Afterward, the artist would recreate the scene on a smaller scale in the Palace of Fine Arts upon his return to Mexico City, using photographs of the mural as a guide. The artist took part in a delegation to the Soviet Union in 1927 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the October Revolution. While in Moscow, Rivera met Alfred H. Barr, Jr., who would become a friend and patron as well as the director of the Museum of Modern Art. Following his return to Mexico City, Rivera divorced his first wife, Lupe Marin, and married fellow Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
Both his original painting style and the force of his ideas remain major influences on American painting. Diego Rivera, a memorable figure in 20th-century art, actively painted during the 50 years from 1907 to 1957. Mexican by birth, Rivera spent a good portion of his adult life in Europe and the United States as well as in his home in Mexico City. Early in his career, he dabbled in Cubism and later embraced Post-Impressionism, but his unique style and perspective are immediately recognizable as his own.
Useful Resources On Diego Rivera
Two years later, Rivera and Kahlo divorced, although they remarried a year later in San Francisco, while Rivera was working for the Golden Gate International Exposition. The two had a tremendously passionate, and an extremely tumultous relationship – one that can easily extrapolated by viewing her very personal artworks. A lifelong Marxist who belonged to the Mexican Communist Party and had important ties to the Soviet Union, Rivera is an exemplar of the socially committed artist. His art expressed his outspoken commitment to left-wing political causes, depicting such subjects as the Mexican peasantry, American workers, and revolutionary figures like Emiliano Zapata and Lenin. At times, his outspoken, uncompromising leftist politics collided with the wishes of wealthy patrons and aroused significant controversy that emanated inside and outside the art world.
— Diego Rivero (@Driveroc29) May 22, 2022
On June 5, 1940, invited again by Pflueger, Rivera returned for the last time to the United States to paint a ten-panel mural for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco. Rivera painted in front of attendees at the Exposition, which had already opened. The mural includes representations of two of Pflueger’s architectural works, and portraits of Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo, woodcarver Dudley C. Carter, and actress Paulette Goddard. Rivera’s assistants on the mural included Thelma Johnson Streat, a pioneer African-American artist, dancer, and textile designer.
He founded the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors as well. He began a series of frescoes later in 1922 that focused on Mexican society and the country’s revolutionary past, entitled “Ballad of the Proletarian Revolution,” that he would not complete until 1928. The finished work, consisting of over 120 frescoes covering more than 5,200 square feet, is installed in Mexico City‘s Secretariat of Public Education building. Rivera’s next major work was a fresco cycle in a former chapel at what is now the National School of Agriculture at Chapingo (1926–27).
- While in Moscow, Rivera met Alfred H. Barr, Jr., who would become a friend and patron as well as the director of the Museum of Modern Art.
- Although commissioned to paint a mural for the Red Army Club in Moscow, in 1928 Rivera was ordered by authorities to leave the country because of alleged involvement in anti-Soviet politics, so he returned to Mexico.
- Diego also had an Indian nanny, named Antonia, who was an inspiration for many of his paintings and nurtured his love for the indigenous culture.
- Around 1917, inspired by Paul Cézanne’s paintings, Rivera shifted toward Post-Impressionism, using simple forms and large patches of vivid colors.