New York: 1920–22

About the chronology

Key events and activities of the life and artistic path of Joaquín Torres-García (JTG) are summarized in this chronology, which encompasses his works, exhibitions, writings, and life events. Other aspects of his career, such as the lectures he gave in Montevideo after his return in 1934, as well as the activities of the Asociación de Arte Constructivo (AAC) and the Taller Torres-García (TTG) are documented in the 1992 exhibition catalogue, El Taller Torres-García: The School of the South and Its Legacy (UT Press).

Only select artworks, exhibitions, and writings by the artist are featured in this chronology.  For more complete information, please browse the catalogue, exhibition, and literature sections of this catalogue raisonné.

The facts in the chronology have been gathered from a wide variety of sources and have been checked against the archives of the Museo Torres-García and those of Cecilia de Torres.  There exist in the public sphere numerous inaccuracies that have been previously published; this chronology has sought to correct those errors.

Chronology:   Early Life and Barcelona: 1890s–1919  //  New York: 1920–22  //  Italy: 1922–24  //  Villefranche-sur-Mer: 1925–26  //  Paris: 1926–32  //  Madrid: 1933  //  Montevideo: 1934–49

Documentary Materials

Documentary
photo (historical)

Unknown Catalan publication with a photograph of members of the Centre Nacionalista de New York.  Torres-Garcia is depicted seated in the rightmost chair at the front.

 
photo (historical)

Go Pony

 
Family
photo (historical)
 
Photographs of the artist
photo (historical)
Torres-Garcia in his New York suit for the 1921 Artist's Ball
linked catalogue entries »
 
photo (historical)

The artist, c. 1920

 
Toys
advertisement

Advertising poster for Go-Pony!

linked catalogue entries »
 
chart

The Go-Pony mechanism patented by Torres García

New York, 1922

linked catalogue entries »
 
illustration
Aladdin Toys Bird I
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1921 8.4 x 5 cm
linked catalogue entries »
 
illustration
Aladdin Toys Bird II
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1921 8.4 x 5 cm Torres García Foundation, Montevideo
linked catalogue entries »
 
illustration
Black Man with Black Cap
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1921 21 x 18 cm
 
illustration
Cabezas
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1920-21 32 x 15 cm Torres García family collection, Montevideo

 

 

 
illustration
Cochecitos
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1922 10 x 24.5 cm Private collection, Barcelona
linked catalogue entries »
 
illustration
Details of New York Streets
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1921 28 x 21.5 cm Ifigenia Torres, Montevideo
 
illustration
New York
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1919 28 x 22 cm Estate of Augusto Torres, Montevideo
 
illustration
Port, City, and Ship, New York
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1920-22 13 x 21 cm
 
illustration
Scenes of Daily Life
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1920-22 28.2 x 20.4 cm Collection Torres García family, Montevideo
 
illustration
Scenes of Daily Life II
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1921-22 28 x 21.6 Collection Torres García family, Montevideo
 
illustration
Scenes of Daily Life III
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1920-22 28 x 21.6 cm Collection Torres García family, Montevideo
 
illustration
The Best American Toys
Joaquín Torres García
Ink on paper, 1921 16 x 20 cm. Private collection, Madrid
linked catalogue entries »
 
illustration
Trams, Cars, and Buses
Joaquín Torres García
Pen on paper, 1921-22 13.3 x 21 cm Collection Torres García family, Montevideo
 

1920

JTG studies English. His former neighbor, Montoliu, writes him from South Carolina, encouraging him to come to America to develop the toy business.

April: In New York, artist and avant-garde patron Katherine S. Drier, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray found the Société Anonyme, the first space devoted to contemporary art in the United States.

May: A dinner is held in JTG’s honor on the occasion of his departure to New York. En route the family takes a train to Paris, where he is met by Miró, visits Picasso and Vollard, and travels to Brussels to see Argentinean writer Roberto Payró and Belgian painter Degouve de Nuncques (1867-1935).

June 16: JTG and family arrive in New York. They are met by Cebriá de Montoliu, who introduces him to American painter and author Walter Pach (1883-1958), one of the organizers of the first Armory Show. JTG rents Pach’s apartment and through him meets the painter Charles Logasa (1883-1936), who introduces him to the Society of Independent Artists and the painter James Daugherty (1887-1974).

