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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist; Collection of Barbara and John Duncan; Irving Richards, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Huntington Hartford Museum, José Clemente Orozco, September 7 - October 17, 1965; Monterrey, Mexico, MARCO, Jalisco: Genio y Maestría, May - August, 1994; Mexico City, Mexico, Antiguo Colegio de San Ildefonso, Jalisco: Genio y Maestría, February - May, 1995; Nassau County Museum of Art, The Latin Century: Beyond the Border, August 18 - November 3, 2002

  • Literature

    MARCO, Jalisco: Genio y Maestría, Monterrey, Mexico, 1994, p. 123, cat. 137 (illustrated).

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1883, Jose Clemente Orozco is considered a Mexican Social Realist painter. While attending the Academia de San Carlos, in Mexico City, Orozco would visit the workshop of the elderly artist Jose Guadalupe Posada, whose popular-culture imagery was driven by social, political, and tabloid themes. During the Mexican Revolution (Revolucion Mexicana), Orozco was politically very active and witnessed its horrors fi rst hand. He became a political cartoonist, publishing most of his work in local newspapers. Throughout his career he combined painting with drawing and lithography while being in an ideal position to observe human suffering to illustrate how diffi cult it would be for Mexican people to obtain social justice.
     
     
    The present painting ‘Naturaleza Muerta (Autorretrato)’, which was created in the last years of his life, is a still life in which the artist depicts himself. The subject matter captures a moment where Orozco is just in the process of portraying himself. Still life—s a genre—usually represents commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made. In Orozco’s still life he implements his persona into the scenery. The composition is fractured in different color planes, which are loosely and expressionistic applied with visible brushstrokes. His style is reminiscent of Late-Cubism and his major infl uence of Symbolism becomes evident—eferencing his political attitude as well as his childhood accident when loosing his left hand.
     
     
    “A key to understanding Orozco’s work is an awareness of the relation between the artist’s passionate idealism and his pessimism. Spain’s greatest fi lmmaker, the late Luis Bunuel, declared that ‘man is never free, yet he fi ghts for what he can never be, and that is tragic.’Orozco’s sense of the human condition was based on a similar conviction of tragic impasse. ‘To have a tragic vision in the Americas is extremely diffi cult,’ says Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, ‘because we were founded as the Brave New World of happiness, the great utopia. So when a writer like Faulkner breaks through the optimism of the United States, or a painter like Orozco breaks through the promise of Mexico of the New World, it is a very striking event.’ Through his art Orozco shared his trauma and his anger, which he insisted over and over, in many forms, is our trauma and should be our anger. ‘Painting,’ Orozco believed, ‘assails the mind. It persuades the heart.’”
    Jacquelynn Baas

189

Naturaleza Muerta (Autorretrato)

1944
Oil on canvas.
25 x 34 in. (63.5 x 86.4 cm).
Signed and dated "J.C. Orozco 1944" lower right.

Estimate
$300,000 - 400,000 

Sold for $290,500

Latin America

3 Oct 2009
New York