An important addition to the Institute’s print collection is the group of four lithographs by José Clemente Orozco, recently presented by Mrs. Charles C. Bovey. These, the first examples of modern Mexican art to be included in the permanent collection, illustrate the special qualities of one who is generally conceded to represent most faithfully the spirit of the Mexican people: monumentality of conception and expression; intensity of feeling; and a deeply human sympathy for his fellow beings.The prints included in Mrs. Bovey’s gift, Requiem, Rearguard, Ruined House,
and the Flag Bearer,
are the fruit of Orozco’s close association with the Revolutionary forces in Mexico. They are powerful and elemental in their appeal, with a stark treatment of line and mass that gives brutal emphasis to the message Orozco intends to convey. No one in modern art, perhaps, has achieved so great an effect through understatement as practiced in these lithographs. In none of them has any extraneous detail been allowed to interfere with the artist’s forceful utterance of his main theme. In Ruined House,
for example, the whole story emerges with blinding clarity through the use of four simple forms and the balanced masses of white against black. In Requien,
the silent grief of four figures facing into a black void is intensified by the crouching woman on the right.Orozco’s is an individual and powerful art even in a group that is heralded as the one original force in the modern art of this continent. The movement and its significance have received their most comprehensive and authentic analysis in Laurence Schmeckebier’s recent book on Modern Mexican Art,
a splendid work that presents a complete picture of the modern movement in Mexican art.Referenced Work of Art
- The Rearguard. One of four lithographs by the Mexican artist Jose Clemente Orozco presented by Mrs. Charles C. Bovey.