Artists of the Mexican Revolution 3: the Life

From exhibitions at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016 and the Whitney Museum of (North) American Art in 2020, and the collections  of other North American museums.


The Whitney noted that many of the works shown here have in our time been criticized for their idealized and stereotypical portraits of indigenous and rural populations in Mexico;   





Homage to the Indian Race, 1952, acrylic and oil on four Masonite panels. 

Rufino Tamayo. Loaned to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016 by the Museo de Arte Moderno, INBA, Mexico City. Photo from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


The figure represents a flower seller from Tehuantepec: a symbol of place and race.  



that, however, in the decades following the Revolution, these images marked the rejection of the veneration of the European heritage of Mexico; a veneration which the revolutionaries identified as oppressive.




 Pre-Columbian imagery;  Italian fresco paintings; the images of Roman Catholicism as they evolved in meso-America; Cubism; the Surrealists and Paul Cézanne are some of the work and artists acknowledged by some of these artists for their influence. 


The work of these painters had a significant effect on North American art. 


Mexico preceded the Soviet Union to be the first country to have officially linked the  didactic and propagandistic functions of  the graphic arts to social change.  This use of the graphic arts was not lost on some North American painters who began to address the urgency for social change in the US in their own work detailing the history of their country.


Techniques evolved by David Alfaro Siqueiros and  the stylistic innovations of José Clemente Orozco found a willing student in Jackson Pollock who transmuted them into the abstract expression which has revolutionized the artistic tradition. 




Artists in this blog:

José Guadalupe Posada 1851–1913    

Mardonio Magana, 1868-1947  

Alfredo Ramos Martinez, 1871-1946  

Roberto Montenegro, 1885-1968  

Diego Rivera, 1886-1957

Saturnino Herran, 1887-1918 

Adolfo Best Maugard,1891-1964 

Antonio Ruiz, 1892-1964   

Tina Modotti, 1896-1942 

Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, 1896-1971  

Rufino Tamayo, 1899-1991   

David Alfaro Siqueiros, 1896-1974   

Emilio Amero, 1901-1976   

Maria Izquierdo, 1902-1955   

Lola Alvarez Bravo, 1903-1993 

Miguel Covarrubias, 1904-1957 

Juan O’Gorman, 1905-1982 

Frieda Kahlo, 1907-1954 

Jose Chavez Morado, 1909-2002  




Adoration of the Virgin and Child, 1912-’13, oil on canvas. 

Diego Rivera, 1886-1957, Mexican.  Loaned to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s 2016 exhibition:  Paint the Revolution:  Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950




The Offering, 1913, oil on canvas. Photo from the net

Saturnino Herrán.  Loaned by the Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, Mexico City to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2016





Peasants, c. 1913, pastel on paper.  Photo from the net

David Alfaro Siqueiros.  Loaned by the Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, Mexico City to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016. 

A work of his student days.






Flower Seller, c. 1916, pastel on paper on canvas. Photo from the net

Alfredo Ramos Martinez.  Private collection loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2020





La Noche Mexicana, 1922, oil on cardboard. 

Adolfo Best Maugard.  Private collection on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016







The Powdered Woman, 1922, oil on canvas. 

Adolfo Best Maugard.  Private collection on loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016






Head of a young woman facing the viewer, c. 1924, woodcut. 

Maria Marin de Orozco, active 1920s, died after 1984, Mexican.  Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY







Man and Woman, oil  on canvas, 1926. 

Rufino Tamayo.  Philadelphia Art Museum







Maya Women,  1926, oil on canvas.

  Robert Montenegro.  Loaned By MOMA, NY to the Whitney, NY in 2020 







Dance in Tehuantepec, oil on canvas. 1928.

  Diego Rivera.  Loaned by a private collector to the Whitney, NY in 2020







Woman of Tehuantepec”, c. 1929, gelatin silver print. 

Tina Modotti.  Philadelphia Museum of Art.









Girls in Profile, 1929, oil on canvas. 

Manuel Rodrigo Lozano.  Loaned by the Museo de Aguascalientes, Mexico to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2016







Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita, 1931, encaustic on canvas. 

Diego Rivera.  Loaned by MOMA, NY to the Whitney, NY in 2020






The Flowered Barge, 1931, oil on canvas. 

Diego Rivera.  Loan by the Museo Dolores Olmeda to the Whitney Museum, NY in 2020








Pneumatic Drilling, 1931-32, charcoal on paper. 

Diego Rivera.  Loaned by the Museo Dolores Olmeda, Mexico City to the Whitney, NY in 2020






Boy with Dog, 1932, lithograph. 

