

December JTG lectures to a group of friends about his experiences in the United States; he reads excerpts from his “New York” manuscript.

Works

JTG paints several compositions in the Neo-Plasticist style. He also consolidates his definitive “Constructive Universalism” system of symbols within a structure.

JTG creates a Stand design, 1929 (1929.107) for the manufacturing firm of Benito Badrinas for the industrial fair in Barcelona.

Exhibitions

Group exhibition, “Exposition Selecte d’Art Contemporain" (E.S.A.C.), organized by Théo and Petro van Doesburg for Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

July 13–August 2: Group exhibition with John Graham, Kakabadzé, Sollento, Tutundjian, Andréas Walser, Zéro, Otto Freundlich, Vantongerloo, “Exposition D’Art Abstrait” (Exhibition of Abstract Art), Éditions Bonaparte, Paris.

October 25–November 25: Salon des Surindépendants,” Paris.

Group exhibition, “Abstrakte und Surrealistische Malerei und Plastik” (Abstract and Surreal Paintings and Sculpture), Kunsthaus Zürich.

October 31–November 15: Group exhibition, “Exposició d’Art Modern Nacional i Estranger” (Exhibition of Modern Art, National and Foreign), Galeries Dalmau, Barcelona. Catalogue with foreword by M. A. Cassanyes.

Writings

“Père Creixams.” La Gaceta de les Arts, May, p. 122.

“Père Daura.” La Veu de Catalunya, June 27.

“Hans Arp.” La Veu de Catalunya, July 19.

“El Veritable Ambient de París: Una conversa amb Léonce Rosenberg” (A conversation with Léonce Rosenberg). La Veu de Catalunya, August 13 & 15.

“Ursprung und Entbindung des Kubismus.” (Origin and Development of Cubism) Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Zurich, no. 2016 (October 20): 7.

“El veritable ambient de Paris: Amadeu Ozenfant."  La Veu de Catalunya, November 21.

1930

As the effects of the Great Depression are felt in Paris, JTG sells no paintings. Instead, he writes articles to make money.

January. JTG meets with artist Joseph Stella (1877-1946) in Paris.

April 15: Publication of the second issue of Cercle et Carré includes reproductions of four works by JTG: Bouteille et Verre (Bottle and Glass),1927, and Masque en Profil (Mask in Profile), 1929 (private collection) and two untitled constructive paintings from 1929.

Artists including Hélion and van Doesburg launch Art Concret as a counterpart to Cercle et Carré.

JTG reunites with Picasso and Julio González.

JTG meets collector A. E. Gallatin and painters George L. K. Morris (1905-1975), and John Ferren (1905-1970).

June-August: The Torres-García family stays with the painter Otto van Rees (1884-1957) and his family in Switzerland. They visit an artists’ commune, Monte Veritá. JTG sells toys in Bern, Zurich, Lugano, and Basel.

September 5: JTG meets with Seuphor in Switzerland where they discuss the direction of Cercle et Carré. The two disagree, and JTG distances himself from the Cercle et Carré group.

Exhibitions

April 11–24: Group exhibition, “Première Exposition du groupe Latino-Américain de Paris” (First Group Exhibition of Latin-American Artists in Paris), Galerie Zak, Paris.

April 18–May 1: Group exhibition organized by JTG and Michel Seuphor, “Primière Exposition Internationale du groupe Cercle et Carré” (First International Exhibition of the Cercle et Carré Group), Galerie 23, Paris.

December: Group exhibition, Salle d’Art Castelucho Diana, Paris.

Writings

“Foi” (Faith), January 5, unpublished.

“Una conversa amb Georges Braque” (A Conversation with Georges Braque). Mirador (Barcelona) 2, no. 56  56 (February 20): 7

“Vouloir construire” (A will to construct). Cercle et Carré (Paris), no. 1 (March 15).

“Theo van Doesburg” La Veu de Catalunya, Barcelona April 11 and 30.

