“The Five Musicians”

The five Musicians

Leopoldo Torres Agüero
Argentina, 1925-1995

The five musicians, 1953
Oil on table
125 x 105 cm

Ralli Collection

Leopoldo Torres Agüero

Leopoldo Torres Agüero was born in Argentina in 1924 and died in Paris in 1995. He lived in the province of La Rioja (Argentina) until the age of 17, when he moved to Buenos Aires.

The masterpiece

Three periods can be clearly distinguished in his artistic production: an initial figurative stage, turning later to lyrical abstraction, and the third and final period known as sensitive geometry.

Interested in monumental work from the start of his career, he worked on bank buildings, theatres, and even in a church. He used marble, stainless steel, cloth and jute in his desire to continually experiment with materials.

Interested in monumental work from the start of his career, he worked on bank buildings, theatres, and even in a church. He used marble, stainless steel, cloth and jute in his desire to continually experiment with materials.

Line, synthesis and chance

In the mid-1950s, when Torres Agüero travelled to France, his figurative period had already reached a point at which synthesis was at its height: forms were flat and geometric, with thick lines and strong colours. This manner of experimenting with form brought him closer to movements like Cubism, and his use of colour to Fauvism. His work “Los cinco músicos” corresponds to this period, and can be related to Picasso’s creations if we look closely at both its aesthetics and themes.

He lived in Japan between 1959 and 1962, an experience that was to change him both personally and artistically. There he was to delve deeper into his study of the spontaneity of line, colours, lights and shadows. On his return to Paris he continued bringing all of these ideas to life in his work, further developing the vertical and horizontal lines that he now related to the symbolism of yin and yang; masculine and feminine; the earth and the sky.

His work took the step from lyrical abstraction to geometric abstraction. He developed theories of op-art and kinetic art but using his own personal method in line with his artistic principles. Based on geometric compositions with regular framing and simple forms, he created his own “sensitive geometry”.

Torres Agüero died in Paris in 1995 whilst acting as Argentine ambassador to UNESCO. In his work of this period he was experimenting with depth through large compositions with textures in the backgrounds.