Agustin Lazo

Mexico City, 1896 - Mexico City, 1971

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Agustin Lazo was born in Mexico City in 1896. He was an artist, painter, designer, and playwright. He was considered the pioneer of surrealism in Mexican art by several specialized historians.

Agustin Lazo began his art studies at the Escuela al Aire Libre (Open Air School of Painting) in Santa Anita, founded by Alfredo Ramos Martinez in 1913. In 1917, he briefly attended the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, formerly Academia de San Carlos, along with Rufino Tamayo, Julio Castellanos and Gabriel Fernandez Ledesma, studying under the teaching of Saturnino Herran.

He lived in Paris for a short time in 1922. He visited Europe again in 1925 and then lived there from 1927 to 1931. He spent his time in Europe traveling in France, Italy, Belgium and Germany, visiting museums and studios of various avant-garde artists, where he met artists like Max Ernst and Giorgio de Chirico. He spent most of his time in Paris sharing a studio with Alfonso Michel in Montparnasse.

When he returned to Mexico, he continued painting and became a drawing teacher at the Escuela Nacional de Pintura, Escultura y Grabado, La Esmeralda. He began to live with his old partner, the poet Xavier Villaurrutia. In 1940, he presented some works in the International Surrealist Exhibition in Mexico, along with works by Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Victor Brauner, Oscar Dominguez, Esteban Frances, Rene Magritte, Andre Masson, Roberto Matta, Joan Miro, Cesar Moro, Wolfgang Paalen, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Man Ray, Remedios Varo, Kart Seligmann, Yves Tanguy, as well as some Mexican artists like Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Carlos Merida, Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, Roberto Montenegro, and Antonio Ruiz El Corcito.

Although he grew up during the era of the Mexican Revolution, his time in Europe established his aesthetic towards the avant-garde movements of that continent, rather than towards Mexican muralism. He was part of the group Los Contemporaneos, which included artists, writers and intellectuals. This group rejected the "simple art of messages" and, although patriotic, preferred to distance themselves from the politicized art of Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros, as well as the expressionism of Jose Clemente Orozco. They were more influenced by the fantastic realism and metaphysics of Giorgio de Chirico, as well as by surrealism. Artists in this line include Rufino Tamayo, Abraham Angel, Antonio Ruiz El Corcito, Miguel Covarrubias, Carlos Orozco Romero, Julio Castellanos, Alfonso Michel, Jesus Guerrero Galvan, Maria Izquierdo and, to some extent, Frida Kahlo. Agustin Lazo was one of the few artists of the time who never painted a single mural, not even as an assistant.

Agustin Lazo died in Mexico City in 1971.


Agustin Lazo Main Solo Exhibitions


1926 First exhibition in a building in Madero Av.,catalog prologue by Xavier Villaurrutia, Mexico City

1927 Casa Cervantes, catalog texts by Xavier Villaurrutia and Jorge Cuesta, Mexico City

1932 Agustín Lazo: 20 tintas de los años 1928-1932, prologue by Xavier Villaurrutia, Mexico City

1932 Bocetos para escenografía de Agustín Lazo, Galeria Posada, Mexico City

1971 Homenaje a Agustín Lazo, Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City

1982 Agustín Lazo, con motivo del Homenaje Nacional a los Contemporáneos, Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City

2009 Agustín Lazo, Las Cenizas Quedan, Centro Cultural Universitario Tlatelolco, Sala de exposiciones temporales de la Colección Blaisten, Mexico City