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DIEGO RIVERA (Mexico, Guanajuato City 1886-1957 / act: Mexico City)

Diego Rivera Diego Rivera is the Mexican artist best known for his expansive and politically charged murals, as well as for his love affair with artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954). He was born Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez on 8 December 1886 in Guanajuato in the central highlands of Mexico. He was born a twin, but his brother, Carlos María, died before he turned 2. Rivera studied painting in Mexico before going to Europe in 1907. While in Europe he took up Cubism and had exhibitions in Paris and Madrid in 1913; he then had a show in New York City in 1916. In 1921 he returned to Mexico, where he undertook government-sponsored murals that reflected his communist politics in historical contexts. He married Kahlo in 1929, and their tempestuous marriage got to be as famous as their art. In the 1930s and 1940s Rivera worked in the United States and Mexico, and many of his paintings stirred up controversy. His 1933 mural for the RCA Building at the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan featured a portrait of Communist Party leader Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924); the resulting uproar led to his dismissal and to the mural's official destruction in 1934. Similarly, a 1948 mural for the Hotel de Prado in Mexico that included the words "God does not exist" was covered and withheld from public view for 9 years! Even so, Rivera's talent for historical murals and his tributes to earthy folk traditions made him one of the most influential artists in the Americas and one of Mexico's most beloved painters. Never very faithful romantically, Rivera was married four times to three different women: Guadalupe Marin (1922-1927), Kahlo (1929-1939, then again from 1940 until her death in 1954), and to art dealer Emma Hurtado (from 1955 until his death on 24 November 1957). He also lived with the artist Angelina Beloff (1879-1969) in Paris for many years.

[Megakles Rogakos 02/2008]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
OLGA'S GALLERY Diego Rivera: Political Vision of the Mexican People 1922
PHILIP STEIN, SIQUEIROS His Life and Works 1994 International Publishers Co.
DOUGLAS, SARAH Rivera Steals the Show at Sotheby's 25/05/2005
CHASTEEN, JOHN CHARLES Born in Blood and Fire 2006 W.W. Norton & Company, p.225
THERESE POLETTI & TOM PAIVA Art Deco San Francisco: The Architecture of Timothy Pflueger 2008 Princeton Architectural Press
ROGAKOS, MEGAKLES Frances Rich - La Gazelle 2010 The American College of Greece - ACG Art, Athens

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