One of Mexico’s most celebrated artists was a printmaker, a common man who died a pauper, his body interred in an unmarked grave. Yet, José Guadalupe Posada reached his countrymen through perhaps more than 20,000 images documenting nearly every aspect of life. As Mexico modernized in the late 19th century, its capital bustled with published materials to satisfy the growing metropolis and its budding middle class, intelligentsias, and thousands of new residents relocating from the countryside. Employed by the visionary publisher Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, Posada created expressive images reflecting and informing the transitioning culture of Mexico City’s residents, many of whom were illiterate. Posada’s satirical skeletons, or calaveras, have become the most iconic and celebrated of his work.
Decades after his death, art historians and artists continue to recognise Posada’s cultural contributions, reflecting not only the spirit of Mexican identity in his time and ours but imparting a universal perspective extending well beyond the borders of his native Mexico. Underwriting Posada’s legacy was his main editor Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, whose hand directed and crafted the publications displaying and catering to the popular culture of Mexico.
The works of Posada were entrenched in visual landscape of Mexico City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So much so that his prints influenced some of Mexico’s most famous artists, including Frida Kahlo.
This exhibition was curated and organised by Lee Cohen and Lois Sarkisian in association with Landau Traveling Exhibitions. Exhibition Tour Management by Landau Traveling Exhibitions.