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This article reviews the activities of Roberto Cueva del Río, a painter from Puebla, at the Mexican Embassy in Washington where he worked under orders from the Department of Foreign Affairs. Cueva del Río painted the walls of that hall with popular subjects such as the markets in different regions of the Mexican republic. The article includes several photos of the painter, as well as details of his mural paintings.
As part of the stereotypes accepted in the United States, the open-air murals by Roberto Cueva del Río (1908-1988) represented the idealized—and even de-politicized—vision of Mexico. With a clear evidence of tourism-induced interests—which include special attention to craft products—these murals, as well as those by Alfonso X. Peña, searched for the roots of the Mexican people, finally legitimized by a group of intellectuals and journalists settled in the United States. As an additional piece of information, the portrait of the writer Carlos Fuentes (1928-) appears in one of the fragments, since he lived in this Mexican Embassy as a child. Roberto Cueva del Río was a disciple of Ernesto García Cabral, the caricaturist from Veracruz. He worked for the journal Excelsior and studied at the Academia de San Carlos. From a very young age he lived in different parts of the United States, and also was an acquaintance of poet José Juan Tablada. Upon his return to his native country, Cueva del Río decorated a theatre in Pátzcuaro (Michoacán).