Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

This article is an autobiographical sketch by Jorge Juan Crespo de la Serna in which he relates his adventures in the world as a sailor, diplomat and bohemian in the art academies of Vienna, Paris and Berlin, as well as an interpreter, journalist, and business developer, among many other pursuits. He also writes that Crespo de la Serna’s vocation as a painter led him to become a professor of drafting at the Chouinard School of Art in Los Angeles, California; there he applied the [Adolfo] Best Maugard’s method that was based on the techniques of the Mexican folk arts. The climax of his story comes when he is invited by the art historian José Pijoán to paint the mural at Pomona College (Claremont, California). Nevertheless, Crespo de la Serna suggested that José Clemente Orozco be the one to paint the work.


José Pijoán was an architect, art historian and Spanish poet (1881-1963). He co-wrote Summa Artis with Manuel Bartolomé Cossío. Pijoán also wrote Historia general del arte, which is considered to be the most extensive Spanish publication on the subject. Pijoán served as dean of Pomona College and at the University of Chicago for many years. Many sources state that José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) was commissioned to paint the mural at Pomona College. Nevertheless, it should be noted that this article indicates that Jorge Juan Crespo de la Serna (1887-1978) was the artist invited to paint the mural, and that it was he who suggested Orozco should paint the fresco. With the passage of time, Crespo de la Serna became more known as an art critic than as a painter.

Leticia Torres
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional