José Clemente Orozco

José Clemente Orozco

Overview
José Clemente Orozco was a Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 social realist
Social realism
Social Realism, also known as Socio-Realism, is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through unvarnished pictures of life's struggles; often depicting working class activities as heroic...

 painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, who specialized in bold mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

s that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance
Mexican Muralism
Mexican muralism is a Mexican art movement. The most important period of this movement took place primarily from the 1920s to the 1960s, though it exerted an influence on later generations of Mexican artists...

together with murals by Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

, David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

, and others. Orozco was the most complex of the Mexican muralists
Mexican murals
Mexican murals are an important part of Mexican culture and history. Murals have been used for political, social, environmental, and cultural representation.-Mayans and Aztecs:...

, fond of the theme of human suffering, but less realistic and more fascinated by machines than Rivera. Mostly influenced by Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

, he was also a genre painter and lithographer
Lithography
Lithography is a method for printing using a stone or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface...

. Between 1922 and 1948, Orozco painted murals in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, Orizaba
Orizaba
Orizaba is a city and municipality in the Mexican state of Veracruz. It is located 20 km west of its sister city Córdoba, and is adjacent to Río Blanco and Ixtaczoquitlán, on Federal Highways 180 and 190. The city had a 2005 census population of 117,273 and is almost coextensive with its small...

, Claremont, California
Claremont, California
Claremont is a small affluent college town in eastern Los Angeles County, California, United States, about east of downtown Los Angeles at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The population as of the 2010 census is 34,926. Claremont is known for its seven higher-education institutions, its...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Hanover, New Hampshire
Hanover, New Hampshire
Hanover is a town along the Connecticut River in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 11,260 at the 2010 census. CNN and Money magazine rated Hanover the sixth best place to live in America in 2011, and the second best in 2007....

, Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is located in the central region of Jalisco in the western-pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,564,514 it is Mexico's second most populous municipality...

, and Jiquilpan, Michoacán.
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Encyclopedia
José Clemente Orozco was a Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 social realist
Social realism
Social Realism, also known as Socio-Realism, is an artistic movement, expressed in the visual and other realist arts, which depicts social and racial injustice, economic hardship, through unvarnished pictures of life's struggles; often depicting working class activities as heroic...

 painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

, who specialized in bold mural
Mural
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface. A particularly distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture.-History:Murals of...

s that established the Mexican Mural Renaissance
Mexican Muralism
Mexican muralism is a Mexican art movement. The most important period of this movement took place primarily from the 1920s to the 1960s, though it exerted an influence on later generations of Mexican artists...

together with murals by Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

, David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

, and others. Orozco was the most complex of the Mexican muralists
Mexican murals
Mexican murals are an important part of Mexican culture and history. Murals have been used for political, social, environmental, and cultural representation.-Mayans and Aztecs:...

, fond of the theme of human suffering, but less realistic and more fascinated by machines than Rivera. Mostly influenced by Symbolism
Symbolism (arts)
Symbolism was a late nineteenth-century art movement of French, Russian and Belgian origin in poetry and other arts. In literature, the style had its beginnings with the publication Les Fleurs du mal by Charles Baudelaire...

, he was also a genre painter and lithographer
Lithography
Lithography is a method for printing using a stone or a metal plate with a completely smooth surface...

. Between 1922 and 1948, Orozco painted murals in Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

, Orizaba
Orizaba
Orizaba is a city and municipality in the Mexican state of Veracruz. It is located 20 km west of its sister city Córdoba, and is adjacent to Río Blanco and Ixtaczoquitlán, on Federal Highways 180 and 190. The city had a 2005 census population of 117,273 and is almost coextensive with its small...

, Claremont, California
Claremont, California
Claremont is a small affluent college town in eastern Los Angeles County, California, United States, about east of downtown Los Angeles at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The population as of the 2010 census is 34,926. Claremont is known for its seven higher-education institutions, its...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Hanover, New Hampshire
Hanover, New Hampshire
Hanover is a town along the Connecticut River in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 11,260 at the 2010 census. CNN and Money magazine rated Hanover the sixth best place to live in America in 2011, and the second best in 2007....

, Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara, Jalisco
Guadalajara is the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, and the seat of the municipality of Guadalajara. The city is located in the central region of Jalisco in the western-pacific area of Mexico. With a population of 1,564,514 it is Mexico's second most populous municipality...

, and Jiquilpan, Michoacán. His drawing
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

s and paintings are exhibited by the Carrillo Gil Museum in Mexico City, and the Orozco Workshop-Museum in Guadalajara. Orozco was known for being a politically committed artist. He promoted the political causes of peasants and workers.

Life


José Clemente Orozco was born in Zapotlán el Grande (now Ciudad Guzmán
Ciudad Guzmán
Ciudad Guzmán is a city in the Mexican state of Jalisco.It is located at , 124 km south of Guadalajara, at a height of 1,507 metres above sea level...

