The José Guadalupe Posada Show celebrates one of Mexico’s most sought after artists was a printmaker, a common man who died a pauper, his body interred in an unmarked grave.
Yet, José Guadalupe Posada Show has reached his countrymen through perhaps more than 20,000 images documenting nearly every aspect of life. Posada’s satirical skeletons, or calaveras, have become the most iconic and celebrated of his work.
The exhibition recognizes Posada’s cultural contributions, which reflect the spirit of Mexican identity in his time and imparts a universal perspective extending well beyond the borders of his native Mexico.
As Mexico modernized in the late 19th century, its capital bustled with published materials to satisfy the growing metropolis and its budding middle class, intelligentsias, and thousands of new residents relocating from the countryside.
Employed by the visionary publisher Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, Posada created expressive images reflecting and informing the transitioning culture of Mexico City’s residents.
“Posada engaged with the visual language of the time,” says Curator of Art Josie Lopez, Ph.D. “Modernism was developing. Mexico City was becoming cosmopolitan, on par with Paris and London.”
Posada’s art lampooned: politicians, recorded vivid images of the Mexican Revolution, inspired Mexico’s famed Taller Grafica Popular to use art for social causes, helped the Cuban Revolution succeed, adorned concert tickets for the Grateful Dead, and today leaps to life annually as the skeletal images seen during Day of the Dead, so popular now there is even a Disney and Pixar film, Coco, that celebrates the holiday.
Yet Posada’s influence is rarely associated with his name, his true story virtually unknown.
In addition to José Guadalupe Posada: Legendary Printmaker of Mexico, Albuquerque Museum will present two other exhibitions this Winter that further the artistic narrative of Mexico: Luís Jiménez: Motion and Emotion (which opens January 16, 2021) and Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism (which opens February 6, 2021).
Together, they provide an opportunity to explore how Mexican art responded to and shaped the political and creative identity of Mexico.
Each of these exhibitions include works by contemporary artists from the United States and Mexico such as Luís Jiménez, Esther Hernandez, and others who were looking to Posada and the Mexican modernists as groundbreaking examples who reshaped art and culture in a particular time and place.
José Guadalupe Posada Aguilar was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, February 2, 1852, he died in Mexico City, Mexico, January 20, 1913. José Guadalupe Posada was a Mexican artist who lived over one hundred years ago.
He worked as a lithographer, engraver and cartoonist or what might be termed a caricaturist because he made drawings that were later photographed for publications such as “Argos”, “Gil Blas’ or the “Biblioteca del Niño Mexicano” (Reference: Bonilla, personal communication).
He worked at a time when photo-mechanical technology was in its infancy but growing is use. Earlier in his career his images were mainly lithographs and engravings.
Posada’s images are among the most widely seen and his legacy perhaps the most influential of all Mexican artists yet his name has yet to achieve the level of recognition as that of artists such as: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo or Rufino Tamayo.
Various aspects of Posada’s story are contained in the digital format of this website including some of the latest historical research about Posada.
His art as contained in our collection, exhibitions, relevant links, documentary film information and merchandise.
From Posada’s famed Day of the Dead images, Chicano Art (Latinx Art), the Grateful Dead and social movement imagery, José Guadalupe Posada inspiring spirit is ever present.
Thanks to many fine scholars, as we learn more about Posada we revise and update what we learn and piece by piece a more complete story of his life emerges. For example, the original Monografía. Las obras de José Guadalupe Posada.
Grabador mexicano, published in 1930, among other errors, shows his birth year as 1851.
This date is still sometimes repeated in subsequent publications but, thanks to research efforts of Alejandro Topete del Valle, Posada’s birth year has been established as 1852 and also to his credit is much more detail about Posada’s family and early life in Aguascalientes.
for more information please visit:
José Guadalupe Posada: Legendary Printmaker of Mexico
December 19, 2020–May 23, 2021
2000 Mountain Rd NW,
Albuquerque, NM 87104