As a student at the National Preparatory School in the early 1920s, O’Gorman often stopped to watch José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera creating murals there. Although trained as an architect (he famously designed a modernist home—two buildings connected by a bridge—for Rivera and Frida Kahlo), O’Gorman left his thriving practice in 1935 to commit himself to painting. This is one of the many paintings of the Mexican countryside he made using tempera paint—a medium, popular in medieval and early Renaissance art, capable of producing the rich details O’Gorman desired. He presents a bird’s-eye view of a landscape that held personal importance to him: his Irish father, an amateur painter, had immigrated to Mexico to work in the mining industry. O’Gorman translated his love of Mexico’s arid topography into not only his paintings but also large stone mosaics he made from rocks collected throughout the country.
Gallery label from 2009.