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Diego Rivera

(1886 - 1957)
Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957) was a well-known painter who assisted in the establishment of the Mexican mural movement. Rivera was born December 8, 1886, in Guanajuto, Mexico. When he was still a child, Rivera began studying art at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. He continued his studies in Europe after receiving a sponsorship from the governor of the State of Veracruz. He arrived in Europe in 1907 and first studied in Spain before traveling to France, where he lived and worked with a large community of artists in Montparnasse. During his years spent studying in France, Rivera witnessed the budding of the Cubism movement, led by well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973).

Inspired by Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906), Rivera made the move to Post-Impressionism around 1917. It was around this time that his paintings began to receive notice and were presented at several exhibitions. Rivera left France in 1920 and traveled extensively throughout Italy while continuing his study of art. He returned to Mexico in 1921, and became involved in a Mexican mural program sponsored by the government. After cofounding the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors in 1922, Rivera frequently focused on themes related to Mexican society in his murals. Rivera traveled to Moscow, Russia, in 1927 to participate in a commemoration of the anniversary of the October Revolution. Although he was originally commissioned to paint a mural there, he was ordered to return to Mexico the following year. In 1930, Rivera arrived in San Francisco, CA. After painting several murals, he moved on to New York. While living in Manhattan, he completed a series of 27 fresco panels titled Detroit Industry between 1932 and 1933.

In 1931, a retrospective of his works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He went back to Mexico after completing the murals, but returned to the United States again in 1940 to work on several mural projects. Rivera died on November 24, 1957, in Mexico City at the age of 70.