Rare exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America.

Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.

The impressive, first-ever exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America is now on display at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. On Christmas Eve I was given a special tour of this exhibition, and I must admit it’s fantastic! For a limited time, visitors have the rare privilege to experience one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.

Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection contains almost a hundred memorable paintings, by the likes of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Joaquín Torres-García, Fernando Botero, Alfredo Castañeda and Fernando de Szyszlo. Many nations, cultures, themes, moods and styles are represented. You’ll see impressionistic landscapes, lively scenes depicted through the lens of cubism, weirdly rendered surrealism, and mind-bending, eye-teasing abstraction. Many of the works reflect different Latin American national identities. Many contrast modernity with the culture and memory of indigenous people.

I was struck by the deep emotion that radiated from most of these works. I detected human pride and passion, childlike innocence and gnawing guilt, deep love and intense anger, inexpressible suffering and irrepressible joy. These emotions were often presented in confused contrast.

One masterful work by Frida Kahlo titled Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon shows an innocent girl sitting between ancient symbols of night and day–the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. She is seemingly lost in a barren desert, a model of a World War II bomber in her hands. Her quiet expression contains resignation and sadness.

My few photos here are a modest representation of the actual exhibition. To see the true colors, the touches of light and seeping darkness, the diverse textures and stunning vibrancy of these many paintings, head down to the museum while you can. You might not have a chance to see this amazing collection again.

Modern Masters from Latin America is on display at the San Diego Museum of Art through March 11. Among the fantastic works are two by Frida Kahlo, but to see those you must visit by January 14.

A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
World's Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
World’s Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.

I recently published an odd, moving short story about a world made of bones. You can read it here.

Published by

Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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