Works of prominent Latino printmaker on display at TMA
What better place to display artwork by an artist whose last name is Toledo than
at the Toledo Museum of Art?
Mexican artist Francisco Toledo -- whose last name is pronounced toe-LEY-doe like the Spanish city for which Ohio’s Glass City was named -- is considered “one of the most important printmakers of his generation anywhere in the world,” said Amy Gilman, the TMA’s associate curator of modern and contemporary art and organizer of the exhibit.
A total of 35 works on paper, along with two small bronze sculptures, have been assembled for the “Mexico’s Toledo” exhibition on display from March 12 to May 9 in the Toledo Museum of Art’s Gallery 18.
In addition to prints from the museum’s collection and two of his small bronze sculptures, the free exhibit will include art works on loan from several area collectors, including Harold Douthit, the publisher of The Press, and his wife, Mary, of Sandusky, along with Mary Dawson, Felix Sampayo and Jerry Runkle. Many of these works have never before been seen in public.
“We had been discussing doing a Francisco Toledo exhibition for some time because it seems like a great coincidence of name,” Gilman said. “Also, the museum looks to present exhibitions that highlight aspects of our permanent collection that might not be on view all the time.
“As we talked about it over the last couple of years, we learned through relationships with local collectors that there were a number of people in the area who had Toledo pieces,” Gilman said.
“I knew of a couple of people who had been collecting, but I didn’t necessarily
An untitled etching by Francisco Toledo
know how extensive that was,” she said. “In the case of Mr. and Mrs. Douthit, I had no idea that they’d been collecting Toledo over decades. They are an important reason why this exhibition is happening.
“One of the things we like to show periodically is that people in the community are collectors ¬– that great works are not just found in the museum,” she said. “You want to be able to have loans to an exhibition that are from people who could live next door to you.
“It’s great to demonstrate to our viewers how accessible collecting can be, that you can collect things that are wonderful and worthy of being shown in the museum,” Gilman said.
Toledo’s work “marries Western and European tradition with his indigenous ancestry,” Gilman says, “and shows an appreciation for the aesthetics of nature.”
Myth and Native American folktales where humans interact with indigenous animals are often found in Toledo’s works, Gilman says. He also incorporates “nagual” -- the belief that there is an animal counterpart to which all humans are linked through life forces, she says.
“Many of the animals that appear in his works appear again and again and again – he will often use snakes, frogs, chickens, crabs, all of which appear various ways in our exhibition,” Gilman said. “All the animals he uses are native to Mexico or have flourished there. Often they have connections to water, fertility and transformation – a recurring them in his work.
“There is an earthy, seductive quality to his dreamlike scenarios, both menacing and playful, full of pattern and movement,” Gilman said.
Museum officials noted that the exhibition contains content of an adult nature and cautioned viewer discretion is advised.
Born in 1940 in Oaxaca, Mexico, Toledo moved to Mexico City at age 15. Five years later, he went to Europe and learned printmaking and engraving from British master Stanley William Hayter. He returned in 1968 to Oaxaca, where he has remained since -- drawing inspiration for his art from his native land and ethnic heritage.
Gilman says the exhibit is worth a visit as Toledo “is one of the most prominent artists in Mexico today.”
The exhibit is part of the museum’s array of free public programs, which are made possible thanks to the support of TMA members and the Ohio Arts Council’s sustainable grant program.
Admission is free to the museum, which is located at 2445 Monroe at Scottwood just one block off I-75 with exits marked. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.
For more information, call 419-255-8000 or 1-800-644-6862 or visit www.toledomuseum.org.