Matador (1965) by Carlos Irizarry, oil on canvas, original frame

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Matador (1965) by Carlos Irizarry, oil on canvas, original frame

7,200.00

Born in Puerto Rico, Irizarry emigrated to New York and studied at the School of Art and Design in the 1940's. In 1968 he returned to Puerto Rico, where he co-founded the National Center for the Arts in San Juan and created Gallery 63, which was dedicated to promoting avant-garde art. In 1976 he was imprisoned in the United States for an act of artistic expression of a subversive nature, as he spoke out on behalf of civil rights and puerto rican sovereignty. 

His early works, such as the stunning canvas seen here, after more than a decade studying at the NYS and in the era of abstract expressionists like Pollock and de Kooning, gives us a glimpse at the artist's internal dialogue between the contemporary and the traditional. He employs the multilayered, thick knots of paint achieved through gesture as well as large expanses of color, quotations from abstract expressionist masters of the day, like Pollock and Rothko, not to mention Hans Hoffman, but retains the traditional figuration, subject and tenebrism of the Baroque old world ..with his matador, foreshortened and in high contrast, standing almost outside of the picture plane, the billets of his jacket and shoulder entering the viewers space. Yet this juxtaposition of old subject and new concoction is magical in its own right, as the artist creates an image and experience that retains a palpable and coherent figural expression of emotion. Yes, this feeling is the familiar manifestation of isolation in the modern world, with the yellow background serving to alienate the figure that occupies the rest of the completion much like that of Degas in his 1875 Place de la Concord, which both buoys and suffocates the flaneur as he makes his way through Paris. 

Here Irizarry, by employing the iconic, pop imagery of the Matador, the national sport of his nation's earliest colonizers in the contemporary manner of his nation's current colonizers, the USA, the victorious figure, much like the work as a whole, reveals the vulnerability and liminality of his nation-state, nation's identity and tradition, both new and old, in the 20th century. 

Irizarry would return to Puerto Rico only a year or two after this composition to spread his radical message, both political and aesthetic, across the island. 

Upon his return to PR, Irizarry became the first Puerto Rican artist to work in the photo-silkscreen process. The use of photographs and juxtapositions of images were constants in his work from the 1970's onward as was bold geometric expansion of color and long line. 

With this early oil on canvas works, Irizarry gives us a rare glimpse of the inner life of a young artist that has mastered his craft and is setting his sights on what his larger message might be and what tactile form that message will take. 

Truly gorgeous work. 

- Otto Binx April 2018

Carlos Irizary passed away in the summer of 2017. 

COLLECTIONS;

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART 
METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
MUSEO DEL BARRIO 
PONCE MUSEUM OF ART
INSTITUTE OF PUERTORICAN CULTURE, PAINTING & PRINT COLLECTION.
UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO, PAINTING & PRINT COLLECTION
PUERTO RICO MUSEUM OF ART, PAINTING & PRINT COLLECTION.

PRIVATE COLLECTIONS
ANDY WARHOL
DR. ANGEL LUIS RODRIGUEZ ROSADO
DR. RICARDO ALEGRIA
HENRY GELDZHALER, EX-DIRECTOR AMERICAN ART, METROPOLITAN MUSEUM NY
PABLO RODRIGUEZ
CHILO ANDREU
LUIS A. FERRE
CHASE MANHATTAN BANK
EXXON CORPORATION
FIRST FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK
R.J. REYNOLDS, INC.

INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITIONS:

1963 - CARAVAN HOUSE GALLERY, NY.
1965 - ALLAN RICH GALLERIES, NY.
1966 - GALERIA 63, SAN JUAN, PR.
1968 - LA CASA DEL ARTE, SAN JUAN, PR.
1970 - MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, SAN JUAN, PR.
1971 - UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO, MAYAGUEZ, PR.
1972 - CARLOS IRIZARRY ART STUDIO, SAN JUAN, PR.
1974 - GALERIA COLIBRI, SAN JUAN, PR.
1979 - COLEGIO DE ABOGADOS, MIRAMAR, PR.
1981 - GALERIA ANDRE, HATO REY, PR.
1983 - MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, SAN JUAN, PR.
1989 - MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY, SAN JUAN, PR.
1992 - MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS, SAN JUAN, PR.
1994 - GALERIA GOTAY, SAN JUAN, PR.
2000 - MUSEO DEL BARRIO, NY.
2006 - GALERIA CANDELA, SAN JUAN, PR.
2008 - MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS, SAN JUAN, PR

COLLECTIVE EXHIBITS:

1967 - TIBOR DE NAGY GALLERY, NY.
1968 - LA CASA DEL ARTE, SAN JUAN, PR.
1969 - FIRST BIANNUAL OF LATIN AMERICAN PRINTS, SAN JUAN, PR.
1970 - ASSOCIATED AMERICAN ARTIST, NY.
HARRY N. ABRAMS GALLERY, NY.
1971 - SECOND BIANNUAL OF LATIN AMERICAN PRINTS, SAN JUAN, PR.
"THE ARTIST AS ADVERSARY" MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NY.
1972 - "THE ART HERITAGE OF PUERTO RICO", THE METROPOLITAN
MUSEUM OF ART, NY.
INTERNATIONAL ART BIANNUAL, MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA.
INTERNATIONAL PRINT BIANNUALS: TOKYO, JAPAN, 
YUGOSLAVIA, AUSTRIA,VIENNA.
1973 - INTERNATIONAL PRINT EXHIBITIONS: CRACOVIA, POLAND, SPAIN.
INTERNATIONAL DRAWING EXHIBITION: 
MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, YUGOSLAVIA.
THIRD BIANNUAL OF LATIN AMERICAN PRINTS, SAN JUAN, PR.
INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION OF PRINTS, ARGENTINA.
1974 - INTERNATIONAL ART EXHIBITION, SAO PAULO, BRAZIL.
1975 - EXXON TRAVELING ART EXHIBITION, USA & SAN JUAN, PR.
1976 - CASA DE LAS AMERICAS, HAVANA, CUBA.
1978 - CHASE MANHATTAN BANK, HATO REY, PR.
1979 - INSTITUTE OF PUERTORICAN CULTURE, SAN JUAN, PR.
1980 - EXXON TRAVELING EXHIBITION, USA & SAN JUAN, PR.
1983 - MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, SAN JUAN, PR.
1985 - UNIVERSITY OF EL TURABO, PR.
1986 - PONCE ART MUSEUM, PONCE, PR.
1986 & 1987 - UNIVERSITY OF PUERTO RICO, RIO PIEDRAS, PR.
1987 - MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NY.
MUSEO DEL BARRIO, NY.
ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES ART MUSEUM, 
WASHINGTON, DC.
1988 - BRONX MUSEUM OF ART, NY.
"COMMITED TO PRINT", MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NY.
1989, 1992 - "A DIFFERENT WAR: VIETNAM IN ART;


TRAVELING EXHIBITIONs:

WHATCOM MUSEUM OF ART & HISTORY, BELLINGHAM
CORDOVA MUSEUM, LINCOLN, MASSACHUSETTS.
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY,EVASTON, ILLINOIS.
AKRON MUSEUM OF ART, AKRON OHIO.
MADISON ART CENTER, MADISON, WISCONSIN.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.
DAVENPORT MUSEUM OF ART, DAVENPORT, IOWA.
COLORADO UNIVERSITY, BOULDER, COLORADO.
MUSEUM OF ART, STATE UNIVERSITY OF WASINGTON, PULLMAN.
MUSEUM OF ART, MIAMI UNIVERSITY, OXFORD, OHIO. 

1991 - FOURTH INTERNATIONAL BIANNUAL ART EXHIBITION, CUBA. 
1992 - SEVILLA EXPO, PUERTO RICO PAVILION, SEVILLA, SPAIN.

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