Rivera, Botero, Lam, Matta, Torres-García . . . they're all there thanks to a generous long-term loan to the MFAH from noted Venezuelan collector Tanya Capriles de Brillembourg.
Part of the museum's ongoing efforts to draw Latin American art into a more global discussion of modernism, the exhibition brings together some 100 works to explore the way in which artists sought the bridge the many avant-garde movements flourishing on both sides of Atlantic throughout the last century.
As such, Intersecting Modernities offers a rare glimpse at legendary artists operating outside of their signature style. You see a young pre-mural Diego Rivera working as a colorful cubist, and '60s-era Fernando Botero incorporating elements of Pop Art.
At the center of the show are a pair of rooms respectively filled with pieces by Roberto Matta and Wifredo Lam, two towering giants of Latin American art whose work is rarely seen in the U.S. in these numbers.
Some measuring at least five feet high, Matta's drawings might be mistaken for expansive canvas works.
The Matta room is dominated by large-format drawings created during the Chilean artist's time in New York City during the 1940s, a period marked by his transition from works on paper to the oil paintings that would mark his mature career.
Many measuring almost five feet across, the drawings might be mistaken for expansive canvas works until one notices Matta's trademark biomorphic squiggles are sketched out in pastel and graphite on brown paper. Be sure not to miss 1945's Splitting of the Ego, a sort of Freudian take on Picasso's Guernica from the previous decade.
Featuring nearly 20 paintings and drawings, the Lam room delves into the most pivotal moments of the artist's development in the 1940s and '50s — charting the manner in which he fused his experiences with the avant-garde in France and the United States with the Afro-Cuban traditions of his native Havana.
Intersecting Modernities: Latin American Art from The Brillembourg Capriles Collection will be on display at the MFAH's Beck Building through Sept. 2, 2013.