Tamayo, Rufino (rōfēˈnō tämäˈyō) [key], 1899–1991, Mexican painter, b. Oaxaca. Considered one of the leading Mexican artists of the 20th cent., Tamayo first gained his reputation in the United States and in Europe before he was acclaimed in his native land. Less interested than Rivera or Siqueiros in an art of social message, Tamayo concentrated more on the formal and decorative elements of painting. Strong influences from cubism and fauvism are apparent in Tamayo's work, as well as elements from Mexican folklore. Characteristic examples are Women of Tehuantepec (1939; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo), and his murals at Smith College, Northampton, Mass. (1943), which are brilliantly colored and whimsically drawn. His work of the 1950s produced a powerful strain of abstract expressionism.
See O. Paz, Rufino Tamayo (tr. 1979); J. Corredor-Metheos, Tamayo (1987).