Leopoldo Méndez is considered the finest printmaker in the history of Mexico. In 1937, Méndez, Luis Arenal, and Pablo O’Higgins founded the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP). Established in Mexico City, the TGP (or Peoples' Graphic Workshop) was active through the 1960s, creating thirty-five major portfolios of woodcuts, linocuts and lithographs, and a total output of over 4,000 prints. TGP fervently believed in art’s capacity for social protest and the betterment of the masses. Its productions celebrated revolutionary heroes, Mexico’s ancient history, and the folk culture of the native peasantry. Artists wished to declare a national Mexican identity based on a deep pride in the country’s pre-Hispanic and colonial past. It was a shared belief that indigenous peoples were the cultural foundation of a modern Mexico.
Working quietly and preferring to be relatively anonymous during his life, Méndez did not gain immediate recognition. It was only after his death that art historians and museum curators began to realize the importance of his contributions. He now ranks among the greatest of twentieth-century Mexican artists, keeping good company with artists such as José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siquieros, and Diego Rivera.
More Works by Leopoldo Méndez in the MMoCA Collection
Leopoldo Méndez. Bernard G. Silberstein Taller de Gráfica Popular Artists' Portraits Collection, University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research.
Pequeña maestra, ¡qué inmensa es su voluntad! from the portfolio Río Escondido,1948, linocut, 15 7/8 x 20 inches. Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Gift of Rudolph and Louise Langer.