Thursday, September 26, 2013

Frida Kahlo and José Guadalupe Posada

Posada's art has influenced many artists over the years. One was Frida Kahlo. The images shown here in this blog posting show striking similarities. Here is a partial quote from an interview of Frida conducted back in 1933.
"I had gone up to the Barbizon-Plaza hotel to interview Frida Kahlo, who was the wife of Diego Rivera, and a great painter herself, a sort of demonic surrealist. That was when Rivera was doing those Rockefeller Center murals. Thumb-tacked all along the walls of the hotel suite were some very odd engravings printed on the cheapest kind of newsprint. "Jose Guadalupe Posada," Kahlo said, almost reverentially. "Mexican. 1852-1913." She told me that she had put the pictures up herself so she could glance at them now and then and keep her sanity while living in New York City. Some were broadsides. "They show sensational happenings that took place in Mexico City--in streets and in markets and in churches and in bedrooms," Kahlo said, "and they were sold on the streets by peddlers for pennies." --from the book Up in the Old Hotel by Joseph Mitchell (1992).
Perhaps some of the images by Posada of disasters and the demonic elements present in many of the sensational broadsides made an impression on Frida. If she was not already familiar with Posada's images, being married to Diego Rivera may have helped as he had just a few years earlier in 1930 authored the Foreword about Posada in the Monografia Posada published by Francis Toor.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Posada Ilustrates Pancho Villa and Firing Squad

Posada sometimes used photographs as templates to create his illustrations. This allowed him a greater degree of control over the image. He could emphasize certain elements and also make the image more generic so it might be used over for a variety of stories that Vanegas Arroyo published. It also allowed his publisher the flexibility to see what news was current and then rehash it with its own artwork. In this example Pancho Villa is facing a firing squad. The image above left is from a halfsheet broadside published by Antonio Vanegas Arroyo. The image below is from the archives of the Hemeroteca Nacional in Mexico City, it is dated 1912, from the year before Posada's death. Note how efficiently Posada uses the space setting the image up in a way that draws the eye to Pancho Villa. In the photo there is a large amount of "useless" empty space to Villa's left.