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In 1945 Diego Rivera wrote an article in which he looked back approvingly at the Open-Air Schools that were founded in the 1920s. He disagrees with David Alfaro Siqueiros (who attended one of them), and José Clemente Orozco, who spoke disdainfully of them in his autobiography. Rivera names a number of artists—members of the Mexican school—who completed their training at the newly created “Open-Air Painting Schools.”


Diego Rivera (1886-1957) defends the Open-Air Schools, which were an early training ground for many successful Mexican artists who, over time, went on to disown the education they received there, as in the case of Siqueiros. Orozco, in his autobiography, said that the Schools were a failure. Rivera claims that this was not true, even though a genius like Orozco said it was. Quoting Orozco, Rivera says, “He didn’t like so much open air . . . the Barbizons in the open air painted very pretty landscapes, using violet for the shadows and Nile green for the sky, but I liked the blacks and reds.” At this late stage, when Orozco’s autobiography was being serialized in the national press, Rivera defends the schools. He also argues that the schools trained many important artists, such as Mardonio Magaña, Fermín Revueltas (1901-35), David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974), Fernando Leal (1896-1964), Isabel Villaseñor, Francisco Díaz de León, and Gabriel Fernández Ledesma (1900-83), who worked at wood carving and engraving and who helped to revolutionize the art of typography.   Reproduced in Raquel Tibol, Diego Rivera, Arte y Política (Mexico City: Grijalbo, 1979); Xavier Moyssén, Diego Rivera Textos de Arte (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1986).

Esther Acevedo
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
D.R. © 2011 Banco de México, “Fiduciario” en el Fideicomiso relativo a los Museos Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo. Av. Cinco de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del. Cuauhtémoc 06059, México, D.F.
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional