David Alfaro Siqueiros

Biographical Information

David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974), born in Chihuahua, Mexico, joined Jose Orozco and Diego Rivera as the 20th Century's most influential muralists. They revolutionized mural content and style by portraying Mexico's rich history and contemporary economic problems in visually bold political terms. Of the three, Siqueiros was the most influenced by Marxism, as evident by his treatment of the class struggle and his use of modern industrial equipment, such as the airbrush. Public murals, he believed, were a powerful and effective medium to make his work accessible to a broad audience traditionally ignored by elitist art institutions. After becoming Secretary of the Communist Party in 1928, he was frequently jailed or expelled from Mexico and nearly gave up painting. It was during one of these expulsions that he came to Los Angeles. His most productive artistic period began in 1944, when he returned to Mexico after an exile due to allegations of his role in Leon Trotsky's assassination. This fertile period culminated in 1966 with his dramatic murals at Chapultepec Castle depicting the overthrow of the Porfirio Diaz regime.

The text has been provided courtesy of Michael Several, Los Angeles, April 1999.

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