Press Release

JOSÉ CLEMENTE OROZCO: Paintings, Drawings, Graphics

Stendhal Gallery is proud to present José Clemente Orozco: Paintings, Drawings, Graphics, on view from April 27 – June 3, 2006. Known primarily for his large-scale public murals, the drawings, paintings and graphics of José Clemente Orozco (1883 – 1949) at Stendhal Gallery reveal a personal perspective on one of the greatest Mexican artists of the 20th century. He is credited for leading the renaissance of Modern Mexican art, and for effectively launching the Mexican muralist movement. This exhibition, mounted in collaboration with the Fundación José Clemente Orozco, consists of over 50 rarely-seen works spanning the last twenty years of his artistic career, from the 1920’s through the 1940’s. Even today, the works resonate as remarkably fresh and expressive.

José Clemente Orozco was born in 1883, in Cuidad Guzmán, Jalisco, Mexico. At age 7 he began studying art at San Carlos Academy. In 1910, when Mexico exploded into revolution, Orozco forged ahead with a renewed passion for artistic expression; he began drawing political cartoons for La Vanguardia, a radical newspaper. His first individual exhibition in Mexico City in 1916—which included drawings of prostitutes—garnered harsh criticism in Mexico, and the following year, Orozco left his native country for America. This would mark his first of several stays in the United States, where he lived and worked in San Francisco and New York.

He perceived America as a beacon of social and technological advancement, depicting architectural and cultural themes in works such as World’s Highest Structure (1930) and Black Dance in Harlem (1946). Orozco drew inspiration from a wide range of sources, including Byzantine mosaics in Europe, the work of Mexican engraver Jose Posada, and Pablo Picasso’s paintings. The works on display reveal an artist whose grasp reaches far beyond the nationalist and socialist framework within which he is often categorized; they deal with themes of humanity. The paintings, drawings and graphics exhibited were produced at a later time of his life, revealing the final stages of his work’s evolution. Paintings shown from the Teules Series (Fabulous Beings) include 1947’s Mask with Jades ( 1947), and Skull with Feathers ( 1947) and reflect upon the epic event of the Spanish Conquest . Drawings from the La Verdad series such as Truth twisted, deformed, altered, mutilated (1945) and Erotic Figures (1945) illustrate Orozco’s experimental approach to the human form.

Orozco’s later works are smaller and more intimate than his large-scale paintings and murals, evoking symbolic and personal themes. As the artist himself stated—“the small works reveal the private life of the individual”. His son, Clemente Orozco Valladares, explains that Orozco “spent his life painting thousands of square feet of frescoes on the walls of universities and cultural landmarks. For this reason his easel work is scarce. It is extremely difficult to find it in galleries; this exhibition is therefore an exceedingly rare opportunity to see and acquire his authentic works.”

April 27 – June 3, 2006

Opening Reception:
April 27, from 6 – 9 pm










Harry Stendhal

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