David Alfaro Siqueiros
David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, Head, ca. 1930, Oil on board; 55.6 x 44.5 cm (21 7/8 x 17 1/2 inches), Gift of Mrs. Conway Day to the Nancy Sayles Day Collection of Modern Latin American Art 67.125
Siqueiros, along with Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, is considered one of the three greatest twentieth-century Mexican artists. In a manifesto published in 1924, he proclaimed his support for working artists and set forth the ideals of the Mexican mural movement. Head was presumably painted about 1930 or 1931, when Siqueiros was prosecuted for Communist Party activities and held under house arrest in Taxco. The dramatically cropped composition conjures an ancient, helmeted warrior with dark eyes and high cheekbones. Its monumental presence springs from volumetric forms rendered with rough brushstrokes and limited color on a coarse surface. Siqueiros’s intention may have been to create an iconic representation of proletarian Mexican strength.