David Alfaro Siqueiros led a politically active life. Always outspoken and intermittently jailed for his beliefs, he fought in the Mexican Revolution Army and espoused his Communist ideology throughout his life. In the early 1920s, Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Diego Rivera founded the Mexican Mural Movement in Mexico City. Although a gifted painter and printmaker, Siqueiros is best known for his monumental murals in fresco. Initially fulfilling commissions in Mexico City, he traveled during the early 1930s to Los Angeles, New York City, and South America where he undertook a number of mural projects. In New York, he opened a school for young artists and encouraged art that was public, educational, and ideological. Fervidly anti-Fascist, he also fought in the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s. In the 1960s, he championed Fidel Castro's communist regime in Cuba and actively opposed America's involvement in the Vietnam War.
In addition to Clemente Orozco, Rivera, and Rufino Tamayo, Siqueiros exhibited in the first Mexican contingent at the XXV Venice Biennale in 1950. Awarded the Second Prize for all participating artists, he helped establish the international status of Mexican art.
David Alfaro Siqueiros (El Coronelazo), 1960. Photograph by Héctor García. © Galería Fundación Héctor García / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0.
David Alfaro Siqueiros, Retrato de Moisés Sáenz, 1931, Lithograph, 24 x 20 1/6 inches. Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Gift of Rudolph and Louise Langer. © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City.