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Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886 – 1957, sleep, 1932. Lithograph. Purchase of the McNay Museum with funds from the Cullen Foundation, Friends of the McNay, Charles Butt, Margaret Pace Willson, and Jane and Arthur Stieren. © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, México, DF / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
McNay Art Museum

David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896 – 1974, Portrait of William Spratling, Taxco 1939. Lithograph. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harry C. Burkhalter 1962.10
McNay Art Museum

The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio offers a rare opportunity to view almost all of the prints in its permanent collection of Los Tres Grande or “The Big Three” of Mexican Modernism.Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Los Tres Grandes: Obras de Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco can be viewed in the Frost Galleries until January 3, 2021.

Mexico has the longest printmaking tradition in all of the Americas, dating back to 1539. Spurred on by the Mexican Revolution of 1910, the golden age of printmaking began in the 1920s and lasted until the 1940s. The great influence of the revolution is revealed in the prints on display, ranging from the heroic depiction of Emiliano Zapata by Rivera, to the exploration of sculpture by Siqueiros in his large-scale lithographs, to Orozco’s condemnation of war. Through their cycles of monumental frescoes, these three artists became the first Mexican artists to achieve worldwide fame.

A selection of artwork from the exhibition by the next generation of Mexican printmakers, the artists who founded the collaborative print studio El Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP) in 1937 – illustrate the enduring influence of los tres grandes and include masterful lithographs and linocuts by Jesus Escobedo, Leopoldo Mendez and Francisco Mora. Like “the big three”, these artists continued to explore the history and consequences of the Mexican Revolution.

“The McNay has one of the largest collections of Mexican Modernist prints in the world,” said Lyle W. Williams, Curator of the Collections. “The collection dates back to the late 1920s, when our founder Marion Koogler McNay purchased Diego Rivera’s painting, Delfina Flores.”

The museum’s commitment to Mexican art has deepened over the past 66 years through a number of acquisitions, including a very large group of prints produced at the TGP in Mexico City, and the acquisition of duplicates prints of los tres grandes from the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2000.

Los Tres Grandes: Obras de Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco is curated for the McNay Art Museum by Lyle W. Williams, Curator of Collections.

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