Mexico: 1942. Portrait of a musician playing a violin. In Very Good minus condition. Housed in Very Good condition wooden frame with brown and beige matting. Dimensions in frame: height 66.5cm x width 58.5 cm. Dimensions measured: 35 cm x 41.1cm.
Gouache on very thin tissue paper. Paper fragile with slight warping and crinkling. Small tears and chips detached to each corner from mounting. Signed and dated "Ricardo Martinez de Hoyos -42" in bottom right corner.
With a slip from the Galería de Arte Mexicano, Mexico City.
Arts & Antiques
Ricardo Martínez was born in 1918, the thirteenth among sixteen children, many artistic. He studied briefly at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the Academy of San Carlos but stayed only briefly. Largely self-taught, he became close friends with many contemporaries, including Federico Cantú, Francisco Zúñiga, Jean Charlot, Juan Rulfo, Luis and Lya Cardoza, and Gabriel Garcia Márquez.
The piece was a gift from Martinez to his close friend and sweetheart Perky Hannaford and has remained with the family since. Hannaford worked at the US embassy during WWII to convince Mexicans to come to the USA to fill gaps created by the war.
This work predates his first solo exhibition, held at the Galería de Arte Mexicano on May 17th, 1944, although this piece was presumably exhibited there previously. While his later work was significantly influenced by "the shapes he saw once and again in pre-Columbian sculptures and masks, of which he had a large collection, and which appeared and would have a constant presence on his canvases from the early 1950s," his earlier works focused more on Mexican landscapes and portraiture. (Aurora Yaratzeth Avilés Garcia, “1940-1980. From the Quest for to the Definition of a Style,” in Ricardo Martínez, a 100 años de su nacimiento, Mexico City, 2018). The style represented in Violinista vanished from his works in the late 1950s, replaced by his trademark style. "There are no longer landscapes as such to be found...He starts simplifying his themes and modifying his colour palette, the new era of voluminous figures began. His subjects will be reduced mostly to the human figure, always with a colour background which can spring from a gray becoming white, a blue accompanied by black and by white lines, by light and shadows." (Miriam Kaiser, “Ricardo Martínez and Nature” in Ricardo Martínez, a 100 años de su nacimiento, Mexico City, 2018)
Martinez's oeuvre contains a oil on canvas (40.6 x 36.8 cm) of the same title, of which this piece is presumed to be a preliminary piece.
We wish to thank the Fundación Ricardo Martínez for their kind assistance in confirming the authenticity of this piece. A digital Certificate of Authenticity from the Fundación accompanies this piece.