The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, September 24, 2014


The Intriguing Story of Muralist Pablo O'Higgins Told in New Book
Jean Charlot and Pablo O'Higgins, Hawaii 1952, photograph by Steve Murin.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Becoming Pablo O’Higgins tells the intriguing story of how a blond-haired, blue-eyed Presbyterian from Salt Lake City, Utah, became a celebrated Mexican muralist. Born Paul Higgins in 1904 into a conservative Republican family of Mayflower English and Protestant Scots-Irish ancestry, O’Higgins, at age 20, boldly traveled to Mexico City at a time when Mexico was still reeling from its violent 10-year revolution. He went to see the mural renaissance involving Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and he soon became an assistant to Diego Rivera. O’Higgins worked with Rivera on three of his most important murals and became a life-long friend. Rivera said if he ever had a son, he’d want him to be like O’Higgins.

As a muralist and political graphic artist spreading the ideals of the Mexican Revolution to the masses, O’Higgins was drawn into Mexico’s volatile politics. He went into hiding when the Communist Party was made illegal in Mexico as well as after an assassination attempt on Leon Trotsky. He followed to Russia one of the most beautiful and controversial women of the 1920s, photographer, radical, and fugitive Tina Modotti. O’Higgins landed on the U.S. attorney general’s blacklist and on a deportation list of the Mexican government during the 1950s. As an Anglo-American from a well-to-do family, he kept a secret his entire life: his father’s involvement as an assistant attorney general in the 1915 execution in Utah of miner and labor martyr Joe Hill.

Despite his distancing himself from his boyhood and family in Utah, O’Higgins was influenced by the art education he received there. At East High School he studied with renowned regionalists James T. Harwood and LeConte Stewart, whose influence can be seen in the subject matter of O’Higgins’s later art, his technique, and his approach to being an artist. He was also influenced by time he spent as a child in El Cajon, San Diego County, where his father had a ranch. There, as a young child, he first met Mexican farmworkers and fell in love with the Spanish language and Mexican culture. He returned to San Diego after high school to briefly attended art school.

Besides being a highly respected muralist in Mexico, where he painted more than a dozen murals, O’Higgins is well-known for co-founding the world-famous political graphic arts workshop, Mexico City’s Taller de Gráfica Popular, which he formed with Leopoldo Méndez in 1937 to produce art denouncing fascism.

O’Higgins lived in Mexico for all of his adult life, but maintained his U.S. citizenship until 1961, enabling him to work in both the U.S. and Mexico. He developed strong ties to labor on the West Coast during the 1940s: he painted murals for the Ship Scalers Union in Seattle in 1945 and for the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union (ILWU) in Honolulu in 1952. O’Higgins helped Bay Area artists Byron Randall, Victor Arnautoff, and Adelyne Cross Erikson establish a graphic arts workshop in San Francisco in 1947, and he taught at the California Labor School in San Francisco in 1945 and 1949. O’Higgins often said he was born or grew up in San Francisco, likely to distance himself from his family and the Joe Hill case. O’Higgins spent considerable time in Los Angeles as well, where his mother lived in her later years, and, along with Jules Heller and Arnold Mesches, he helped establish the Los Angeles Graphic Arts Workshop in 1947.

When O’Higgins died in 1983, the Mexican government gave him a state funeral in its famed Palacio de Bellas Artes. During his life, and to this day, O’Higgins is an inspiration for artists seeking to create socially-conscious, community-based art. His portrait is included in a mural in Chicano Park, in San Diego County, the largest collection of Chicano murals in the U.S. He appears next to Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, Emiliano Zapata, Che Guevara, and the Virgin of Guadalupe. O’Higgins is admired not only for his art but also for his love of Mexico and his determination to bridge the two countries and their cultures through art.

While many books have been published in Spanish praising O’Higgins’s art and his love of Mexico, no biographies exist in English. Becoming Pablo O’Higgins is the first such book in English and the first critical look at his life published in any language.

Pablo O'Higgins | Muralist | Diego Rivera | José Clemente Orozco |




Today's News

April 26, 2010

Chateau de Versailles Marks the 300th Anniversary of the Royal Chapel with Exhibition

German Impressionism Presented at the MFA Houston September 2010

National Photographic Portrait Commission 2010 Works on Show

Nathan Oliveira: Drawings 1960 - 2010 at DC Moore Gallery

Tim Bavington Uses Pop and Rock Music as His Source for New Exhibition

Survey of Stephan von Huene's Work on View at Hamburger Kunsthalle

Drawings for Esquire Magazine Made by George Grosz at Moeller Fine Art Berlin

The Intriguing Story of Muralist Pablo O'Higgins Told in New Book

Exhibition Series "Saw it, Loved it: A Look at Private Collecting" at Ludwig Museum

New-York Historical Society and El Museo del Barrio Join Forces for Nueva York

Wesleyan University Presents Bearing Witness: Stories from the Front Lines

Colorful, Ethereal Sculptures by David Altmejd at Xavier Hufkens

Martin Schwenk's The Secret Life of Plants Opens at Number 35

Maguey Fields as Cultural Good, to be Proposed at UNESCO

Multiple Canvases Configured to Read as a Whole by Wendy White at Leo Koenig Inc.

The RISD Museum of Art Presents Siebren Versteeg: In Advance of Another Thing

New Orleans Bounce and Hip-Hop in Words and Pictures at Ogden Museum of Southern Art

America's World's Fairs of the 1930s Subject of Exhibition at National Building Museum

NEA Announces the Second Round of FY2010 National Endowment for the Arts Grants

Video Art Premiere by Internationally Acclaimed Cleveland Institute of Art Professor Kasumi

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Fever mounts as stunning statues found at Alexander The Great-era tomb

2.- Hi-tech underground scans reveal vast complex of monuments at Britain's Stonehenge

3.- National Geographic Museum opens exhibition featuring shark-munching Spinosaurus

4.- First major New York City exhibition to explore Vienna Actionism opens at Hauser & Wirth

5.- Elizabeth I 'airbrushed' for 18th century make-over and a bug is found in Edward VI

6.- Award winning Swedish director Daniel Fridell to direct Kalliope Films' Vincent Van Gogh biopic

7.- Comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Joan Miró's work opens at the Albertina

8.- Synchrotron radiation technology in art conservation: Science to the rescue of art

9.- Mona Kuhn's first solo exhibition in the US opens at Edwynn Houk Gallery

10.- Sotheby's announces details of its sales series for Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site