David Alfaro Siqueiros. Moisés Sáenz. 1931
David Alfaro Siqueiros

Moisés Sáenz

1931
Not on view
Medium
Lithograph
Dimensions
composition: 21 7/16 x 16 1/8" (54.5 x 41 cm); sheet: 28 1/4 x 22 15/16" (71.8 x 58.3 cm)
Publisher
Weyhe Gallery, New York
Printer
George C. Miller, New York
Edition
50
Credit
Inter-American Fund
Object number
78.1943
Copyright
© 2015 Siqueiros David Alfaro / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico
Department
Drawings and Prints

The most politically radical of the trio of Mexican muralists known as "the three giants," David Alfaro Siqueiros sought to create an art that communicated his Communist ideology to a large proletarian audience. Carl Zigrosser of the Weyhe Gallery in New York encouraged Siqueiros to make lithographs while he was exhibiting his work in the city during the 1930s. All in all, the artist made some twenty-five lithographs and a range of woodcuts during his career. Like those of Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, Siqueiros's lithographs were intended for North American collectors, while his woodcuts had a much broader reach in Mexico, appearing as illustrations in political magazines.

After working for several years in Europe, Siqueiros returned to Mexico City in 1922 to join a group of young artists developing a national mural program. A high-profile Communist party leader and union organizer, Siqueiros edited El Machete, the artists' union news sheet. It was there that he published his manifesto proclaiming easel painting irrelevant and elitist, and where his popular woodcut illustrations in the tradition of Mexico's José Guadalupe Posada appeared.

This portrait lithograph was completed after Siqueiros's six-month incarceration for Communist activities, while he was living in Taxco under "town arrest." Like other lithographs published by the Weyhe Gallery, this one was made by transporting drawings, printing proofs, and possibly even lithographic stones back and forth between the United States and Mexico. The subject, Moisés Sáenz, was an innovative educator who had engineered a system of schools in rural Mexico and had become Siqueiros's patron and supporter during a very difficult period in the artist's life. Related to a similar painting, this likeness exaggerates Sáenz's features, isolating and monumentalizing his head to present the man as a timeless presence.

Publication excerpt from Deborah Wye, Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2004, p. 127

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Image permissions

In order to effectively service requests for images, The Museum of Modern Art entrusts the licensing of images of works of art in its collections to the agencies Scala Archives and Art Resource. As MoMA’s representatives, these agencies supply high-resolution digital image files provided to them directly by the Museum's imaging studios.

All requests to reproduce works of art from MoMA's collection within North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico) should be addressed directly to Art Resource at 536 Broadway, New York, New York 10012. Telephone (212) 505-8700; fax (212) 505-2053; requests@artres.com; artres.com. Requests from all other geographical locations should be addressed directly to Scala Group S.p.A., 62, via Chiantigiana, 50012 Bagno a Ripoli/Firenze, Italy. Telephone 39 055 6233 200; fax 39 055 641124; firenze@scalarchives.com; scalarchives.com.

Requests for permission to reprint text from MoMA publications should be addressed to text_permissions@moma.org.

Related links:
Outside North America: Scala Archives
North America: Art Resource