It was as a revolutionary and troublemaker that Picasso, Dalí
and André Breton described the husband of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, but he was also responsible for creating a public art that was both highly advanced and profoundly accessible.
From 1910 Rivera lived in Europe where he absorbed the influence of Cubism
. After the Mexican revolution, however, he returned to his homeland and harnessed the lessons of the European avant-garde to the needs of the Mexican people. His own murals, and those of the Mexican Muralists who followed his example, presented a utopian vision of a post-revolutionary Mexico.
Rivera’s historical paintings expressed his interpretation of the revolution and its ideals, in a style that showed him returning to the pre-Columbian roots of Mexican culture, re-inventing a colourfully realistic visual idiom that could appeal directly to a largely illiterate people. This is the first study which, independently of the exhibition circuit, coherently presents the work of this extraordinary artist.