Diego Rivera - Latin America New York Tuesday, November 15, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Emmy Lou Packard Collection
    Private Collection, San Francisco

  • Catalogue Essay

    In honor of San Francisco’s Golden Gate International Exposition in 1940, Diego Rivera was commissioned to create a monumental mural titled Pan American Unity. One of his most renowned murals to date, it celebrates artistic, historical, and technological harmony throughout the American continents.

    During his stay in the Bay Area, Rivera witnessed the construction of the Shasta Dam, a large-scale engineering project that, in the post-Great Depression years, was an important source of employment and economic recovery. Thinking of the dam as a symbol of positive progress through science and community, Rivera incorporated it into his mural.

    The work which comprises the present lot is a preparatory drawing for this element of the mural. Rivera’s deft use of pencil and line are evident as he imbues the image with a clear sense of dynamism and industrial grandeur. He gave this drawing as a gift to Emmy Lou Packard, an artist who assisted Rivera throughout the creation of the mural.

  • Artist Biography

    Diego Rivera

    Mexican • 1886 - 1957

    Diego Rivera began drawing at the age of three, and by ten he was enrolled at the San Carlos Academy in Mexico City. In 1907, he traveled to Europe on a scholarship to continue his artistic studies. Whilst in Paris, Rivera embraced the advent of Cubism, and later Post-Impressionism, taking inspiration from such European artists as Picasso and Cézanne.

    In 1921, Rivera returned to Mexico and became involved in the government-sponsored Mexican mural program. He became best-known for his frescoes painted in a distinctive style characterized by bold colors and ample, Renaissance-inspired figures. Rivera was an atheist and joined the Mexican Communist party in 1922. He was married five times, including twice to Frida Kahlo, with whom he had a famously volatile relationship.

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circa 1940
Pencil on paper.
12 x 9 in. (30.5 x 22.9 cm).
Titled and inscribed "Shasta by Diego Rivera from Collection Emmy Lou Packard" in an unidentified hand, lower edge.

$7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $8,750

Latin America

14 & 15 November 2011
New York