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


Diego Rivera (1886-1957)
signed 'Rivera' (lower left) indistinctly inscribed (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
12 5/8 x 9 ½ in. (32.1 x 24.1 cm.)
Painted circa 1919.
Private collection, San Diego.
Diego Rivera: Catálogo General de Obra de Caballete, Mexico City, Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1989, p. 46, n. 304 (illustrated).

Lot Essay

The young Diego Rivera became part of the vibrant Parisian avant-garde milieu almost upon his arrival in the French capital in 1908 at the age of twenty-one. Shortly thereafter in 1910, he was invited to participate in the Salon des Indépendents. (1) At the very epicenter of the Modernist movement, Rivera’s friends included Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani among others. In 1913, he joined the Groupe Libre which led to another invitation to a group show at Galerie Berheim-Jeune where six of his paintings were selected including landscapes. (2) That same year would mark the starting point of his “Cubist adventure,” as scholar Sylvia Navarrete has remarked, and his work was again included in the Salon des Indépendents. (3) Indeed, the young artist would embrace Cubism during his years in Paris adopting strategies that suited him. “…my Cubist paintings are my most Mexican. Inside them there are plastic qualities—certain specific ways of expressing proportion and space, certain special and personal theories and practices and use of color—that are my own invention and belong to me.” (4) Rivera’s paintings stand on their own; they synthesize European artistic convention with issues of personal iconography, aesthetics, and natural cultural identity. Rivera’s “…finest Cubist paintings are singular, personal statements that could never be mistaken for those by another artist.” (5)

1) S. Navarrete, “Diego Rivera, Cubist: Chronicle of an Interlude,” in Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, Dallas: Phillip Wilson Publishers: Meadows Museum, 2009, 20.
2) Navarrete, 23
3) Ibid., 22
4) W. H. Robinson, “Cubist Heresies: Diego Rivera and the Parisian Avant-Garde,” Diego Rivera: Art and Revolution, Mexico City: INBA, Landucci Editores, 1999, 126.
5) Robinson, 126.

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