Gina Costa | Aug. 13, 2013 | Snite Museum of Art
Opening August 25 in the Scholz Family Works on Paper Gallery: José Guadalupe Posada and His Legacy
José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) was the preeminent printmaker of prerevolutionary Mexico. Often called the father of the modern Mexican print, Posada produced over fifteen thousand images in his lifetime--gaining fame as a popular hero after his death in 1913. On this 100th-year anniversary of his death, the Museum features its collection of Posada prints—many of which are biting satirical illustrations that appeared in Mexican newspapers and in popular broadsides—single sheets of cheap paper on which images appeared with accompanying commentary.
Posada established the important tradition of printmaking as a powerful and effective tool for social commentary and political protest in Mexican art–and created a legacy that has held strong for subsequent generations of artists. Eventually, this intersection of graphic art and political propaganda became the trademark of members of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP) (The Popular Graphics Arts Workshop) and then of other artists both in Mexico and abroad who, like Posada, used art as a tool for social and political change.
Posada’s broadsides often included his trademark calaveras - living skeletons that served as a substitute for the human figure. With roots in pre-Columbian imagery, the calaveras enabled Posada’s prints to resonate with Mexican audiences by referencing longstanding folk traditions.
Included in the exhibition are a few examples by two of Posada’s artistic heirs: Leopoldo Méndez and Pablo O’Higgins, members of the TGP. Méndez, the founder of the TGP, was one of Posada’s greatest admirers, and he wrote extensively on the master’s work.
The Snite Museum would like to thank Charles S. Hayes ’65 for his gift of over 560 prints by the Taller de Gráfica Popular, which now form the Charles S. Hayes Collection of Twentieth-Century Mexican Graphics at the Snite Museum of Art.