A supreme, definitive, and unrepeatable act of love: the illustrations of Diego Rivera, 1921 - 1955 (September 13 - November 6, 2009)
From the Exhibition Wall Text:
"Drawing was for Rivera a way of breathing through his wounds. This was revealed in his spontaneous, but conscious, behavior on July 14, 1954, when the remains of Frida Kahlo were cremated at the Dolores cemetery. Frida's friends, puplis, and colleagues crowded into the narrow crematorium chamber. A single open space: between the crackling oven and the corner where Rivera stood next to General Lazaro Cardenas. When the door opened and the plank bearing Frida's burning skeleton began to emerge, Rivera pulled out his ever-present notebook and captured, in rapid strokes, the last physical image of his beloved. The act of drawing acquired at that moment the significance of a supreme, definitive, and unrepeatable act of love."
-- Raquel Tibol (2008)
Diego Rivera, one of the forefathers of Mexican modern art, is widely known for his fresco murals -- colossal works created between the 1920s and 1950s. The murals tackled big subjects, such as pan-Americanism, modern industry, and Mexican history. Even today, they remain unmatched in scope and purpose.
Less known is the fact that Rivera was also a prolific draughtsman and illustrator. He regularly contributed drawings to magazines & journals, pamphlets, commercial books, and school primers. In contrast to his fresco murals, which took years to make and are forever bound to their sites, Rivera's illustrations were realized quickly and circulated widely throughout Mexico, the United States, and elsewhere. They are passionate, engaged, at times humourous, often horrific. They are clearly the work of a man who -- despite his problems with the opposite sex -- had a profound sensitivity to human suffering in many forms.
A small sampling of these works are on this wall and in the glass case. All are reproductions that have been cut out of a book by the art historian Raquel Tibol.