José Guadalupe Posada Aguilar was a Mexican political printmaker, engraver and a cartoonist when photo-mechanical technology was at its beginning stages. He was born in Aguascalientes Mexico, February 2, 1852 and died in January 20, 1913. His life can be divided into three stages: Aguascalientes 1852-1872; León 1872-1889 (with 1888 as a year of transition), Mexico City 1889-1913.
His work has influenced many Latin American artist because of his political messages and social engagement. He created art work with skulls also known as “calaveras”, and bones to make political and cultural critiques. Amongst his famous works one that is well known is the infamous “La Catrina”. Some of the Artist and muralist that he influenced amongst Mexico were Diego Rivera, Alfaro Siqueiros, Jose Clemente Orozco, Frida Kahlo and Jean Charlot. In 1925 Charlot wrote a “Revista de Revistas” article. Charlot thought the art of José Posada, was connective to Mexico’s history and influential to the modern Mexican art movement. Charlot had a working relationship with one of the most important muralist in Mexico which was Diego Rivera. I believe it is worth mentioning that Jean Charot painted a mural in the administration building at the time (1951), at Arizona State College (ASU) named “Hopi Snare Dance and Preparing Anti-Venom Serum”it measures 25 x 25 feet.
One of the key publications that highlighted Jose Posada was “Mexican Folkways” which was a Mexico City based magazine published from 1925-1937. The magazine was in Spanish and English and founder/publisher was Frances Toor. Jean Charlot was also her art editor from 1924-1926 and Diego Rivera, became the magazine's art editor in 1926. In the 1928 edition, with cover art by Rivera, the first significant article about José Guadalupe Posada appeared to have been written by Frances Toor.
Another great legacy that Jose Posada left was the inspiration to the creation of the “Taller Editorial de Gráfica” (Popularthe Printmaking workshop) which was founded in 1937 by a group of artists who had supported the goals of the Mexican Revolution. Its founders built off a rich tradition of printmaking in Mexico, particularly the legacy of Jose Posada.Additionally, the community of artists in which they associated and collaborated would have an influence on Posada’s growing notoriety thus, begins the resurrection of Posada in the 1920s after his death.
Many of the Mexican Muralist that rose out of the Mexican Revolution were inspired by the works of Posada. Some of the muralist traveled to different parts of the world such as Europe, South America, and America and created works with the same revolutionary spirit.
During the Franklin Roosevelt the New Deal was made to cultivate the U.S. economic health and one of the important pieces was to promote arts and culture. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were amongst the first artist from Mexico to be invited and create art works in the country. Diego Rivera created murals for the Rockefeller Center in New York, The Art Institute in San Francisco, and Detroit Institute of Arts Museum in Michigan to name a few. Alfaro Siqueiros was also invited also created political murals in California in what we know as the “Placita Olvera” on Olvera St in Downtown Los Angeles. The mural he created was named “America Tropicana” which was controversial at the time and was white washed. That mural was one of the murals that inspired muralist during the Chicano Renaissance in the 1960’s. Leading the biggest Mexican American art movements in U.S. history. Many of the artist that came from the Chicano Art movement were creating printmaking, public artwork, paintings, sculptures, photographs, political posters, for social justice. It is amazing to me to see the influence and impact that someone's art can have generations to come.