“Conversa amb Waldemar George” (A Conversation with Waldemar George). Mirador, no. 77 (July 17): 7.

“L’orientació que deu prende la pintura” (The orientation painting has to take). Mirador, no. 85 (September 11).

“Pintors d’ Ascona” (Ascona painters). Mirador, no. 87 (September 25): 7.

“El pintor Gilberto Bellini” El Imparcial (Montevideo), November 8.

“Dessins d’enfants”(Children’s drawings). Style, Recherche sur la morphologie comparée des arts (Paris), no. 1 (1930-31).

1931

Van Doesburg dies in Switzerland.

JTG’s exhibition at Galerie Jeanne Bucher receives highly favorable reviews. Artists Max Ernst, Pedro Figari, Otto Freundlich, Joan Miró, Mondrian, Vantongerloo, and van Rees, attend the opening.

Works

This was a seminal year in the concretion of JTG’s Constructive Universal idiom, which combined the abstract Neo-Plastic grid with pictographic symbols. In many wood constructions he experiments with including texture and relief. Some wood figures have incised, painted, or superimposed grids.

Exhibitions

January 30–February 14: Solo exhibition, Peintures de Torres-García,” Galerie Jeanne Bucher, Paris.

June 26–July 9: Group exhibition, Casa de Catalunya, Galerie Billiet, Paris.

October 14–31: Group exhibition, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris.

November 30–December 12: Solo exhibition, Galerie Percier, Paris.

December: Solo exhibition, Librairie Oliviero, Paris.

Solo exhibition, Galerie Jean Charpentier, Paris.

December 19, 1931–January 9, 1932: “Exposició Collectiva de pintura i escultura” (Group Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture), Sala Badrinas, Barcelona.

Writings

“Père Soleil,” signed July 29 [Montevideo: Fundación Torres García, 1974].

“Reflexions sobre Arquitectura ” (Thoughts on architecture). Mirador 3, no. 134 (July 27).

"Au clair de la lune: Poemes by Pierre Birrot," April, hand-lettered with drawings, unpublished.

“Lipchitz le sculpteur cosmogonique," in Lipchitz and the Avant-Garde: from Paris to New York (exhibition catalogue). Champaign, IL: Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.

 

1932

April: Gallatin purchases Composition, 1929; Street, 1930; Head, 1930; and Construction, 1931, the first sculpture in his collection, from JTG in his studio. [All are now in the A. E. Gallatin Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art].

September: As the economy worsens, JTG is unable to earn a living as an artist in Paris.

October JTG travels to Madrid with Fernández seeking a teaching position.

Guillermo de Torre publishes “La pintura de Torres-García” in the first issue of the Madrid magazine Arte.

December: The Torres-García family moves to Madrid. The decision to leave Paris is very difficult.

Exhibitions

June 27–July 10: Group exhibition, Galerie Zak, Paris.

March: Solo exhibition, Galerie Pierre, Paris.

October: Group exhibition, Salon de Surindépendants, Paris.

Writings

“Nôtre Boussole de Navigateur dans la Vie,” unpublished.

“Raison et Nature” [Paris: Editions Iman, 1951 (first edition)][Montevideo:Ministerio de Educacion y Cultura, 1974 (second edition)][Montevideo: Fundacion Torres-Garcia, 1981 (third edition)]

“Del Esoterismo en el Arte,” unpublished.

“A t’il la foi?,” unpublished. 

"Structures," album of cutout images (no text), unpublished.

Chronology:   Early Life and Barcelona: 1890s–1919  //  New York: 1920–22  //  Italy: 1922–24  //  Villefranche-sur-Mer: 1925–26  //  Paris: 1926–32  //  Madrid: 1933  //  Montevideo: 1934–49
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: de Torres, Cecilia and Susanna V. Temkin. "Paris: 1926–32." Joaquín Torres-García Catalogue Raisonné. http://www.torresgarcia.com/chronology/index.php?name=Paris (accessed November 24, 2017).
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