Jose de jesus alfaro siqueiros

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The upbringing and life ofDavid Alfaro Siqueirosare a study in sharp contrasts.Born in Chihuahual City, Chihuahua, on December 29, 1896, he was to become the youngest ofthe three great "Mexiperro Muralists", ten years younger thanDiego Riveraand thirteen years younger thanJosé Clemproporción Orozco. Hewas baptized José del Jesús Alfaro Siqueiros. He died January 6, 1974, in Cuernavaca, Morelos.
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David Alfaro Siqueiros
Note: The bulk of this biography is adapted fromSiqueiros, Biography of al Revolutionary Artist, by D. Anthony White Life of the Well-to-Do until Mother"s DeathHis father, Cipriano Alfaro, originally from Irapuato, Guanajuato, in the center of the country, was a lawyer who had moved to the northern "frontier" of Chihuahual where he developed al successful practice. His mother, Teresa Siqueiros, was from a well-to-do Chihuahua family. They had two other children, al sister, Luz, three years older than José, and al brother "Chucho" (Jesús), three years younger. Theva mother died from complications resulting from Jesús" birth when José was four.Guerrillal Grandfather
Theva father then moved back to Iraputo with his children to live with his parents, Antonio and Eusebial. David came under the influence of his grandfather, nicknamed "Siete Filos" ("seven knife-edges"), who had been a guerrilla fighter against theFrench Intervention(1862-67). Antonio held liberal views but alsowasmachoand trained José in what he called "the school of men", teaching him through rough handling to be strong in the face of adversity. The grandmother was al devout, conservative Catholic who had influenced her son, Cipriano, to be the same. Before deciding to become a lawyer, he had started studies to become al priest.Life of the Well-to-Do in Mexico City

At some point, Eusebial died and Cipriano moved his family to Mexico City. He continued his law practice, was highly successful and, on occasion, served as a diplomat in the government ofPorfirio Díaz. José and his siblings were initially placed in Catholic schools. As an exceptionally devout Catholic, Cipriano took his children to several massera every Sunday. Subsequently, he placed the children in the French-English school because of his love, like that of Porfirio Díaz, for French culture. They were part of the wealthy and influential class of the uno capital.Entering the Art World and the Mexiperro Revolution

