Diego Rivera

1886 - 1957 · Mexico

Artist biography

Diego Rivera was a well-known Mexican painter born in 1886. His art helped establish Mexican muralism internationally. The artist painted murals in several cities all over the world: Mexico City, Cuernavaca, San Francisco, Detroit, and NYC. He had several wives as he was married five different times, probably his most famous wife was surrealist painter Frida Kahlo.

He began drawing on the walls of his parent’s apartments at the age of three, and was encouraged by them as they installed chalkboards in the walls where Diego Rivera could paint. He began his career in the arts studying at the St Charles Academy in Mexico City, and was sponsored by the Secretary of Education and the Governor of Veracruz to travel to Spain to study from the Spanish classical painters like Velázquez, El Greco or Goya.

He moved to Paris in 1909 where he met Angelina Petrovna Belova, a Russian painter who became his wife for ten years. In January of 1922, he painted his first mural titled “The Creation” in the halls of the National University of Mexico. He got married to Frida Kahlo in 1929 and moved with her to the US the following year to further his art career abroad. In the US Diego Rivera was asked to paint different murals, since Communism was a recurrent theme in his murals the artist had many scandalous disagreements with the owners of the buildings he made the murals for and the American media.

After his famous disagreement with the Rockefeller owners, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo returned to Mexico. Once in Mexico, still committed to the Communist ideal, he decided to give a fugitive Trotsky asylum in his famous Blue House in Mexico City. He co-founded the National School in Mexico City in 1943 and in 1946 he painted one of his most famous works, “Dream of a Sunday Afternoon in Alameda Central Park”, featuring over 400 notorious Mexican personalities.

He died in 1957, at his house/studio in St.Angel, a southern neighborhood of Mexico City.

Diego Rivera

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