Siqueiros Paisajista/ Siqueiros: Landscape Painter is an exhibition of easel paintings by Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Most of us know about his murals, but what a lot of people don’t know is that Siqueiros was also a prolific easel painter.
David Alfaro Siqueiros
Pedregal con figuras / Rocks with Figures, 1947
Pyroxilin on masonite, 39 3/8 x 48 1/16 in.
Acervo Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura /
Museo de Arte Alvar y Carmen T. de Carrillo Gil, Mexico
Think about it: Since Siqueiros became famous for creating large-scale murals, why would he also do easel paintings? What are the differences between murals and easel paintings?
The paintings acted as sketches, as a preliminary way to experiment with concepts and ideas that Siqueiros often incorporated in his murals. They contain the same content as the murals; however, they are different in the sense that Siqueiros felt the freedom to experiment with compositions, brushstrokes and textures in a way that was not possible once the images were transferred onto public walls. In the easel paintings, you can imagine the artist’s arm moving across the canvas in a direct way. Because Siqueiros often projected sketches onto walls for his murals and sometimes used technology like spray guns or an airbrush, the touch of the “artist’s hand” is not always present.
In the murals, we see what Siqueiros is thinking. In the paintings we see what Siqueiros is doing.
Luis C. Garza,
Siqueiros. Budapest, Hungary, 1971.
Collection of the artist: ©Luis C. Garza
About David Alfaro Siqueiros: Born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1896, Siqueiros studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Believing that art and politics were intertwined, Siqueiros utilized art to educate the public about history and social issues. His politically-themed murals reflect the goals of the Mexican Revolution and an effort to overcome capitalist rule. In solidarity with industrial workers, Siqueiros incorporated working class themes and industrial materials like Masonite and pyroxilin paint (used in the automotive industry) in his work. Together with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, Siqueiros is considered one of the three masters of the Mexican School. A staunch Stalinist, Siqueiros’ outspoken political views and political activism ultimately estranged him from the Mexican government. As a result, Siqueiros was exiled and imprisoned numerous times. Released from prison in 1964, Siqueiros’ career flourished until his death ten years later.
To learn more about the Siqueiros Exhibition, click on the links below
SIQUEIROS AND THE WORLD AROUND HIM
SIQUEIROS AND INDUSTRIAL MATERIALS
SIQUEIROS AND COSMIC LANDSCAPE
SIQUEIROS AND HIS USE OF ALLEGORY
THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE MAZE BOOK