Escudo de monja (Nun’s Shield)

Nun’s shields are an important and distinctive genre of Mexican art dating to the first third of the 17th century. These diminutive paintings on metal invariably depict the Virgin Mary, whose purity and piety were paradigms to which nuns aspired, and they were used to embellish the necklines of ritual apparel. Worn only by nuns of pure Spanish lineage and belonging to Mexico’s most elite families, these medallions also represent acts of resistance to Spanish ecclesiastical authorities who forbade the wearing of ornate jewelry.

Image Credits: Anonymous (Mexican), Escudo de monja (Nun’s Shield), ca. 1690.

El suicidio de Dorothy Hale (The Suicide of Dorothy Hale)

Frida Kahlo here employs the artistic strategy of simultaneous narration, in which several phases of action are depicted in a single work of art: we see Dorothy Hale jump, fall, and finally land on the pavement with gory detail. This painting was commissioned by the playwright and editor Clare Boothe Luce to honor her deceased friend. Boothe Luce disliked it so vehemently that she had her name painted out of the inscription and donated it to the Phoenix Art Museum in 1960.

Image Credits: Frida Kahlo, El suicidio de Dorothy Hale (The Suicide of Dorothy Hale), 1939.

La pareja en rojo (The Red Couple)

From the start of his career, Rufino Tamayo worked against the grain of artistic trends in Mexico. Instead of depicting the Mexican people and cultural traditions in his paintings, as the renowned muralists did, he rejected social realism and political ideology in art. He instead infused his works with subtle allusions to pre-Colombian and folk art and experimented with abstract forms. La pareja en rojo embodies many of the principal characteristics of Tamayo’s late work, including vivid color, flattened forms, and textured surfaces. The Phoenix Art Museum also owns many of the artist’s prints.

Image Credits: Rufino Tamayo, La pareja en rojo (The Red Couple), 1973.

About The Latin American Collection

The Latin American Collection encompasses over 500 works of art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It features Spanish Colonial artworks such as religious paintings, portraits, furniture, and decorative arts, and also boasts remarkable works by early- and mid-20th century Mexican painters and printmakers. Represented artists include Frida Kahlo, José Guadalupe Posada, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, Diego Rivera, and Rufino Tamayo, as well as many contemporary Latin American artists, such as José Bedia, Jac Leirner, Rivane Neuenschwander, Liliana Porter, and Jesús Rafael Soto.

Current Exhibitions

Paulo Bruscky Orme Lewis Gallery Saturday, September 6, 2014 - Sunday, December 28, 2014

Focus Latin America Phoenix Art Museum - Orientation Room Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - Sunday, November 23, 2014

Past Exhibitions

Antonio Berni Steele Gallery Saturday, June 28, 2014 - Sunday, September 21, 2014

Xul Solar and Jorge Luis Borges Orme Lewis Gallery Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rufino Tamayo Lyon Gallery Saturday, September 21, 2013 - Sunday, April 6, 2014

Order, Chaos, and the Space Between Steele Gallery Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - Sunday, May 5, 2013

Modern Mexican Painting Steele Gallery Friday, July 1, 2011 - Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mexico and Modern Printmaking Steele Gallery Friday, June 1, 2007 - Sunday, September 16, 2007

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