A landscape in earth towns of a rural town with thatched roof house and lush trees. A woman wearing a white shawl walks with a basket in hand.

Landscape of Acayucan, near Vera Cruz

Note: We wish to thank Professor Luis-Martín Lozano for his kind assistance in cataloging this work.

This watercolor was made in 1951 when Diego Rivera visited the region of Veracruz with his dealer, and later wife, Emma Hurtado, in order to prepare studies for the mural panel The Arrival of Hernán Cortés in Veracruz. Rivera was commissioned to paint this panel in the Palacio Nacional by President Miguel Alemán, with whom he had a fraught relationship after having caused considerable controversy by painting the phrase “God doesn’t exist” in his mural Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Park.

President Alemán was born in the small town of Sayula in Veracruz, which he renamed Sayula de Alemán, and so Rivera made a special excursion to the president’s hometown in an effort to repair relations. During his time there he produced a set of works depicting the landscape of the region and the lives of its inhabitants. This scene shows the town of Acayucan, located right next to Sayula. The palm leaf thatched roof houses are typical of the vernacular architecture of the region, while in the foreground are more modern brick and tile houses, in a style that is still seen there today. Through the lush foliage Rivera shows the town’s focal point: the bandstand in the main square.

Vintage photograph of the bandstand in Acayucan, c. 1930’s

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