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Al gran pueblo argentino...[To the Great Argentine Nation...]

20th century
176 cm x 145 cm (69 5/16 in. x 57 1/16 in.)

José Antonio Fernández-Muro (Madrid, Spain, 1920 – 2014, Madrid, Spain) Primary

Object Type: painting
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Argentinean
Medium and Support: Acrylic wash over aluminum foil gilt construction on canvas
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of John and Barbara Duncan, 1971
               Accession Number:                G1971.3.19             
Object Description: José Antonio Fernández-Muro rose to national attention in Argentina as a pioneer of the lyrical geometrical abstraction common in the 1950s. His work of the period already showed an interest in the tension between strict geometry and more tactile expressions. Then in 1963 he moved to New York, where he began to use metal foil to emboss signs and manhole covers for inclusion in his work, thus introducing elements from the real world while still keeping a commitment to formal geometry. Here he has placed the foil manhole cover among a jumble of letters and numbers embossed from street signs. The whole has an urban, gritty feel, but the arrangement of the elements in the image also recalls the Argentine national flag, a reference that is underscored by the title, which comes from the national anthem: "Al gran pueblo argentino, salud! [Good health to the Great Argentine People!]." To complete the quoted reference, the word salud ("good health") appears written out along the bottom of the painting. While the overall somber mood of this work may seem to suggest a difficult or complex relationship to his homeland, the artist has denied any overt political intention in his work.

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