The Modern Period  

The discovery of Pulque, Jose Obregon, 1850. One of the first modern painters to paint the pre-Columbian past, Obregon studied at the academia de Bellas Artes . It tells the story of Xochitl, who discovered how to make pulque from the maguey and was rewarded by the King of Tula by making her his wife .Neo-Classical paintings such as this would soon give way to the European Romaintic movement .

In the late 1880s, landscape painter Jose Maria Velasco ( 1840 - 1912 ) won international renown for his depictions of the Mexican landscape .


Mexico 1877 Jose Maria Velasco Landscape painting flourished in Mexico in the last half

of the 19th century . Velasco won renown in Europe and America for his works



Oaxaca Cathedral, 1887, Jose Maria Velasco


Offering of Atilana Garcia and Nemensio Rio, 1879,

Hermenegoldo Bustos ( 1832 - 1907 )


 Diego Rivera  Pete Hamill

 Hamill, former editor-in-chief of the New York Daily News and the New York Post, has lived, worked, and studied art in Mexico. This lively, if not definitive, biography of the pioneering Mexican muralist recounts the king-sized Rivera's real-life escapades without romantic embellishment and with a critical eye.


Revista Moderna Julio Ruelas (1870-1907) Done in the Mexican Symbolist movement style

The last quarter of the 19th century saw an increase in patriotic romanticism and forceful revolutionary art reflecting the turbulence of the Mexican life in this era . Sintetismo (syntheticism ) works such as those of Saturino Herran combined native and Spanish traditions .


The Offering Saturino Herrian ( 1887 -1913 ) 1913 The influence of

Post-Impressionist techniques and Sintetismo can be seen .


The Revolution marks a break with European traditions and the beginnings of socially conscious art .

The cartoons of Jose Guadalupe Posada (1815-1913) many of which used skulls satirized the

injustices of the Porfiriato period .


            A calavera or skeleton drawing, popular during the revolution of 1910



 The work of José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913), important Mexican satirist during the Porfiriato.

  From the Academic Film Archive of North America

Calaveras art by Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) zinc etching, many such works

were printed in broadsheet, sold for a few centavos.

In the 1920s, Jose Vasconcelos, the minister of education commissioned young artists to paint murals on public buildings to depict Mexican history and the need for progress .Some of the more famous muralists of this period were Diego Rivera ( 1885-1957 )  David Siqueiros ( 1896 - 1974 ) and Jose Orozco ( 1883 - 1949 ) .


video of the paintings of Diego Rivera


   Man Masters the elements Diego Rivera 1927 Fresco at Chapingo


Diego's work depict the past oppression of indians and the lower classes. The works of Siqueiros are also leftist in nature, depicting the oppressors in an ugly manner .


The Revolution Against the Porfirio Diaz Dictatorship, Alfaro Siqueiros



The later muralists, such as Rufino Tamayo ( 1889-1991) were less concerened

with politics and depicted Mexican scenes in a more abstract nature .


                 Homage to the Race abstract work of Rufino Tamayo 1952 mural

St. John's Day  Julio Castellanos (1905-1947) His style influenced

many modernist Mexican painters.


The Lottery Ticket Antonio Ruiz (1897-1964) painted poignant scenes of Mexican life with subtle

humor. A woman, with her baby under her dress ( her hair style infers she is unmarried ) , sells

lottery tickets, which have the same number.


Frida Kahlo and Diego Riveria


Frida Kahlo (1907 - 1954 ), who was married to Diego Riveria painted surreal, penetrating works and became very popular in the 1980s when the Neomexicanismo movement began .



 The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo - Documentary

Roots , by Frida Kahlo recently sold for 5.6 million


After World War 2, young Mexican artists reacted against the muralist style, which they viewed as too didactic and obsessed with Mexicanidad and were influenced by abstract, modernism , pop art and were more introspective.Some of the more famous artist of this 'Rupture Generation' as it is called are José Luis Cuevas (b.1934), Zacatecans Francisco Goitia ( 1882-1960) and Pedro Coronel ( 1923-1985) .



La Maga by José Luis Cuevas

La Anahuacalli, Diego Rivera, 1945. Rivera designed this museum to house his

collected archaeological pieces, which recalls pre-Columbian architecture .

Central Library of Mexico City, Juan O'Gorman, 1950 .

The mosaics on each face cover a theme .


 Satellite Towers   Martas Goertiz 1957, Goertiz wanted to create a

monument whose function was purely aesthetic


Empires and Republic


Mexican Folk Art