Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo, was known for her many portraits and self-portraits. Her work is said to have been inspired by the nature, artifacts and popular culture of Mexico. Her work was not much known until the late 1970s, when it was rediscovered by art historians and political activists. By early 1990s, she became a recognized figure in art history.
Leonora Carrington was a Mexican artist, novelist, and surrealist painter. During the 1970s, Carrington played an important role in Mexico's women's liberation movement as she was one of the founding members of the movement. Carrington, who was fascinated by symbolism and myth, studied alchemy, Popol Vuh, post-classic Mayan mystical writings, and the kabbalah.
A significant figure of the Mexican surrealist movement, artist Remedios Varo was taught technical drawing by her hydraulics engineer father. Born in Spain, she later fled to France with her lover, poet Benjamin Péret, and then to Mexico to escape Nazism. She was also interested in sacred geometry and alchemy.
Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros co-founded the modern Mexican school of mural painting. An activist, too, he fought as part of Venustiano Carranza forces during the Mexican Revolution. The Lenin Peace Prize winner has adorned many universities, schools, and government buildings in Mexico with his murals.
One of the finest 20th-century muralists who specialized in fresco, José Clemente Orozco was not just a painter but also a talented caricaturist. His murals adorned not just cities of Mexico, but also places such as New York and California. The National Prize winner often focused on socially relevant themes.
Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo, an icon of modernism, is remembered for combining Mexican folk themes and European concepts such as Surrealism and Cubism in his works. Known for his notable paintings such as Children Playing with Fire, Tamayo was from a Zapotec family and the son of a shoemaker.
Angelina Beloff was a Russian-born artist best remembered for her work in Mexico. She also contributed as an art teacher in Mexico. Beloff is also known as the first wife of Mexican painter Diego Rivera; her professional achievements were largely overshadowed by her marriage and subsequent divorce. Her life and career inspired a novel by Elena Poniatowska.
Mexican painter and writer Gerardo Murillo Cornado, more famous by his pseudonym Dr. Atl, was a pioneer of the Mexican movement for artistic nationalism. During Mexican Revolution, Cornado supported the Constitutionalist faction. He was also interested in study of volcanoes and was considered an expert volcanologist. His notable paintings include those of the volcanoes of Popocatépetl and Ixtacihuatl.
Belgian-born Francis Alÿs first moved to Mexico as part of a team that helped the country rebuild itself after its destruction in the 1985 earthquakes. He later settled there and created artwork using a variety of media, from painting to video. The Collector is one of his best-known works.
Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco has explored various forms of art, such as photography, drawing, sculpture, installation, and video. Often inspired by conceptualism and native Mexican art, he deals with subjects such as insects, animals, and the human body, such as in Mobile Matrix, where he made use of a whale skeleton.
Born in Austria, to a merchant father who loved collecting paintings, Wolfgang Paalen had been exposed to arts since childhood. He later trained in painting and archaeology and joined the Surrealist movement. His signature fumage technique involved creating art with the smoke and soot from candles. He later settled in Mexico.
Juan O'Gorman was a Mexican architect and painter best remembered for his work at the National Autonomous University of Mexico's (UNAM) Central Library in the Ciudad Universitaria Campus. He has covered the four faces of the building with murals measuring 4000 square meters. In 1972, Juan O'Gorman was honored with the National Prize for Arts and Sciences.
Miguel Covarrubias donned many hats, and apart from being a painter and caricaturist, he was also a fine writer, an anthropologist, and an ethnologist. He explored the cultures of South East Asians and North American Indians and also co-discovered the Olmec Mesoamerican civilization. He designed theater sets and costumes, too.
Manuel Felguérez was a Mexican artist whose works are still being displayed across Mexico. One of the most important members of the Generación de la Ruptura, Felguérez was honored with the prestigious Premio Nacional de Artes in 1988. A multi-talented person, Felguérez was also a sculptor and teacher; he worked as a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Born in Mexico, Baroque painter Cristóbal de Villalpando created masterpieces that still adorn Mexican cathedrals. Much of his work, such as Triumph of the Eucharist, was influenced by Peter Paul Rubens and his techniques of brushwork and color. He also drew from Mannerism and created a distinct local Mexican style.
Mexican conceptual artist, sculptor, and professor Abraham Cruzvillegas is best known for pioneering the artistic concept of autoconstrucción. Born to a landscape and portrait painter, he began collecting random items to create art as he grew up. The Water Trilogy remains one of his best-known works.
A child prodigy, Mexican artist Juan Soriano began exhibiting his art at age 14. Inspired by several schools of art, he introduced his signature style of romantic realism. Apart from being a fine painter and sculptor, the National Art Prize winner also designed sets and costumes for theater.
Spanish-born sculptor and architect Manuel Tolsá is credited with introducing Neoclassical art to Mexico, then known as New Spain. His most iconic works include the construction of the College of Mines and the completion of the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral. Apart from Neoclassical symmetry, he also used Baroque elements.