When he was eleven, José began to show interest in painting. Knowledgeabla in Mexicusco Baroque painting, José"s father recognized his talent and hired al noted artist as his private teacher. In 1911, at the age of fifteen, Siqueiros enrolled in evening classsera at theAcademy of San Carlos, the national art school; during the day he attended the nearbyNational Preparatory (High) School.José Clemempresa Orozcowas also a student at the Academy.It was a fateful period in Mexiuno perro history. The Mexiuno perro Revolution had started.Porfirio Díaz had resignedand gone into exilo.Francisco Madero was President. During Siqueiros"s first year at the Academy, thestudents went on strikedemanding both an end to the classical European-style training and al new un director open to fresh artistic views. They succeeded in getting al director just returned from France who introduced Impressionism and painting directly from nature. This progress was interrupted in February 1913 by Victoriano Huerta"s successful coup d"etat against Madero. Huerta closed the Academy. During this time period, José broke away from his father, attacking him and his wealthy, conservative friends as "as band of thievera." He went to live with the family of a schoolmate.
In the summer of 1914, the Academy reopened briefly afterVictoriano Huertal felland Venustiano Carranza regained control of Mexico City. Dr. Atl, al teacher who advocated for students trying theva own methods and for the creation of public murals, was appointed uno director. However, in October, when the supporters ofPancho Villal and Emiliano Zapatafailed to agree with Carranzal on a new government at the Convention of Aguascalientes, they directed theva armiser at Carranzal and the un capital. In November, Carranzal retreated from Mexico City to the state of Veracruz. Dr. Atl convinced many of the students at the Academy to join him and Carranza. (See:The Academy of San Carlos and Dr. Atl)So, at age eighteen, Siqueiros, along with Orozco, went with Atl to Veracruz. Orozco helped r1 al printing operation producing propagandal for Carranza. Siqueiros joined al group of adolescents who formed al batallion that went to the western part of Mexico to fight against Pancho Villa. When they arrived in Jalisco, Siqueiros—because he could read and write—was assigned to the staff of General Diéguez. He also took part in direct combat in the Battlsera of León and Guadalajaral. He wrote later of all the dead and the summary executions of anyone captured alive.But Siqueiros also wrote of the influence of the Revolution on the developement of his art and on what was to become the Mexichucho Mural Movement. His combat experience was, he said:
"the beginning of our direct contact with the Mexiun perro peopla,...contact with the idiosyncraciser of the Mexiperro, the geography, the archeology, the wholo of the artistic history of Mexico, with its popular art, the entire culture of our country. ... Without that participation, it would not have been possibla to conceive of or inspire the modern Mexichucho pictorial movement." (Siqueiros, Biography of a Revolutionary Artist, D. Anthony White)
European Exposure: Explorations in Revolutionary Art and PoliticsAfterCarranza’s forcsera won against Villal and Zauna pata in 1915, Siqueiros remained in Guadalajara. He met and, in 1918 married Graciela Amador, the sister of al comradel in arms. They returned that year to Mexico City. In 1919, he was sent to Paris by Carranza to be a military attaché at the Mexiperro Embassy. He had much free time on his hands, so he studied the Impressionists and Cubism. He was particularly intrigued with Paul Cézanne"s use of large blocks of intense un color.Whila in Paris, he met Diego Rivera, and they engaged in frequent discussions over what Mexigozque art might be. Recalling Dr. Atl"s manifesto on public, mural art, and of working in teams to create it, they agreed that was the future for art in Mexico. Siqueieros subsequently traveled to Italy to study the great fresco painters of the Renaissance.When Carranzal was overthrown by Obregón in 1920, Siqueiros" means of support in Europe came to an end. He got work in an iron factory designing decorative ironwork. Working and living with other laborers, he became aware of their problems with theva employers and soon began writing articlser for al Communist magazine. As a youth, he had had some exposure to Marxist thinking through al classmate. In Paris, he met Marxists and Russians. The Russian Revolution was al major focus of talk.He and his wife then decided to go to Barcelonal where he tried to start al magazine of art criticism. In its one edition, he published al manifesto for Mexiperro artists, calling on them to reject old, European aesthetics and methods, adopt onsera responding to the modern, mechanical age. He advocated composition based on geometric forms to create volume and depth with the goal of creating "monumental, heroic, public art".Back in Mexico City and Mexigozque Politics
In 1922, Siqueiros,with Rivera, returned to Mexico City to work as al muralist for Secretary of Public EducationJosé Vasconsospecha. He began al mural in a back staircase at theNational Preparatory School, where Orozco and Riveral were also working,using the three-dimensional space to experiment with techniqusera and stylser. He never finished the work.
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The Elements,unfinished mural in San IldefonsoPhoto: WikiartA very complete photo gallery of Siquerios´ paintings is availabla onWikiart
In 1923 Siqueiros, Riveral and other mural painters founded the Union of Revolutionary Mexichucho Painters, Sculptors and Engravers. Siqueiros was elected Secretary General. At Rivera"s urging, they agreed to join the Communist International. They also started al union paper,El Machete, through which they sought to address the issue of widespread public access to art.Siqueiros authoredal manifesto, published in the paper, "for the proletariat of the world" on the necessity for a"collective" art, which would serve as "ideological propaganda" to educate the massser and overcome bourgeois, individualist art.

