The Modern World During and After the World Wars, C. 1914–1960

Modern Art in Latin America

Who was Xul Solar?

“Xul Solar” was the pseudonym of Argentinean avant-garde artist Oscar Augustin Alejandro Schultz Solari (1887–1963). In Latin, the word for “light” is lux, the reverse of which became his name. Much of Xul Solar’s work is either unknown or unseen by the public as he worked on small watercolor paintings that were rarely exhibited during his lifetime. His work is indebted to European modernism, and Solar was particularly influenced by Paul Klee, but it is also infused with the artist’s personal interest in mysticism and indigenous culture. Paintings such as Jefa (Patroness) (1923) are brightly colored and incorporate figurative imagery with abstract form and symbols, such as numbers and the Jewish Star of David. Xul Solar’s work, which also included sculpture and writing, is an example of the ways in which Latin American artists took European modernism and made it their own.


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