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The Cover
January 9, 2002

Abstract Art in Five Tones and Complementaries

Author Affiliations

The Cover Section Editor: M. Therese Southgate, MD, Senior Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2002;287(2):159. doi:10.1001/jama.287.2.159

Despite a 43-year absence from his native country, Joaquín Torres-García (1874-1949) is known as Uruguay's "Father of Modern Art." Born and reared near Montevideo, he was the son of a Catalan carpenter father and an Uruguayan mother. Because of financial reverses, the family returned to the father's native city of Mataro in Catalonia when the boy was 17. Shortly thereafter he began his first art training, in Barcelona. Before he was 30 he was collaborating with Spain's greatest architect, Antoni Gaudí, on Gaudí's life-long work, Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, and on the stained glass at the cathedral of Palma Mallorca. For the next three decades, until he was 60, Torres-García remained an expatriate, living and working principally in France and Spain, but in the United States as well. He became a friend of Piet Mondrian, whose linear grids inspired him, and Theo van Doesburg, who would also play an important role in his development, but more in opposition than in conformity. Torres-García began incorporating squares in his paintings, a compositional device that would become his signature.