“The one true genius among the many strong personalities that mark American popular printmaking”

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

493. POSADA, José Guadalupe. Monografia Las Obras de Jose Guadalupe Posado Grabador Mexicano con Introduccion de Diego Rivera. Editors: Frances Toor. Paul O’Higgins. Blas Vanegas Arroyo. Mexico: Mexican Folkways, Talleres Graficos de la Nacion, 1930. [8, introduction in Spanish and English], 1-208, [6] pp., half-tone photographic print of the artist and his son tipped onto title verso, over 400 prints pulled from Posada’s original plates, most two to a page. Folio (35.3 x 24 cm), original olive green cloth, upper cloth stamped in red and black with design of a griffin. Contemporary ink owner inscriptions on both pastedowns: “John M. Ulrich, Mexico City, D.F., Jan. 10 1936.” Slight wear to spine extremities, light age-toning to text due to the type of paper on which the book was printed. Two repaired tears to blank margins of pp. 181-184, overall fine. This book is very difficult to find, especially in collector’s condition like this copy.

     First edition, first posthumous collection of the engravings and etchings of Posada (1852-1913), with all the prints known at the time “that were not worn out, or stolen during the years of the Revolution” (Toor, in introduction). Mayor, Popular Prints of the Americas, pp. 50: “[Posada is] the one true genius among the many strong personalities that mark American popular printmaking.” Palau 233879.

     Ron Tyler, Posada’s Mexico (Library of Congress & Amon Carter Museum, 1979), pp. 8-9 & 27:

Although few Americans recognize Posada’s name, most recognize the distinctive calaveras—the skeleton caricatures, which Posada did not invent but did popularize—that have come to be synonymous with Mexico in many minds. His prints grace the covers of more books about Mexico than the work of any other similar artist. He has been called the “Mexican Goya” and the “Mexican Daumier,” and it is easy to point to his influence in the careers of Rivera, Orozco, and other masters of the mural movement.... Diego Rivera might have said it best upon the publication of the first book on Posada in 1930 [present work], when he wrote that Posada “was so great that perhaps someday his name will be forgotten! He is so integrated with the popular soul of Mexico, that perhaps his identity will be completely lost”.... Twentieth-century Mexico is indebted to Posada for a graphic heritage that Mexican artists recall even today in order to create, and for a palpable link between the nineteenth and twentieth century.

     Diego Rivera, “A Magisterial Utilization of Clean Bones” in The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 3, No. 2 (Winter, 1962), pp. 374:

Surely no bourgeoisie has had such bad luck as the Mexican in having had so just a portrayer of their customs, actions and doings, as the genial and incomparable, Guadalupe Posada.

His sharp graver spared neither rich nor poor. To the latter he showed their weaknesses with sympathy, and to the others, with each engraving he threw into their faces the vitriol that bit the metal on which Posada created his work.

The distribution of blacks and whites, the inflection of line, proportion, all in Posada is his own, and because of this quality, he ranks among the greatest.

     This wonderful volume, with its many re-strikes from Posada’s original plates, is a visceral link to the artist and his compelling and powerful work.


Sold. Hammer: $750.00; Price Realized: $918.75.

Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

A popular print, showing crack due to heavy use

DSRB Home | e-mail: