This sketch of Rivera’s ill-fated mural at Rockefeller Center was probably made before work on the fresco was halted in May 1933. Although the drawing has the same basic compositional elements as the mural, it has extra figures in the foreground and more importantly, lacks the offending portrait of Lenin that eventually caused the destruction of the mural. The inscription and the drawing’s provenance suggest that this quick sketch was a gift from Rivera to Abby or Nelson Rockefeller, a ‘souvenir’ of the commissioned artwork before it went awry.
Acquired from the artist
Anonymous gift to the Museum of Modern Art, New York
Sale: Christie’s East, May 16, 1996, lot 166, illus.
Diego Rivera. Art and Revolution, exhibition catalogue, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico, 1999, illus. p. 252
(*Alfred H. Barr, Jr., the first director of the Museum of Modern Art, New York)