Sensual and poetic ink on paper drawing of a woman's head and hands, 16" by 16 3/4" inside the mat (23 1/2" by 24" as framed), signed at lower right by important Mexican twentieth century artist FEDERICO CANTU (1908-1989). This is a work of an artist who is relatively obscure today, due to a variety of reasons, including a lack of self-promotion, but in 1934 he exhibited with the likes of Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Jean Charlot, Jose Orozco and David Siqueiros, all major Mexican painters and muralists. Cantu was schooled in an institution run by another major artist, Alfredo Ramos Martinez, in the early 1920's. Between 1924 and 1934 he traveled widely in the USA and Europe, and was exposed to many artists and movements. In later years, rather than producing portable oils that would spread his reputation widely, he was often to be found painting murals for private homes. Despite having worked in the shadows of these giants, the quality of Cantu's work has shown through, and today his paintings have brought large sums at Sotheby's and Christie's Latin American art auctions. The present work is a powerful modern drawing, with subtle shading and economy of line. There is some pencil sketching beside the ink lines. Despite the lack of color, it is a complete work of art in and of itself. Condition: there are handling creases, and a few sharp creases in the paper, most notably at upper right, extending diagonally from her forehead to the edge, two parallel lighter vertical creases at right center, and a horizontal less sharp crease at upper left. In addition there are two foxing marks in the left half of the composition. A paper restorer could likely remove or mitigate these issues. I have not to date examined the work out of the frame. See the net for much more information on Cantu.
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