José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) was Mexico’s most illustrious graphic artist. For over forty years he worked tirelessly as an incorruptible and truly popular artist, illustrating cookbooks and fortune-telling books, collections of songs and riddles, periodicals and newspapers, children’s books and novels, and most of all the famous broadsides that were distributed throughout the country. After his death he was venerated by the artists of the new generation–Rivera, Orozco and many others, who realized that he had both saved and renewed the art of engraving in Mexico, and who incorporated much of his imagery into their own work.
Here are close to three hundred of Posada’s best engravings, all done for the printer and publisher A. Vanegas Arroyo in Mexico City. Posada worked in two techniques–engraving on type metal with a many-pointed burin and, later, relief etching on zinc. The broadsides he illustrated commemorated all sorts of occasions–disasters, political events, crimes and miracles–or they glorified great popular heroes like Zapata. Posada was known for his calaveras–skeletons that cavorted, ate and drank, rode bicycles and horses, wielded swords and daggers, or were revolutionaries, streetcleaners, dishwashers, and almost anything else. This was traditional art for All Souls’ Day, the Mexican Day of the Dead, but in Posada’s hands it became extremely versatile, sometimes an instrument of social and political satire, sometimes a sympathetic portrait of a revolutionary, sometimes a comic, cartoon-like memento mori. He did engravings of murders, suicides, catastrophes, robberies and executions, as well as of snake-men, giant snails and other grotesques and deformities. He pictured the daily pleasures and chagrins of the people from a proletarian point of view, and with overflowing imaginativeness. There is brutality and horror in his art, but there is also humor, political consciousness, and a sprawling, immediate vitality.
– from the book’s back cover
Available at the Cervantes Institute Library at Chicago: http://absysnet.cervantes.es/abnetopac02/abnetcl.exe?ACC=DOSEARCH&xsqf99=@titn=569823
For more information on engravings / Más información sobre grabados:
The Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago