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

Niña con vestido rosa

Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
Niña con vestido rosa
signed 'Diego Rivera' (lower left)
tempera on linen
19 ¾ x 15 in. (50.4 x 38.1 cm.)
Painted in 1930.
Helen Fowler O'Gorman collection, Mexico City.
Private collection, California.
Anon. sale, Christie's, New York, 20 November 1990, lot 19.
Acquired from the above sale by the present owner.
Diego Rivera: Pintura de caballete y dibujos, Mexico, Fondo Editorial de la Plástica Mexicana, 1979, no. 182, p. 187 (illustrated in color).
Diego Rivera, catálogo general de obra de caballete, Mexico, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Dirección General de Publicaciones,1989, no. 910, p. 121 (illustrated).
Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, n.d.
New York, Walker's Exhibits, Works of Art from the Private collections of Alumnae Families of the Ethel Walker School, May –June 1998.
Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery, Shore, Forest and Beyond: Art from the Audain Collection, 11 October 2011-12 January 2012, p. 124 (illustrated in color).
Whistler, Audain Art Museum, Mexican modernists: Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros, Tamayo, 5 March-23 May 2016, p. 16 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

We are grateful to Professor Luis-Martín Lozano for his assistance cataloguing this work.

After pursuing a successful international career as a vanguard painter in Europe, Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) returned to his homeland in June of 1921. Shortly after he joined the Secretary of Public Education, José Vasconcelos, and became part of the group of artists busily undertaking murals throughout Mexico City’s public buildings as part of a cultural policy which sought to revise concepts about identity and national integration, in the aftermath of two decades of armed conflict that had destroyed the nation.

Rivera was certainly not the only painter of murals but he was the one who achieved greater international acclaim and, I believe, better assumed the task of aligning himself with the values of the Mexican people. His vision of a modern Mexico sought the integration of the less fortunate members of society far removed from opportunities, particularly the indigenous population. From the 1920s onward, Rivera’s artistic vision focused on constructing an iconography that would embody lo mexicano, while at the same time, act as a modern artistic language.

Even before leaving for the Soviet Union in 1927, Rivera had been working on compositions of indigenous mothers and their children, but towards the decade’s end, these anonymous beings—some clealy influenced by pre-hispanic masks—evolved into portraits of children within his close circle who were to inspire him and infuse his work with renewed vitality and inspiration. The children painted by Rivera between 1928-1945 constitute a distinct theme within his easel portraits. He endows these children, sons and daughters of the most vulnerable of society’s women, with individual personality; those women who could not read or write, and who had no opportunities for getting ahead but who nevertheless, were the caring and loving product of a race that believed in a more promising future with justice and equality.

Painted as small dolls, coquetish and fragile, these small children—boys and girls—were executed with great skill by Rivera who endows them with infinite tenderness in his fierce wish to recover the dignity of the Mexican people during a period of national reconstruction in the post-revolutionary period. La Niña con vestido rosa (The Little Girl in Pink Dress) embodies both the spirit and conceptual qualities the artist sought, and furthermore the artist’s technique emulates the fresh approach he employed in his murals with diaphanous and transparent colors, and rich tonalities which ultimately reveal Rivera’s extraordinary prowess as painter, draughtsman, and supreme master of color.

Professor Luis-Martín Lozano


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