POSADA, José Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican Penny Press: Prints from the David J. Sellers Collection is on view at Bellevue Arts Museum April 13 – August 19, 2018
Since the 1920s, printmaker and illustrator José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) has been lauded as the “father of modern Mexican art.” Beginning with the Mexican muralists, generations of artists following the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) have felt inspired by this little-known artisan and his extensive body of imagery. Posada’s work ranges from illustrations for children’s games to sensationalistic news stories, but he is best known for his popular and satirical representations of calaveras (skeletons) in lively guises. These figures were featured prominently on broadsides—cheap illustrated handbills—that were published for the annual Day of the Dead celebrations.
The exhibition, organized by The Trout Gallery at Dickinson College, and curated by Diane Miliotes, features 98 examples of prints and print media by Posada and his compatriots, including calaveras, chapbooks, political prints, devotional images, and representations of natural disasters and popular events. The works in the exhibition come from the collection of David J. Sellers, sole-owner of Pied Oxen Press in Hopewell, New Jersey.
ABOUT JOSÉ GUADALUPE POSADA
Posada was born in the city of Aguascalientes, where his father worked as a baker. Showing promise in the arts, Posada first found work in the studio of José Trinidad Pedroza in 1870, where he learned lithography, engraving, and related printing techniques and produced a wide range of illustrated publications. Posada created much of his career-defining imagery after moving to Mexico City in 1888 and earning a position at the workshop and publishing house of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo. Posada arrived in the capital during the transformative, modernizing age of Porfirio Díaz’s lengthy presidency. Transportation, industry, income, and literacy rates improved markedly, which was beneficial to the publishers and printers. It was with Arroyo that Posada gained a well-earned reputation for his inventive and striking designs. Although Posada’s total graphic output is difficult to measure precisely, his works likely number in the several thousands.
POSADA, José Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican Penny Press: Prints from the David J. Sellers Collection is organized by THE TROUT GALLERY, Dickinson College. The local presentation of the exhibition is curated by Benedict Heywood.
ABOUT BELLEVUE ARTS MUSEUM
Bellevue Arts Museum is a leading destination in the Pacific Northwest to experience art, craft, and design. BAM engages the community through exhibitions, programs, and publications, featuring regional, national, and international artists. bellevuearts.org.