Exhibition Details

Location: Orme Lewis Gallery
Dates: October 2, 2013
to December 31, 2013


The mystic artist Xul Solar (1887-1963) was born Oscar Agustín Alejandro Schulz Solari in Buenos Aires. First educated as a musician and later as an architect before working as a schoolteacher, he traveled throughout Europe, where he adopted the pseudonym Xul Solar, a play on Schulz Solari, with a nod to the brilliant luminosity of the sun.  As an artist, both as a painter and a sculptor, Solar first exhibited his work in Milan in 1920, and thus began an expansive, imaginative career and body of work. Often incorporating elements of astrology and Eastern religions, his art features an ethereal, mystical quality. 

Solar met Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) in 1924, after both returned to Buenos Aires from Europe. Borges, a short story writer, essayist and poet, also born in Buenos Aires, was known for his engagement with philosophical literature as well as the elements of magical realism that pervade his work. The two men met through the the literary and artistic circles of the journal-magazine Martin Fierro. In the search of a new Argentine identity, Borges and Solar, along with other martinfierristas developed a Neo-Creole identity that fused European modernism with Argentine nationalism and gaucho culture.

Including works rarely seen outside of Argentina, this exhibition tells the story of the creative symbiosis that resulted from a lifelong friendship and intellectual exchange between Argentines Xul Solar, artist, and Jorge Luis Borges, writer. It includes paintings, publications, letters, and other objects, which illustrate the influence each creator had on the work of his confidant. Both men are considered two of the most important cultural figures of the 20th century in Buenos Aires, whose impact on art, literature and Argentine culture is still felt today.

The exhibition is organized by the Museo Xul Solar, Buenos Aires, and the Americas Society, New York, and is curated by Gabriela Rangel, Director of Visual Arts and Chief Curator at Americas Society. Its Phoenix premiere is organized and directed by Vanessa Davidson, PhD, Curator of Latin American Art at Phoenix Art Museum.

Exhibition Related Programming

Symposium | Xul Solar and Jose Luis Borges in Context: Art, Architecture, Literature, and Pop Culture in Buenos Aires, 1920-1940

Image Credits

Left: Astral Chart of Jorge Luis Borges, Pencil on paper. 11.5 x 14.5 cm. Museo Xul Solar Collection Right: Xul Solar. Proa (Boceto), 1925, Mixed media. 30.5 x 22.5 cm. Collection Fundación Pan Klub

Exhibition Sponsors

Exhibition generously sponsored by: The Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation