Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art is exhibiting a selection of works on paper by Mexican muralists Leonora Carrington, Elena Climent, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. The exhibition is on view through February 19, 2016.
The following is a selection of works from the exhibition.
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Design for the North Wall, Detroit Industry Mural
charcoal on paper
19¼ × 45 inches (48.9 × 114.3 cm) [sight]
Note: In the spring of 1932, Rivera arrived in Detroit to paint a fresco cycle in the inner courtyard of the Detroit Institute of Arts, commissioned by Edsel Ford, Henry Ford’s only son and president of the Ford Motor Company from 1919 to 1943. At this time, Detroit was experiencing upheaval due to massive unemployment and the slowing of production at Ford industries. Weeks before Rivera’s arrival, a hunger march of 3,000 workers ended in violent confrontation with the police at the Ford company’s Rouge plant. Despite this social tension, Rivera chose not to paint a critique of capitalism and its effects on Detroit. Instead, the frescos portray Rivera’s fascination with modern industrial technology and its future potential. Desmond Rochfort writes, “He painted men and machines as some kind of gigantic symphony, a harmonious synthesis of human and mechanical action, which together represented a potential creative power unparalleled in history.” The north wall shows the construction of an automobile. The flowing, rhythmic composition conveys the coordination and intense energy of industrial production.
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Still Life with Book and Candle
pencil on paper
14 7/8 × 11 5/8 inches (37.8 × 29.5 cm)
signed and dated ’18
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Study for the Figure of ‘Song’, Creation Mural, Bolivar Auditorium, National Preparatory School, Mexico City
pastel and charcoal on blue Lalanne paper
24¼ × 18¼ inches (61.7 × 46.5 cm)
Note: Painted in 1922-23, the Creation Mural was Rivera’s first public work in Mexico. Stylistically, it represents Rivera’s initial shift from a purely European aesthetic towards a more Mexican one. The model for this figure was Guadalupe Marín, who was having an affair with the famous photographer Edward Weston at the time. This was Rivera’s first encounter with Marín, who would become his second wife. Rivera most likely made this study on their first meeting, which he describes as follows:
“a strange and marvelous-looking creature, nearly six feet tall, appeared. She was black haired, yet her hair looked more like that of a chestnut mare than a woman’s. Her green eyes were so transparent she seemed to be blind. Her face was an Indian’s, the mouth with its full, powerful lips open, the corners drooping like those of a tiger. The teeth showed sparkling and regular: animal teeth set in coral such as one sees in old idols. Held at her breast, her extraordinary hands the beauty of tree roots or eagle talons . . .”
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Study for “Our Bread,” The Ministry of Education, Court of the Fiestas, Mexico City
charcoal and graphite on paper
24½ × 18¾ inches (62.2 × 47.6 cm)
signed and dated 1928, with notations, and inscribed “Ahora tienen el pan para todos los desnudos, los hombres de abajo”
Note: In 1923, Diego Rivera was commissioned by José Vasconcelos, Secretary of Education, to decorate the Ministry of Education building with murals. The panel “Our Bread” is located in the Court of the Fiestas, as part of the series illustrating “The Ballad of the Proletarian Revolution.” Completed in 1928, after Rivera’s trip to the Soviet Union for the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution, this series of panels extols the virtues of revolution and the Mexican people while offering a sharp and witty critique of capitalism. “Our Bread” depicts a wholesome mealtime gathering, with allusions to Christian imagery, particularly “The Last Supper.” The head of the table is a Mexican working class man sporting the Communist red star on his shirt. The figure behind him holds a basket of fruits and vegetables, symbolizing natural abundance. With these murals Rivera cemented his status as a preeminent artist of his time, achieving fame not only for his technical abilities but also for his radical political themes and social commentaries.
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957)
Study for the Paramount Theatre, Oakland
gouache on paper
23½ × 9 5/8 inches (59.7 × 24.4 cm) [sight]
Note: The Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California was designed by prominent architect Timothy L. Pflueger, who developed a relationship with Rivera and commissioned him to paint the murals at the Pacific Stock Exchange Luncheon Club in San Francisco. This colorful work is a proposed design for the mosaic facade of the Paramount Theatre. While Rivera’s exact design was not ultimately used for the mosaic, many elements of his style can be seen in the finished facade.
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Sketch of a Worker
pencil on rice paper
10½ × 7½ inches (26.7 × 19.1 cm)
signed, dated ’34 and dedicated “To Pauline Surrey”
DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) Obrero (Workman with Shovel)
watercolor on paper
15 × 10½ inches (38.1 × 26.7 cm)
signed and dated ’47
RUFINO TAMAYO (1899 – 1991) Mirando al infinito
gouache on paper
12¾ × 18 7/8 inches (32.4 × 47.9 cm)
signed and dated ’32
JOSÉ CLEMENTE OROZCO (1883-1949) Five Heads (Beggars)
gouache on wove paper
11 3/8 × 16 inches (28.9 × 40.6 cm)
LEONORA CARRINGTON (1917-2011) Personajes
graphite on paper
13½ × 18 inches (34.3 × 45.7 cm)
signed, dated ‘July 1945,’ and dedicated “To Gunther Gerzso, Friend and conspirator, Love Leonora Carrington”
LEONORA CARRINGTON (1917-2011) Destruction of La Selva Lacandona
pencil and ink on paper
10 × 13 3/8 inches (25.4 × 34.0 cm)
signed and dedicated ‘For Gertrude Duby with affection and admiration Leonora Carrington’ bottom right, inscribed ‘San Cristobal de las Casas – Septembre 1963’ bottom left
This original sketchbook by Gunther Gerzso was drawn in 1943-46 when the young artist was strongly influenced by the circle of Benjamin Péret and the European artists exiled in Mexico during the 1940s.
The book presents a striking record of Gerzso’s close ties to the Surrealists in Mexico, including Wolfgang Paalen, André Breton, Remedios Varo, César Moro and Alice Rahon. Their interest in pre-Columbian art became the foundation for Gerzso’s eventual style, a version of geometric abstraction inspired by the landscape and ancient culture of Mexico.
This notebook consists of 54 original drawings done by carbon transfer, some augmented with India ink, frottage and colored pencils. In addition there is an actual drawing done on carbon paper, which was discovered in the artist’s studio along with the sketchbook.
The following is a selection of drawings from the surrealist sketchbook
As part of Master Drawings New York 2014, Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art will present 20 digital drawings created on the iPad by Mexican painter and muralist Elena Climent. Output as giclée prints, the works will be mounted side by side with actual iPads showing the step-by-step progression of the drawings from first outline to completed work. Climent, who is interested in the link between traditional methods of drawing and electronic drawing in the 21st Century, compares the ability of the iPad “Zoom” feature to show details not visible to the naked eye with Vermeer’s use of the camera obscura to investigate tiny visual details he later included in his paintings – details that can only be seen using a magnifying glass.
In the artist’s own words, “When making art on an iPad, you are creating a pure image with no physical weight or texture or temperature. You are not mixing colors on a palette until you find the exact hue; you are not thinning the paint with turpentine to make it more transparent; you are not interacting with the behavior of the surface, whether canvas, paper, wood, tin or any other. There is no drying time, no humidity factor, no cracking. Creating art on an iPad or computer is the closest I have ever felt to drawing or painting directly from my mind. I look, I think, I decide what color I want and I make it happen on the screen. I have learned to mix colors in my brain. My experience with iPad art has taught me that even something as seemingly cold, industrial and impersonal as a computer screen can become intimate, personal and poetic.”
There will be an opening reception at the gallery on January 24 from 4:00-8:00. The exhibition continues through Friday February 21, 2014. Please call for hours.
The online catalogue for Isabel De Obaldía: Metates is now available. The fully illustrated catalogue includes an introductory essay by Lowery Stokes Sims, curator of the Museum of Arts and Design, NY, and a scholarly article by Dicey Taylor titled, The Ancient Metates of Panama.
Print versions of the catalogue will be available at the gallery starting November 15, 2013.
For this exhibition the artist has created 13 new sculptures based on Pre-Columbian prototypes. The show will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an introductory essay by Lowery Stokes Sims, curator of the Museum of Arts and Design, NY, and a scholarly article by Dicey Taylor titled, The Ancient Metates of Panama.
According to Dr. Taylor, an expert on Pre-Columbian art and archaeology, “The glass sculptures of Isabel De Obaldía evoke the ancient spirits of Panama’s rainforests and seas. Many of her pieces have rustic textures that infuse her powerful forms with a compelling force, echoing the volcanic stone sculptures of ancient times.”
This is De Obaldía’s sixth solo exhibition at Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art. In 2009 the artist was awarded the Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass and in 2011 she was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.
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DIEGO RIVERA (1886-1957) The Italian Sketchbook
pencil, conté crayon and ink on paper
30 drawings on 28 pages
This slide show is a virtual tour of our current exhibition. If you would like to see detailed photographs of individual works in the show and additional commentary view the online catalogue here.
In 1907, Diego Rivera, a 24 year-old prodigy from Mexico, arrived in Spain to begin a four year scholarship to study painting in Europe. Thirteen years later, after befriending Picasso, Modigliani, Gris, Léger, and Carlo Carrà and having integrated the principles of Cubism into his paintings, Rivera was offered the position of chief mural painter of Mexico by the Mexican government.
Rivera accepted the appointment on the condition that they first pay him to take “the Italian tour” before returning to Mexico. Over a period of 17 months, from Winter 1920 to Spring 1921, he followed the itinerary developed for him by his friend and mentor, the art historian Elie Faure, traveling from Ravenna to the southern tip of the country, then back up the eastern coast.
Rivera sketched as he viewed the frescoes and paintings of the Renaissance, making handwritten notes directly on his sketches.
He was keenly interested in the relationship between painting and architecture, putting his observations of Italian Renaissance frescoes to brilliant use in the masterpieces he painted later on the walls of the Ministry of Education in Mexico City, Rockefeller Center in New York, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Sketch of a woman with tall hat
pencil on paper
8 × 5 inches (20.3 × 12.7 cm)
In translating the formal ideas and fresco techniques of painters like Giotto, Uccello and Tintoretto to his mural projects in Mexico and the U.S., Rivera provided the art historical link between the Italian Renaissance and Twentieth Century Muralism in the Americas.
Sketch after Bonsignori’s La Madonna con il Bambino
pencil on paper
8 × 5 inches (20.3 × 12.7 cm)
Writing of this period in Rivera’s life, Florence Arquin* observes:
“His studies in Italy rewarded him with an understanding of the great mural tradition of the Renaissance. There he acquired an awareness of the basic architectural character of murals and of the prerequisite need for direct, simple statement and organization, as well as an equally informed understanding of form and color to evoke a calculated emotional response.
He was challenged and invigorated as he examined Italy’s legacy of Greek,Etruscan, and Roman cultures which had endowed the Renaissance with its humanistic qualities and forceful tradition of realism….It was the humanism inherent in the Renaissance emphasis upon mankind in general and the individual in particular…that drew Rivera to the Italian masters…
That these qualities should have possessed a powerful appeal for Rivera is attributable not only to his own political and social sympathies – founded largely in the liberal beliefs of his father and his teacher Posada – but also because they now coincided with Rivera’s own emotional, intellectual, and philosophic convictions.”
Sketch after The Apostle Peter from the Procession of the Apostles
ink on paper
8 × 5 inches (20.3 × 12.7 cm)