Mexican painter, noted especially for his large mural paintings. Born in Guanajuato. Began to study at the San Carlos Academy in Mexico City while still at school. Also influenced by Posada, an engraver of popular broadsheets. Awarded a scholarship and went to Spain in 1907, studying in Madrid under Chicharro y Ag-4era and working in the tradition of Zuloaga. Visited Paris in 1909, settled there 1911-20. Friendship with Picasso, Gris, Modigliani, Lipchitz and painted 1913-17 in a Cubist style. Visited Italy 1920-1 to study the mural paintings of the Renaissance, then returned to Mexico eager to be of service to the Mexican Revolution and make a monumental art accessible to all. His first mural paintings there in 1922-3 stimulated a revival of mural painting. Executed frescoes for the headquarters of the Ministry of Education 1923-7 and for other public buildings in Mexico; also carried out frescoes in the USA 1930-3, where the Communist bias of his work provoked violent controversy. Died in Mexico City.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.634