David Alfaro Siqueiros

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Siqueiros, David Alfaro

 

(full name, José David Alfaro Siqueiros). Born Dec. 29, 1898, in Chihuahua; died Jan. 6, 1974, in Cuernavaca. Mexican painter, graphic artist, and public figure. One of the founders of the Mexican school of mural painting.

Siqueiros studied in Mexico City at the Academy of Fine Arts (1911) and at the Open Air School of Santa Anita (1913). Beginning in 1911 he was active in the revolutionary movement, and from 1914 to 1918 he was an officer in V. Carranza’s army. Siqueiros worked in France and Spain from 1919 to 1922; in 1921 he published a manifesto of revolutionary art in Barcelona. In 1922, after his return to Mexico, he founded the Syndicate of Technical Workers, Artists, and Sculptors, serving as the organization’s general secretary from 1923 to 1925. From 1924, Siqueiros was a leader of the Communist Party of Mexico and editor in chief of the newspaper El Mundo. During the 1920’s he was active in the trade union movement; he was made the general secretary of the Mexican Unitary Trade Union Confederation in 1929. In 1930 he was arrested, and in 1931 he was exiled to Taxco.

Between 1932 and 1936, Siqueiros worked in the USA; he founded an experimental workshop in New York in 1936. He served as an officer of the Republican Army in Spain from 1937 to 1939. His activities in Argentina (1933), Chile (1941-42), and Cuba (1943) greatly influenced the development of mural art in Latin America. Siqueiros visited Moscow in 1927, 1955, 1958, and 1972. In 1960 he was imprisoned in Mexico for his political activity, but in 1964 he was released as a result of international pressure. In 1967, Siqueiros was made an honorary member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR; in 1966 he received the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations.

A fighter for revolutionary art imbued with communist ideological content, Siqueiros created images marked by heightened expressiveness and great plastic force. He was a firm believer in the active influence of works of art on the masses. His monumental compositions combine representations of actual persons with symbolic embodiments of social-historical forces; they are marked by the use of dynamically shortened perspective, the bold combination of painting and sculptural forms, and the introduction of new artistic materials (synthetic paints, ceramic relief mosaic). In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Siqueiros’ treatment of historical events and personages took on a heightened expressiveness, and the political content of his work was intensified.

Siqueiros’ principal works in Mexico City include the murals in the National Preparatory School (fresco, 1922-23), the Electrical Workers Union building (1939), the Palace of Fine Arts (1945 and 1950–51), and the National History Museum (begun 1959), the mosaic and relief on the facade of the chancellor’s building at the University of Mexico (1952–54), and the monumental-decorative structure Poliforum, which combines architecture, painting, and sculpture (1971). Works by Siqueiros in the Museum of Modern Art include the easel paintings Proletarian Mother (1929–30) and Portrait of G. Gershwin (1936). The artist also did numerous lithographs and drawings.

WORKS

Como se pinta un mural. Mexico City, 1951.
L’art et la revolution. Paris, 1973.

REFERENCES

Zhadova, L. Monumental’naia zhivopis’ Meksiki. Moscow, 1965.
Polevoi V. Iskusstvo stran Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1967.
David Sikeiros. [Leningrad, 1969.]
Tibol, R. DavidAlfaro Siqueiros. Mexico City [1969].

V. M. POLEVOI [23–1056–]

References in periodicals archive ?
Al rechazar la busqueda de lo folclorico y lo primitivo que hacian los otros artistas, se apego a los dibujos con pluma que le permitieron una mayor densidad en el detalle, accion e ideas de lo mostrado en los grabados en madera de Siqueiros o Guerrero.
It is part of the Bahia Magdalena-Bahia Almejas lagoon system (Garate Lizarraga and Siqueiros Beltrones 1998).
He said that among the archives and documents Siqueiros donated along with his house, were 53 rolls of audio tape.
En 1923 Revueltas se unio a Siqueiros, Rivera, Orozco y Carlos Merida, entre otros, para firmar el Manifiesto del Sindicato de ObrerosTecnicos, Pintores y Escultores, que declamaba: <<El arte del pueblo de Mexico es la manifestacion espiritual mas grande y mas sana del Mundo y su tradicion indigena es la mejor de todas .
But Siqueiros took a different tack, painting his 1932 America Tropical outside, overlooking Olvera Street.
A la tercera va la vencida", dice Siqueiros, que le compro la marca a 3T Capital.
Por lo mismo, la ceremonia en honor de don Alfonso y la develacion de su retrato--que debia haberse realizado en 1960, o a mas tardar en 1961--no se llevo a cabo sino hasta el 8 de febrero de 1965, libre ya Siqueiros e iniciado el sexenio del licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, quien acudio al evento".
Usted me compara con Diego Rivera o David Alfaro Siqueiros, pero no creo que sea buena la comparacion porque ellos eran gentes de partido, con convicciones, con una ideologia, y yo francamente no tengo ni partido ni convicciones ni ideologia.
Por ultimo, Siqueiros compuso Cristo del calvario en el cual retrata a Jesus vuelto de lado hacia la derecha.
As a young man of modest origins and radical convictions--the Brooklyn-born artist dropped out of high school and went into the Navy for want of anything better--Held had been interested in the muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros and considered going to Mexico to study with him.
Bringing together the immortal muralists, mellow sculptors and surrealist outcasts, the National Homage avoids the trap of focusing on the Big Three of Mexican fine art--Diego Rivera, Jose David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco.
Led by Ramon Siqueiros III, a descendant of the famous Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, the group wants a piece of the lucrative US$52 billion U.