Diego Rivera - Latin America New York Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2005

  • Catalogue Essay

    "The earliest memory I have is that I was drawing." Diego Rivera

    One of the greatest Mexican artists of the Twentieth century, Diego Rivera is widely celebrated as a seminal figure in Latin American Modernism. His dynamic compositions and vibrant palettes masterfully depict Mexico’s native culture and landscape, frequently alluding to stark socioeconomic and political realities. During the artist’s youth, his father worked as a government official, dealing with social reforms to help the working poor. His family’s commitment to the plight of the working class was a major influence in Rivera’s life, ultimately becoming the focus of his creative production.

    As a child, Rivera spent hours covering the walls of his home with drawings, foreshadowing the prolific artist he would become. He later attended the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City and continued his education in Europe. During his time in Paris, Rivera was exposed to the avant-garde proposals of Piet Mondrian, Amadeo Modigliani and Pablo Picasso. Fascinated by Cubism, Rivera stated, "Everything about the movement fascinated and intrigued me. It was a revolutionary movement, questioning everything that had been said and done in art."

    After his return to Mexico, Rivera merged his interest in artistic innovation with his passion for furthering social change. The present lot, Turkey Market, 1935, exemplifies Rivera’s move away from Cubism towards a realism that communicates the essence of his native Mexico, tinged with the socio-political concerns that he actively voiced throughout his life. His subject in Turkey Market is a woman carrying a child on her back while determinedly going about the business of the day. Her direct gaze and robust features convey a hard-working, dignified individual, noble in her determination to rise above the plight of her socio-economic conditions.

  • 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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Turkey Market

circa 1935
watercolor on rice paper
15 x 10 7/8 in. (38.1 x 27.6 cm.)
Signed "Diego Rivera" upper edge.

$70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for $106,250

Contact Specialist
Laura González
Head of Latin America Sale
+1 212 940 1216

Latin America

New York Auction 29 May 2014 4pm