Diego Rivera. Philadelphia Art Museum 

A detail from a fresco, The Rains, which forms one part of the murals created by Rivera for the Ministry of Education in Mexico City.






Untitled (Study with Glasses and Circles), c. 1932-33, gelatin silver print. 

Emilio Amero, 1901-1976, American.  Exhibited at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016








Nude Woman Seated, 1935, oil on canvas. 

Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, 1896-1971, Mexican.  On display at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016






George Gershwin in a Concert Hall, 1936, oil on canvas. 

David Alfaro Sequieros.  Loaned by the University of Texas at Austin to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016. 

The two became friends in 1935 in Mexico City.  This was painted in New York the following year.  The audience hall of the Metropolitan Opera House has been much enlarged in this painting.  Sequeiros himself is seated at the extreme left of the front row along with family and friends.






 Bicycle Race, 1938, oil on canvas,

Antonio Ruiz. Philadelphia Museum of Art





Carnival at Huejetzingo, 1939, oil on canvas. 

Jose Chavez Morado, 1909-2002, Mexican.  Phoenix Art Museum on loan to the Philadelpha Museum in 2016






The Malinche (Young Girl of Yalala, Oaxaca), c.1940, oil on canvas.

Alfredo Ramos Martinez.  Loaned by the Phoenix Museum of Art to the Whitney, NY


  Museum guidance: La Malinche, Malintzin in her native Nahuatl, is a contradictory character in the history of Mexico. 

Sold into slavery as a child, she and 19 others were given to Hernan Cortez.  She became a gifted translator in Mayan, Nahuatl and Spanish.  She became chief advisor to and translator for Cortes, by whom she had a child.

  Her reputation oscillates between that of a quisling and that of the revered mother of one of the first mestizos. 






Mother with a Child on Her Back, carved stone, 1943.

Mardonio Magana,  Mexican, 1868-1947. 

A man who worked as a porter and began carving when he was 56.  Taken up by Diego Rivera and others, his work was well received north and south of the border.






Our Lady of Sorrows, 1943, oil on board.

María Izquierdo.  Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Photo from the net.






 Pietà in the Desert, 1942, fresco on metal frame.

 Manuel Rodríguez Lozano.  Loaned by Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016.


Rodríguez Lozano had been falsely accused of stealing three prints from the School of Fine Arts when he was director.  He was imprisoned in the Lecumberri Prison in Mexico City where Sisquieros had also been imprisoned 20 years before.  The prints were later found. 

Rodríguez Lozano painted this on the prison walls from which it was later removed.






Prison of Lecumberri, after 1913, metal-engraved print. 

Jose Guadalupe Posada. Philadelphia Art Museum







Flower Vendor, late 1940s. 

Miguel Covarrubias.  Private collection loan to the Whitney Museum in 2020.






Mexico City, 1949, tempera on Masonite.Photo from the net.

Juan O’Gorman. Loaned by the Museo de Arte Moderno, INBA, Mexico City to the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016






Freeloaders, c. 1955, gelatin silver print. 

Lola Alvarez Bravo. Metropolitan Museum, NY





Frieda Kahlo is the most well-known exponent of her native civilization and its material culture;


often expressing her appreciation through intimate revelations of her own psychology.


A courageous woman, she lived a life marked by physical pain and long periods of immobility;  and her tumultuous relationship with her husband, Diego Rivera.





Self-Portrait in Velvet, 1926, oil on canvas. 

Frieda Kahlo.  Private collection on loan to the Philadelphia Museum in 2016




My Grandparents, My Parents and I (Family Tree), 1936, oil and tempera on zinc. 

Frieda Kahlo.  The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia










Fulang-Chang and I, 1937, assembled after 1939; oil on composition board (1937) with painted mirror frame (added after 1939); and mirror with painted mirror frame (after 1939). 

Frieda Kahlo,  MOMA, NY


This self-portrait of Frida Kahlo with a pet monkey was exhibited in 1938 in New York in her first exposition there.

The artist later gave this painting to her close friend, Mary Sklar.  First she attached a mirror so that her friend could be with her, if she wished. 






Two Nudes in a Forest, 1939, oil on metal. 

Frida Kahlo, 1907-1954, Mexican.  On display at the Philadelphia Art Museum in 2016.

  A representation of the artist’s view of human nature as dualistic: composed of opposing features. The image has also been read as the intimacy of Mexico’s races.






Me and My Parrots, 1941, oil on canvas.

Frieda Kahlo.  Private loan to the Whitney, NY in 2020