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This article is a review of the exhibition of 19th- and 20th-century Jalisco painting that took place at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in the capital of Mexico. The exhibition included works by José María Estrada, Dr. Atl, Roberto Montenegro, José Clemente Orozco, Carlos Orozco Romero, and Juan Soriano, among many others. According to Blanco Moheno, this State of the Republic put on the exhibition in a manner meant to purge the certain “dark reputation” it had possessed for several years. The writer was referring to the notion that Jalisco was “a land in which the pistol reigned and which revenge was the only law.” It was said that this reputation was because of the success of the 1941 movie ¡Ay, Jalisco, no te rajes! [Jalisco, Don’t Backslide!], starring Jorge Negrete; the film’s producers had noticed that Jalisco’s absurd level of machismo was a rich goldmine just waiting to be exploited.
According to the text, the show was sponsored by the federal government at the request of Jesús González Gallo, then the private secretary to President Adolfo Ruiz Cortines (1952–58) and later the governor of Jalisco. As a native of Jalisco, the writer and nationalist historian Roberto Blanco Moheno refutes the macho stereotype that the movies imposed on his state; although he does admit that it was to some degree based on real events. Although the journalist Moheno complains of the film’s generalization, he does not falter in the defense of his own perspective—which he believes to be “natural”—as he reviews some of the exhibited works. “There . . . are a few shrill, crummy paintings personified by María Izquierdo[’s works.] What can we do with her! The feminine sex is redeemed by the delicious lines of the wife of Fernández Ledesma, the engraver; she [possesses] a delicious feminine sincerity, so valuable for its rarity.” The “printmaker’s wife” who is never mentioned by name is Isabel Villaseñor (1909–1953), a painter, muralist, engraver, singer, writer, and actress. She was famous in the 1940s and 1950s for both the nude and the folkloric photographs that Lola Álvarez Bravo took of her.