Ramos Martinez - Súplica (1942)

Ramos Martinez – Súplica (1942) – Tempora and charcoal on newsprint – 57x42cm

“Súplica” is the first painting I saw by Alfredo Ramos Martinez. A work of tempera on newsprint.
I was greatly intrigued, imagining some inspired naive artist who was very poor and working with the few materials available. As well, the drawing intrigued me, and the emotion expressed was very strong. As I became more aware of his work, my interest and appreciation developed into a full blown infatuation.

Ramos Martinez - Cerca de Ixmiquilpan (1933) - gouache and crayon on paper - 54x 70cm

Ramos Martinez – Cerca de Ixmiquilpan (1933) – gouache and crayon on paper – 54x 70cm

 

Ramos Martinez is a Mexican artist who began precociously and initially studied at the  Academia National de Bellas Artes  in Mexico City. In 1897 he went to France and stayed until 1910. There he witnessed the post-impressionist and  modernist avant-garde upheaval in art. Also where, by odd circumstances when he ran out of sketch paper, he started his occasional habit of working on newsprint which continued throughout the rest of his life.  When back in Mexico, Martinez became the Director of the National Academy and started Open Air Schools of Painting. So definitely not an unsophisticated naive artist.

Ramos Martinez - Untitled (1935) - gouache and crayon on newsprint - 53x40cm

Ramos Martinez – Untitled (1935) – gouache and crayon on newsprint – 53x40cm

In 1930 he moved his family to Los Angeles when his daughter was diagnosed with a medical problem that required special treatment. They settled in Los Angeles and his daughter was successfully treated.

One very interesting thing about his biography from the point of view of understanding art and the origins of its quality, is how he produced his most successful and high quality work while living separate from the original source of his inspiration. This situation did not hinder his inspiration or the quality of his work. It is possible that  once separated from Mexico, he wasn’t distracted by the literal reality of Mexico and could go more directly to his sentiment and emotion to produce such effective art.

This work he produces in California shows the remnants of a cubist influence, particularly with backgrounds, and in his method of outlining forms by abutting a very light tone against a very dark one. His figures do not get the extreme cubist treatment and are more in keeping with post-impressionist and fauvist influences.

Ramos Martinez - Untitled (Labrador) circa 1944

Ramos Martinez – Untitled (Labrador) circa 1944 – tempera and crayon on newsprint – 57x44cm

Ramos Martinez - Flower sellers (circa 1933)

Ramos Martinez – Flower sellers (circa 1933) – gouache, pastel, and charcoal on cardboard – 77x63cm

 

Ramos Martinez - Zapatista (1931)

Ramos Martinez – Zapatista (1931) – tempera and crayon on newsprint – 56x43cm

Ramos Martinez - El Pequeno Mercado (circa 1943)

Ramos Martinez – El Pequeno Mercado (circa 1943) – tempera on newsprint – 58x43cm

 

Ramos Martinez - La Capillita

Ramos Martinez – La Capillita – tempera on newsprint – 46x43cm

 

3 Responses to Ramos Martinez (1872-1946)

  1. admin says:

    You raise an interesting consideration. I have no reference for Ramos Martinez’s technique. He may have simply applied the paint and let the aging coloration of the newsprint takes its course; certainly in the beginning as he only thought of it as a sketch, and you can see that in the painting “Zapatista” above. Eventually the newsprint was stuck on some support and a medium can be used to help protect the newsprint. Framing under glass will also help to protect it from the aging process. Try google painting on newsprint.

  2. Dennis kiernan says:

    Do you know anything about how he kept the newsprint from drying out and falling apart the way old newspapers do?
    DK

  3. Katherine says:

    Pretty insightful. Thanks!

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