Xul Solar Argentine

Not on view

Born in Argentina and trained in architecture and music, Xul Solar became a polymath with a peripatetic lifestyle, including a long European tour from 1912 to 1924. The watercolors of miniature scale that came to define Solar’s signature style derive from an eclectic iconography that was inspired by stories and myths adapted from a wide array of philosophical and spiritual traditions spanning ancient cultures, astrology, literature, anthropology, and alchemy. At first, the artist’s delicate works depicted natural scenes, but his subject matter became more esoteric over the years, as well as charged with an increasingly vibrant palette. In Sol, the geometricized figure of a man represents the embodiment of the sun god. His highly stylized body contorts as he stretches toward the sky, raising a solar disk in his hands. Words in Spanish scattered throughout the composition read: "sun," "never stop," "even if the earth and sun stink, be pugnacious." The influence of Futurism and Neoplasticism is particularly significant in Solar’s work during the 1920s, and this work likely captures the profound cultural changes and intellectual debates that characterize the early years of the twentieth century, including the utopian aspirations for a new art and a new world. After twelve years of travelling between London, Paris, Italy, and Germany, in 1924 Solar sailed from Hamburg back to Argentina where he immersed himself in the local avant-garde circles of Buenos Aires, continuing a prolific career as a visionary painter, sculptor, and writer until the early 1960s.

Sol, Xul Solar (Argentine, San Fernando 1887–1963 Tigre), Watercolor and opaque watercolor with graphite on paper

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