Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
Diego Rivera (1886-1957)

Niña con muñeca de trapo

Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
Niña con muñeca de trapo
signed and dated ‘Diego Rivera 39’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
32 1/8 x 24 ¾ in. (81.6 x 62.9 cm.)
Painted in 1939.
S. Foster Hunt collection, Providence, Rhode Island.
By descent from the above to the present owner.
Exposición de Homenaje Nacional, Diego Rivera, 50 años de su labor artística, Mexico City, Museo Nacional de Artes Plásticas, 1951 (illustrated).
A. Souza, "Los Niños Mexicanos Pintados por Diego Rivera," Artes de México, no. 27, vol. V, July 1959, p. 17, no. 1 (illustrated).
Diego Rivera: catálogo general de obra de caballete, Mexico City, Mexico, 1989, p. 197, no. 1508 (illustrated).
Los niños mexicanos de Diego Rivera, Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, 1998, p. 91 (illustrated).

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Virgilio Garza
Virgilio Garza

Lot Essay

Please note this work has been requested on loan by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for the forthcoming exhibition, Diego Rivera's America, scheduled to open in October 2020.
This lot is accompanied by 100 Dibujos de Diego Rivera, a limited edition bound portfolio with one original signed drawing, published by Ediciones de Arte, Mexico City, 1949. The present portfolio is signed and dated by the artist, stamped with edition no. 21 of 100, and dedicated to Mr. S. Foster Hunt.
Due to the international prestige Mexican artist Diego Rivera garnered as a muralist in the 1920s, he was invited to execute al fresco murals in San Francisco, Detroit, New York, and Chicago, although this last commission never materialized. Rivera had chosen to include the head of Lenin in his design for the Rockefeller Center lobby murals in New York. When his patron requested he remove it, Rivera refused. He left soon after and returned to Mexico in 1933. He then began one of his most prolific periods in easel painting from the 1930s until 1940 when he returned to San Francisco to paint another mural—his last in the United States—for the Golden Gate International Exposition.
During his time in Mexico from 1933-1939, Diego Rivera executed some of his most celebrated paintings, among these a significant series of portraits of indigenous children. Children appeared often in his work during the 1920s, due to his marriage to Guadalupe Marín and the birth of his two daughters, Guadalupe and Ruth, whom he affectionately referred to as “Pico” and “Chapo.” Rivera adored his daughters which explains, in part, his fondness for painting children of all different social classes, especially in poses emphasizing their young personalities. Often, he painted them with their rag dolls and bright popular Mexican toys. For Rivera, children were the hope of a new generation looking forward to a modernist Mexico; they were the children of the post-revolution living in a post-war world. Rivera painted them as restless and playful, with bright eyes and heads that seemed larger than their tiny hands and feet, recalling the small pre-Columbian ceramic figurines that he collected by the hundreds. Rivera recalled this work in the monograph accompanying his Exposición Homenaje Nacional por sus 50 años de labor artística, an exhibition marking his 50th year as a working artist. Although the painting was in the United States as it had been acquired by collectors Mr. S. Foster Hunt and his wife Dorothy of Providence, Rhode Island, Rivera decided to include a full-page reproduction in the exhibition catalogue/monograph noting its importance. Unquestionably, from all the portraits of children Rivera executed throughout his career, Niña con muñeca de trapo is not just well-executed, as demonstrated by the way her rebozo (shawl) wraps ever so gently around her small body, but also undeniably charming—she is a heartwarming symbol of Mexico’s cultural roots.
Professor Luis-Martín Lozano, art historian, Mexico City

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