Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910-1950 explores the rich and fascinating story of a period of remarkable change. It is the most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican modernism to be seen in the United States in more than seven decades and features an extraordinary range of images, from portable murals and large and small paintings to prints and photographs, books and broadsheets. The exhibition takes its title from the essay “Paint the Revolution” by the American novelist John Dos Passos who traveled to Mexico City in 1926-27 and witnessed the murals created by Diego Rivera that celebrate the ideals of the Mexican Revolution.
Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “The contributions of Mexico during this period are central to the development of modern art, and yet its achievements have been largely understood through the work of a small group of great talents, among them Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, along with Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo. In this exhibition, visitors will be introduced to these artists through the presentation of many of their finest works, but also, and more importantly, to the broader panorama of Mexican art during this period and the historical context in which the visual arts played an enormously important role. We are especially grateful for our partnership with the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, without which it would not be possible to have organized an exhibition of such depth.”
Peasants, c. 1913, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Pastel on paper, 40-1/2 x 6 feet 3-3/4 inches (102.8 x 192.4 cm), (Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA), © David Alfaro Siqueiros/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City.
Zapata, 1931, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Lithograph, 20-7/8 x 15-11/16 inches (53 x 39.9 cm), (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1976-97-122) © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico City.
Portrait of Martín Luis Guzmán, 1915, Diego Rivera, 28-9/16 x 15-3/8 inches (72.6 x 39.1 cm), (Fundación Televisa Collection) © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Dance in Tehuantepec, 1928, Diego Rivera, Oil on canvas, 6 feet 6-3/8 inches x 63-3/4 inches (199 x 162 cm), (Private Collection), © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Liberation of the Peon, 1931, Diego Rivera, Fresco, 6 feet 1 inches x 7 feet 10-1/4 inches (185.4 x 239.4 cm), (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Cameron Morris, 1943-46-1) © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Barricade, 1931, José Clemente Orozco, Oil on canvas, 55 x 45 inches (139.7 x 114.3 cm), (Museum of Modern Art, New York: Given anonymously, 468.1937) © José Clemente Orozco/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico.
The Epic of American Civilization (wall mural detail), 1932–34, José Clemente Orozco (Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Commissioned by the Trustees of Dartmouth College), © Jose Clemente Orozco/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico City.
Mexico City, 1949, Juan O’Gorman, Tempera on Masonite, 26 x 48-1/16 inches (66 x 122 cm), (Acervo CONACULTA–INBA, Museo de Arte Moderno), © Juan O’Gorman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SOMAAP, Mexico City.
Homage to the Indian Race, 1952, Rufino Tamayo, Acrylic and oil on masonite (4 panel polyptic), 16 feet 4-7/8 inches x 13 feet 1-1/2 inches x 3-3/4 inches (500 x 400 x 9.5 cm), (Acervo CONACULTA–INBA, Museo de Arte Moderno), ©Rufino Tamayo/Visual Artists and Galleries Association, New York, New York.
Paint the Revolution is co-organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Curated by a team of specialists including Matthew Affron, the Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art; Mark A. Castro, Project Assistant Curator, European Painting, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Dafne Cruz Porchini, Postdoctoral Researcher, Colegio de México, Mexico City; and Renato González Mello, Director of the Institute for Aesthetic Investigation, National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Images courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art.