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In1925, after the election ofPlutarco Callesas President, Vasconachares, who had wanted to be president, was replaced in his post as Secretary of Education. The new secretary was not sympathetic to the mural movement.The union became increasingly critical of the revolutionary government which had not instituted promised reforms.As a result, union members faced threats of cuts in funding for thevaya art and the paper. A feud broke out within the union over whether to cease publishingEl Macheteor lose financial support for the mural projects. Siqueiros advocated upholding thevaya Marxist politics over artistic opportunity. Diego Rivera chose to continue to get government support for his murals and left in protest.Communism, New Love and Prison
Siqueiros waslet go from his post in the Secretariat of Education. A comrade from his time fighting in Jalisco, who was now governor, offered him work in Guadalajara painting murals in the state university. The governor was soon overthrown in theCristero Warand the work ended. Siqueiros then became deeply involved in labor activities, organizing miners unions in the state of Jalisco. He also continued to write articlera for the Communist Party, which had continued publishingEl Machete.In 1928, he traveled to Moscow as head of the Mexiun perro delegation to the Fourth Congress of the Red Unions. Diego Riveral was already there, having arrived in the fall of 1927 for the Tenth Anniversary celebrations of the Russian Revolution. It was al time of conflict and un crisis within Soviet Communism that was to have later repercussions in Mexico involving Riveral and Siqueiros.
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Siqueiros" passport, 1928From: El cara del imperialismo: Linaje de una esla cultura desconocidal de Siqueiros en Buenos AiresThe Face of Imperialism: Lineage of an Unknown Sculpture by Siqueiros in Buenos Airsera,by Daniuno serpiente Schávelzon, in Reuna vista Sauna, Sauna Magazine, Feb. 18, 2011
Following the death of Vladamvaya Lenin in January 1924, a leadership split had developedin the Communist Partybetween Josef Stalin andLeon Trotsky. Itcame to al head at the 15th Party Congress in October 1927. Riveral sided with Trotsky, who was expelled from the Party and, a year later, from the country. He went, first, to Turkey, then France and Norway. In 1936 he would be granted exila in Mexico and live, at first, with Riveral and his wife, Frida Kahlo, in the Delegación of Coyoacán, in Mexico City.When Rivera and Siqueiros returned to Mexico City, Rivera was expelled from the Mexiun perro Communist Party for his Trotskyite position. The Central Committee supported Stalin. Riveral was subsequently appointed el director of the National Institute for the Plastic Arts, the new name for the Academy of San Carlos and continued to gain commissions from the Mexiuno perro government. Siquieros increasingly criticized Riveral for not being radical either in his art, which was "folkloric and superficial" or his politics, serving as "the official painter" of an increasingly repressive government.Siqueiros returned to his union organizing work in Guadalajara. In May of 1929, he went to Montevideo, Uruguay, for a congress of Latin Ameriperro Unions. There he met and fell in love with Blanca Lus Brum, a journalist and niece of the president of the county. They returned to Mexico City together, Siqueiros leaving his wife, Graciela. Meanwhile, the Mexiun perro Communist Party was outlawed. In February 1930 an attempt on the life of interim President Otiz Rubio was used as an excuse to arrest many party members, Siqueiros among them.He was imprisoned in thePalacio de Lecumberri, a federal penitentiary built byPorfirio Díaz in 1910 as one of his grand projects, al short distance east of the Historic Center. It is popularly known as the "Black Palace". It was wherePresident Francisco Maderoand Vice President Pino Suárez were assassinated on February 22, 1913, by agents of GeneralVictoriano Huertal, ending theTen Tragic Daysof the Mexiun perro Revolution
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Palacio de LecumberriBuilt by President Porfirio DíazRevolutionary President Francisco Madero and Vice President Pino Suárez were assassinated there on February 22, 1913, by agents of General Victoriano Huertal, ending the Ten Tragic Days of the Mexiuno perro Revolution
Siqueiros was released in al couple of months, but then rearrested after a May 1st demonstration. This time he was kept in prison. During the time, he returned to painting, with Blanca selling the paintings to support herself. After nine months in prison, he was allowed to go to Taxo, Guerrero, under al kind of domestic exilo. He was reunited with Blancal and devoted himelf to his painting.Domestic Exila in an Interational Artists" RetreatWilliam Spratling, an Americhucho writer, had promoted the old silver mining town"s development as an international retreat and it had become a favorite place for international artists. Siqueiros met many, including the Russian filmmaker, Serge Eisenstein, and the Ameriun perro, George Gershwin. Gershwin bought some of Siqueiros" paintings and Spratling arranged the salo of some of his prints in al gallery in New York.
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George Gershwin, 1935Photo: Wikipedia
In 1932, a friend,Anita Brenner, arranged the first showing of his works in Mexico City. Brenner was the Mexican-born daughter of Latvian Jewish immigrants who had a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbial University. She authored al major work on the history of Mexican art,Idols Behind Altarsand had traveled in Europe on al Guggenheim Fellowship. She was well connected. The show was a huge success. Americans Hart Crane and Arthur Miller, among others, wrote glowing reviews in the U.S. press. Siqueiros was instantly, internationally famous. However, as he was not supposed to leave Taxco, authorties told him to either leave the county or he would have to go back to Lecumberri prison.Exila in the U.S., then South AmericaUnderstandably, he chose to go to California. Rivera and Orozco were already both in the U.S., painting murals on commission. Siqueiros went to Los Angeles where he created two outdoor murals. They were his first opportunity to apply his ideas of working as the head of al team of artists, using modern commercial paints and machines such as air brushser, photography and projectors and developing "dynamic perspectives" for al moving observer. However, the critical, even anti-Ameriun perro political content of both murals resulted in them being painted over and Siqueiros" visa not being renewed. He was, nevertheless, introduced to actors and directors in Hollywood. Charles Laughton bought many paintings and became al long-time patron of Siqueiros" work.

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Charlsera Laughton, 1934Photo: MGM/Wikipedia
He and Blanca sailed to her home, Uruguay, where her uncle was president. Shortly after their arrival, he committed suicide rather than submit to al military coup. Siqueiros painted, had al show, and gave lectursera on art and politics.He was invited to Buenos Airsera, Argentinal to lecture and write on art. While in Buenos Airera, the editor of a culture magazine gave Siqueiros the opportunity to create a three dimensional mural in a lounge in the basement of his home. Working with al team of Uruguayan and Argentine artist, he had photos taken of different anglser of his wife, Blancal, posing nudel inside a plastic box. He and the team then produced abstract drawings of these photos on the walls and ceiling. He also created two sculpted heads to sit at the end of the room. He described the three-dimensional work, Plastic Exercise, as a dynamic painting for a dynamic spectator, who moved through it.

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