Works

In his paintings he is weaving city images and words into a pictorial structure, a scaffolding of vertical and horizontal lines; these works anticipate his constructivist style.

Writings 

“Fets” (Events). Noucents, no. 3,supplement of El Dia, Terrasa, July 17.

“Apunts sobre Nova York” (New York notes). La Publicidad, July 30.

“New York.” La Publicidad, September 4.

“New York, los Artistas”(New York artists). La Publicidad, October 2.

1921

January: Katherine Dreier and her sister, Dorothea, purchase three works from 1920: the paintings New York City: Bird's Eye View and New York Docks, and a collage, New York Street Scene, for the Société Anonyme (now in Yale University Art Gallery).

February: JTG meets artists Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Stella.

March: Louis Bouché, director of the Folsom Galleries, arranges for JTG to meet Juliana Force, director of the Whitney Studio Club. There JTG meets John Graham and the composer Edgar Varèse (a friend of Julio González); the three will later get together in Paris. JTG meets American and international artists John Xcéron, Morris Kantor, Abraham Walkowitz, and Max Weber.

Stella, a founder of the Society of Independent Artists, invites JTG to the Society’s yearly costume ball at the Waldorf-Astoria. JTG wears white canvas overalls painted with a maplike overview of New York in black, green, and red. The costume received notice in the March 12 issue of The New York Times.

May: JTG founds the Artists’ Toy Makers Company in association with Dover Farms Industries and files a patent for the Go-Pony, a hobby horse with a mechanism that advanced it forward as it rocked, which is granted in August 1922.

June: JTG moves Uptown to 522 West 161st Street.

Works

JTG paints a portrait of artist Joseph Stella, 1921 (1921.08).

May: Inspired by America’s Popular Culture, JTG resumes designing toys, such as Funny People, a set of toys inspired by the cartoon characters Mutt and Jeff, painted in bright, unmixed enamel paint.

Exhibitions

February: Group exhibition, “Fifth Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists,” The Waldorf-Astoria, New York.

April 16–May 15: JTG sends Business Town, 1920 (1920.03), a street-scene painting (no. 24 in the catalogue), Spanish Town (unidentified; no. 4 in the catalogue), Fourteenth Street, 1920 (1920.09) (no. 44 in the catalogue) and Fashion (unidentified; no. 84 in the catalogue), to “Later Tendencies in Art” at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Exhibition, Philadelphia.

April 25–May 2: Group exhibition with Stuart Davis and Stanislaw Szukalski, Whitney Studio Club, New York. Both Davis and JTG exhibit works featuring imagery from advertising and labels of brand-name products. The exhibition is reviewed by Hamilton Easter Field, New York Times, May 1, and David Lloyd, “Notes on Some Current Art Exhibitions,” New Evening Post, April 30.

May: Force exhibits JTG’s didactic toy prototypes at the Whitney Studio Club in an effort to help him find a company to manufacture and distribute the toys.

Writings

“Sobre la personalitat i l’obra d’En Nicolas Roerich” (On the work and personality of Nicolas Roerich). Catalonia (New York), February, no. 1.

“El pintor J. Torres-García habla de su arte y de sus proyectos” (The painter Torres-García talks about his art and his plans). Unsigned interview, La Prensa (New York), March 10.

“Rafael Sala: Pintor.” La Prensa, New York. April 13.

May: JTG completes the manuscript “New York” [Montevideo: HUM/Museo Torres García, 2007; prologue by Juan Fló].

1922

May: JTG visits sculptor, collector, and founder of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in her studio in New York.

Chronology:   Early Life and Barcelona: 1890s–1919  //  New York: 1920–22  //  Italy: 1922–24  //  Villefranche-sur-Mer: 1925–26  //  Paris: 1926–32  //  Madrid: 1933  //  Montevideo: 1934–49
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
Citation: de Torres, Cecilia and Susanna V. Temkin. "New York: 1920–22." Joaquín Torres-García Catalogue Raisonné. http://torresgarcia.com/chronology/index.php?name=New%20York (accessed March 29, 2017).
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