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Leopoldo Méndez

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Leopoldo Méndez
20th century
(Mexico City, 1902 - 1969, Mexico City)

Méndez studied painting (1917-20) at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes (San Carlos) under Saturnino Herrán, Leandro Izaguirre, Ignacio Rosas, and German Gedovius. Before joining the Estridentista movement in 1921 he also attended the open-air school of painting in Chilmalistac, where he was a student of Alfredo Martínez. During the 1920s, Méndez worked as an illustrator for various publications. Between 1925 and 1927, he was invited to Jalapa by Manuel Maples Arce to illustrate the Estridentista magazien, Horizonte. The following year he went to Veracruz to work on the journal, Norte. Along with Francisco Díaz de León, Gabriel Fernández Ledesma, Fernando Leal and Fermín Revueltas, Méndez published the newspaper 30-30. In 1932, Méndez was appointed head of the drawing section of the Fine Arts department of the Ministry of Education The following year he took part in founding the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios and collaborated on its publication, Frente a Frente. He also participated in the LEAR team, which painted the mural, Los trabajadores contra la guerra y el facismo, in the Talleres Gráficos de la Nación in 1936. Méndez was a muralist and political activist. His art was intended to communicate his humanitarian interests. He initiated steps to found the Taller de Gráfica Popular in 1937. Prior to that he had directed the graphic workshop in LEAR. Two years later he received a Guggenheim fellowship that enabled him to tavel to the U.S. at the height of the depression and produce a series of lithographs there. In 1946, Méndez obtained the first prize for Graphic Art in Mexico. He contined to pursue printmaking as a major art form thoughout his career. The year he died Méndez became a founding member of the Mexico Academy of Arts.


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