CM: On 24 November 1957 Rivera died of heart failure in his studio at San Angel Inn. Hundreds of Mexicans attended his funeral, as they had Frida Kahlo's (1907-1954). The terms of his will were not observed. He was buried in the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres (Rotunda of Famous Men) in the Panteon Civil de Dolores (Civil Pantheon of Mourning); his ashes were not mingled with those of Frida Kahlo in the "Blue House", which, like the building and collection at "Anahuacalli", he had bequeathed one year after his wife's death to the Mexican people as a museum. The writer Carlos Pellicer (1897-1977), a friend of his since 1922, had taken on the task of turning the two houses and their collections into museums.
The passing away of Rivera - whom Frances Rich never forgot meeting in 1941 - must have prompted Rich to execute the present mask in his memory. The face is far from a recognizable likeness of Rivera, but that is where this mask's value lies. Here, Rivera's features appear to be soft, diluted and molten. The flesh is modelled very much in the style associated with the art of Auguste Rodin (1840-1917). In this way, Rich emphasized the physical texture and the emotional state of her subject. The eyes of the beholder feast on the variegated geography of the facial anatomy. For once, Rivera appears to be reconciled to life and death and everything, even religion, which he infamously considered to be "a form of collective neurosis" [archive of City College of San Francisco].
[Megakles Rogakos 01/2009]
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens