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In this book published in 1937, Frances Toor, the North American promoter based in Mexico, makes a study of the most representative artists of modern Mexican painting. Toor served as editor and author of the introduction, while the painter Carlos Mérida wrote the critical essays on his colleagues. While the book refers to some of the more celebrated muralists, it focuses on the easel paintings of the 25 artists included in the book. These include Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Jean Charlot, Roberto Montenegro, Gabriel Fernández Ledesma, Francisco Goitia, Antonio Ruiz, Rufino Tamayo, Agustín Lazo, Julio Castellanos and José Chávez Morado.


In the introduction to the book Modern Mexican Artists, Frances Toor (1890-1956) continued to establish the standards for interpreting the post-revolutionary Mexican movement in response to the social movement of the Revolution of 1910; this movement opposed the academic art of the Porfirio Díaz regime, in which all art was essentially a copy of the styles imported from Europe. In Toor’s judgment, the only artist that acted as a Mexican “Daumier” [during that period] was José Guadalupe Posada, who was certainly not viewed kindly by the Porfirian aristocracy. This book is a clear example of how artists began to write their own history.   The book was published during the years in which the “Mexican School of Painting” was attracting the interest of North American collectors; for this reason it was published in English.

Alejandro Ugalde
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Biblioteca Justino Fernández del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Univesidad Nacional Autónoma de México