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This document is an essay by Jacinto Quirarte outlining key moments in the history of modern Mexican and Mexican-American art in the United States. It begins with a discussion of the Mexican School, detailing central figures, sociopolitical conditions, and aesthetic developments that contributed to its formation. Quirarte then looks at the presence of Mexican literary and visual production in the United States between the years of 1920–1929, highlighting in particular the reception of works by muralists Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. It also considers other artists affiliated with the Mexican School of Painting working in the U.S., including Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Leopoldo Méndez, Miguel Covarrubias, and others. A subsequent section of his essay focuses on the influence of Mexican School artists on U.S.-based artists like Jackson Pollock and Thomas Hart Benton, as well as Antonio García and Octavio Medellín, among others. The essay details the relationship of Mexican and Mexican-American artists to modes of production associated with Surrealism, abstraction, and neo-figuration, concluding with a consideration of new developments in Mexican-American and Chicano art around the 1970s.


Jacinto Quirarte is one of the foremost Chicano art historians and one of the earliest to write about Chicano art history, including the groundbreaking book Mexican American Artists published in 1973. The first of its kind, Mexican American Artists prompted a traveling exhibition featuring artworks by the artists featured in the book and its extensive media coverage helped form a national network of Chicano artists. This essay was included in the catalog for the exhibition The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States: 1920–1970, which traveled nationally after opening at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, in 1988.

Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Courtesy of the Private Archives of Jacinto Quirarte, Helotes, Texas, USA