Mexican Artists

Overview Artists
  • José Guadalupe Posada
  • Diego Rivera
  • Rufino Tamayo
  • Frida Kahlo

Diego Rivera (1886 - 1957)

This famous Mexican artist was born in 1886 on December 8, to a family of modest income in the city of Guanajuato. His talent for drawing developed as he got older and went to school and at age 10, his family moved to Mexico City. Here he was awarded with a government scholarship to attend the San Carlos Fine Arts Academy, where he studied until 1902. An important influence during these years was José Guadalupe Posada, in whose studio he worked.

His first exhibition was held in 1906 which turned out to be a huge success with the public. This opened doors for him, with the government of Veracruz offering him a scholarship to continue his studies in Madrid, Spain. Rivera spent the next several years in Europe, studying and traveling around France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Great Britain. This experience brought new influences into his work from the Cubist and Post-Impressionist movement.

With international events unfolding, Rivera became interested in the revolutionary movements and became part of the movement that took hold in his home country. He wished to express the events, ideas and hopes of the Mexican Revolution and began studying fresco and mural techniques. He traveled to Italy in 1920 to study the Renaissance frescoes preserved there. Back in Mexico, he took part in the founding of the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors in 1922 and also joined the Mexican Communist Party.

During the 30’s Rivera’s success led him to the United States, where he worked for a considerable time and where he presented many of his works in art shows and galleries. He was also commissioned to create the murals on the Detroit Institute of Art and on the Rockefeller Center in New York. The latter was later destroyed by the Center because of the likeness of one of the images to Lenin. In his final years, he focused more on landscape drawing and portraits. At the time of his death on November 25 in 1957, his most ambitious project a gigantic epic mural on Mexican history was left unfinished.

Rivera’s art is one of the most solid foundation blocks upon which Mexican muralism, one of Latin America’s thriving art movements is based. His art features a blend of Gauguin, mixed in with Mayan and Aztec sculpture. He had an extensive artistic career as a designer, illustrator, muralist and writer. He was also actively involved in politics.

Works by Diego Rivera:

  • Girl With Lilies (Niña con alcatraces)
  • Flower Seller (Vendedora de alcatraces)
  • The Flower Carrier (Cargador rosa)
  • Mixcoac Landscape (Paisaje de Mixcoac)
  • The Tract of Land (La Era)
  • The Avila Door (La puerta de Ávila)
  • The Large Old House (la Casona)
  • Our Lady of Paris (Nuestra Señora de París)
  • The House on the Bridge (La casa sobre el puente)
  • Toledo Bridge (Puente de Toledo)
  • Man with a Cigarette (Hombre del cigarrillo)
  • Resting Ballerina (Bailarina en reposo)
  • Dance of the Earth (Danza de la tierra)