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Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

Works of art from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean range from ancient cultures to cutting-edge artists of today. Among the highlights are the Glassell Collection of Pre-Columbian Gold and the museum’s growing collection of modern and contemporary art by Latin American and Latino artists.

© Estate of Francisco Matto
Uruguayan, 1911 - 1995
Venus blanquiazul
White and Blue Venus
c. 1979
Oil on wood

96 x 13 3/4 x 12 inches

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Gift of Alfred C. Glassell III and Marli Andrade, Mary and Roy Cullen, Marjorie H. Wortham, Joanna and Richard W. Wortham III, and the Caroline Wiess Law Foundation

Arts of Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean

Uruguayan painter, sculptor, muralist, and collector Francisco Matto lived and worked most his life in the River Plate. Venus blanquiazul, part of his Totems series from the late 1970s, is a culmination of Matto's explorations into freestanding forms as constructive and autonomous works, as well as expressions of the metaphysical nature of art, an intrinsic philosophical and conceptual tenet for the School of the South artists.

Matto's interest in ethnographic work began in 1932 when he traveled to Argentina and Tierra del Fuego, setting in motion a lifelong dedication to the study and collecting of Pre-Columbian art. In 1942, Matto, who was by then a primarily self-taught artist, became a member of the workshop El Taller Torres-García and soon began working on wood constructions, which continued throughout most of his life.