The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This article discusses Alfonso X. Peña, a painter who had decided to spend time in Europe to exhibit his work and offer his views of Mexico. The author states, “his work is characterized by color that preserves all the lights and all the vibrations of the people and things that can be found in regions of the Republic, that is Tehuantepec, the mesa, the coast.” In this way, both the typical and exotic elements of his country, well represented by Peña, could finally attract the attention of the European public.
According to the author, Europe was intrigued “by the legend of Mexico.” In this sense, Peña’s work was well suited to the stereotypical image of the country. This artist, who was skilled at painting rural dances and costumes, the peasantry, native peoples, and landscapes, undoubtedly knew that folk art subjects would be well received. The images of the work by Alfonso X. Peña (1903–1954) that accompany this article are of rural scenes, village festivals, and profiles of indigenous women, very similar to those painted by Roberto Montenegro (1885–1968). The painter and illustrator was born in Tamaulipas, but settled in the United States during the 1920s where he was close to Mexican poet José Juan Tablada and the painters Miguel Covarrubias and Adolfo Best Maugard. During the 1950s he obtained “official” commissions such as for the Mexican Pavilion for the 1958 World Fair in Brussels.