David Alfaro Siqueiros

1896–1974

David Alfaro Siqueiros, ‘Cosmos and Disaster’ c.1936
Cosmos and Disaster c.1936
© The estate of David Alfaro Siqueiros/DACS 2020
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In Tate Modern

Biography

David Alfaro Siqueiros (born José de Jesús Alfaro Siqueiros, December 29, 1896, in Chihuahua – January 6, 1974, in Cuernavaca, Morelos) was a Mexican social realist painter, best known for his large murals in fresco. Along with Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, he was one of the most famous of the "Mexican muralists". He was a member of the Mexican Communist Party, and a Stalinist and supporter of the Soviet Union who led an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Leon Trotsky in May 1940.

By accordance with Spanish naming customs, his surname would normally have been Alfaro; however, like Picasso (Pablo Ruiz y Picasso) and Lorca (Federico García Lorca), Siqueiros used his mother's surname. It was long believed that he was born in Camargo in Chihuahua state, but in 2003 it was proven that he had actually been born in the city of Chihuahua, but grew up in Irapuato, Guanajuato, at least from the age of six. The discovery of his birth certificate in 2003 by a Mexican art curator was announced the following year by art critic Raquel Tibol, who was renowned as the leading authority on Mexican Muralism and who had been a close acquaintance of Siqueiros. Siqueiros changed his given name to "David" after his first wife called him by it in allusion to Michelangelo's David.

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Artworks

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