), Jalisco
Jalisco
Jalisco officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Jalisco is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is located in Western Mexico and divided in 125 municipalities and its capital city is Guadalajara.It is one of the more important states...

 to Rosa de Flores Orozco. He married Margarita Valladares, and had three children. In a childhood accident, Orozco lost his left hand while playing with gunpowder.
José Guadalupe Posada
José Guadalupe Posada
Jose Guadalupe Posada: was a Mexican cartoonist illustrator and artist whose work has influenced many Latin American artists and cartoonists because of its satirical acuteness and political engagement....

, a satirical illustrator whose engravings about Mexican culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 and politics challenged Mexicans to think differently about post-revolutionary Mexico, worked in full view of the public in shop windows located on the way Orozco went to school. In his autobiography, Orozco confesses, "I would stop [on my way to and from school] and spend a few enchanted minutes in watching [Posada]… This was the push that first set my imagination in motion and impelled me to cover paper with my earliest little figures; this was my awakening to the existence of the art of painting." (Orozco, 1962) He goes to say that watching Posada's engraving decorated gave him his introduction to the use of color. After attending school for Agriculture and Architecture, Orozco studied art at the Academy of San Carlos
Academy of San Carlos
The Academy of San Carlos is located at 22 Academia Street in just northeast of the main plaza of Mexico City. It was the first major art academy and the first art museum in the Americas. It was founded in 1781 as the School of Engraving and moved to the Academia Street location about 10 years later...

.

With Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

, he was a leader of the artist movement known as Mexican Muralism
Mexican Muralism
Mexican muralism is a Mexican art movement. The most important period of this movement took place primarily from the 1920s to the 1960s, though it exerted an influence on later generations of Mexican artists...

. An important distinction he had from Rivera was his critical view of the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

. While Diego was a bold, optimistic figure, touting the glory of the revolution, Orozco was less comfortable with the bloody toll the social movement was taking. Orozco is known as one of the "Big Three" muralists along with Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros
José David Alfaro Siqueiros was a social realist painter, known for his large murals in fresco that helped establish the Mexican Mural Renaissance, together with works by Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, and also a member of the Mexican Communist Party who participated in an...

. All three artists, as well as the painter Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo
Rufino Tamayo was a Mexican painter of Zapotec heritage, born in Oaxaca de Juárez, Mexico. Tamayo was active in the mid-20th century in Mexico and New York, painting figurative abstraction with surrealist influences....

, experimented with fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 on large walls, and elevated the art of the mural.
Between 1922–1924, Orozco painted the murals: "The Elements", "Man in Battle Against Nature", "Christ Destroys His Cross", "Destruction of the Old Order", "The Aristocrats", and "The Trench and the Trinity" at the National Preparatory School. In 1925, he painted the mural "Omniscience" at Mexico City's House of Tiles. In 1926, he painted a mural at the Industrial School in Orizaba, Veracruz
Veracruz
Veracruz, formally Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Veracruz de Ignacio de la Llave , is one of the 31 states that, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided in 212 municipalities and its capital city is...

.
Between 1927–1934 Orozco lived in the USA. In 1930, he painted murals at the New School for Social Research, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, now known as the New School University. One of his most famous murals is The Epic of American Civilization at Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

, New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It was painted between 1932 and 1934 and covers almost 300 m² (3200 square feet) in 24 panels. Its parts include: "Migrations", "Human Sacrifices", "The Appearance of Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered serpent". The worship of a feathered serpent deity is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BCE or first century CE...

", "Corn Culture", "Anglo-America", "Hispano-America", "Science" and "Modern Migration of the Spirit" (another version of "Christ Destroys His Cross").

After returning to Mexico in 1935, Orozco painted in Guadalajara, Jalisco, the mural "The People and Its Leaders" in the Government Palace, and the frescos for the Hospicio Cabañas, which are considered his masterpiece. In 1940 he painted at the Gabino Ortiz Library in Jiquilpan, Michoacán. Between 1942–1944 Orozco painted for the Hospital de Jesús
Hospital de Jesús Nazareno
The Church and Hospital of Jesús Nazareno are supposedly located at the spot where Hernán Cortés and Moctezuma II met for the first time in 1519, which was then the beginning of the causeway leading to Iztapalapa. Cortés ordered the hospital built to tend to soldiers wounded fighting with the...

 in Mexico City. Orozco's 1948 "Juárez Reborn" huge portrait-mural was one of his last works.

In 1947, Orozco illustrated the book The Pearl
The Pearl (novel)
The Pearl is a novella by American author John Steinbeck, published in 1947.- Analysis :A story based on a Mexican folk tale, The Pearl explores the secrets of man's nature, the darkest depths of evil, and the disastrous effects of stepping out of an established system...

, by John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American writer. He is widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men...

.

Orozco died in 1949 in Mexico City.

Dartmouth mural


Orozco painted his fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

, The Epic of American Civilization, in the lower level of Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College
Dartmouth College is a private, Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire, United States. The institution comprises a liberal arts college, Dartmouth Medical School, Thayer School of Engineering, and the Tuck School of Business, as well as 19 graduate programs in the arts and sciences...

's Baker Memorial Library
Baker Memorial Library
Fisher Ames Baker Memorial Library is the main library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. The fresco, The Epic of American Civilization, was painted by José Clemente Orozco in the lower level of Baker Library...

.

Exhibitions


"¡Orozco!" by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of Fine Arts, Mexico at The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1980

External links