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

Vendedora de flores en Tehuantepec

Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
Vendedora de flores en Tehuantepec
signed and dated 'Diego Rivera 1935' (lower left)
watercolor and charcoal on canvas
30 ¼ x 24 ½ in. (76.8 x 62.2 cm.)
Painted in 1935.
Acquired from the artist by Joseph P. Loeb, California.
By descent from the above to the present owners.
Diego Rivera, Catálogo general de obra de caballete, Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1989, p. 159, no. 1201 (illustrated).
Stanford, California, The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, 1 February 2008 - 31 December 2012, long term loan.

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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.
The great Mexican mural painter and artist, Diego Rivera was a prodigiously gifted draftsman. Much like Picasso, Rivera considered the art of drawing as foundational to his aesthetic practice as it was the vehicle through which his sensibility and intellect combined to generate a limitless process of creativity. At the core of Rivera’s great mural projects painted in Mexico and in the United States are hundreds of studies and sketches that evolved from drawings which he later translated through the al fresco technique onto the walls of public buildings and portable murals. Parallel to his al fresco murals and easel paintings, Rivera executed hundreds of watercolors that merge line and color. Indeed, many of his watercolors began as spontaneous sketches from nature executed in graphite pencil, charcoal, sanguine, ink, and even fountain pen. Rivera was a truly exhaustive draftsman, and his drawings of which there are hundreds comprise a significant aspect of his artistic legacy.
The importance that Rivera bestowed on drawing led him to experiment with different painting techniques, such as tempera and casein to allow the transparency of the painting to reveal the constructive or linear qualities of the drawing. Rivera not only used fine papers as a support for his drawings but also employed canvas, often applying color with chromatic transparencies that enabled the drawing below to emerge from the composition as an autonomous and fundamental element of the painting. Such is the case with the present lot, Vendedora de flores en Tehuantepec (Flower Sellers in Tehuantepec) from 1935. Here Rivera applied charcoal directly onto the canvas as a base and then used the watercolor medium as the pictorial technique resulting in a painting of diaphanous transparencies, subtle traces and poetic tones. These effects are particularly notable in the typical garments from the Tehuantepec Isthmus area such as the rose embroidered huipil (or tunic) with its skirt and petticoats worn by the woman on the right whose Zapotecan heritage is apparent in her indigenous facial features. She offers her fragrant nardos to the seated woman on the left who sells her red cochineal dyes, proudly sharing her customs and her Oaxacan heritage. Rivera felt a great fondness for Oaxacan culture as evidenced in his numerous trips to Tehuantepec beginning in the 1920s onwards. In his balanced palette of serene greens, purples, and roses, Rivera creates a composition inspired by Renaissance painting in its evocation of architectural space, and reminiscent of his European formation and travels through Italy in 1921.
Professor Luis-Martín Lozano, art historian

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