91.5 cm x 91.5 cm (36 in. x 36 in.)
(Mexico City, 1908 - 1985, Mexico City)
Latin America, Mexican
Medium and Support:
Oil, gesso, and wood relief on panel
Gift of the Chase Manhattan Bank, 1971
The Arenal family immigrated to the United States when Luis was young. He studied architecture and sculpture in Los Angeles an spent time at the University of Arizona in the 1920s. In 1932, Arenal learned the art of fresco painting from David Alfaro Siqueiros, who was active in Los Angeles at that time, becoming long lasting collaborators. In 1936, Arenal represented Mexico at the First Congress of American Artists against Fascism in New York City. He remained in the city for a year, during which he participated in Siqueiros’ Experimental Workshop. Produced during that period, this untitled piece represents the anxiety Mexicans felt at the rise of fascism in Europe. An indigenous mother reacts with deep concern as her children must bear witness to the destruction of war. The innovative treatment of the surface and the three-dimensional elements of this work heighten the immediacy of the impending danger.