Author(s): Diego Rivera
Originally published in 1930, "Posada: Monografia" is a facsimile edition of the first monograph of the great Mexican illustrator and engraver Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913). Reprinted to coincide with the 100th anniversary of his death, reproduces more than 400 of the most iconic prints from Posada's vast output, collected by Pablo O'Higgins from those that could be located and identified at the time. Posada and Manuel Manilla--a talented engraver who greatly influenced Posada--were the two artists of their day who best interpreted the lives and social attitudes of Mexican people. Posada, in particular, is in the great tradition of illustrators who double as political and social commentators (a tradition that also includes Aubrey Beardsley and Honore Daumier). The images of the high-spirited, at times macabre broadsheets reproduced in "Posada: Monografia" include the famous "calaveras," or skeleton creatures, along with illustrations for songs, "corridos" (traditional ballads) and religious prayers. The skeletons in the "barrios" were a metaphor for a corrupt society; Posada supplemented his black humor with lampoons of venal politicians, and, not surprisingly, was jailed on several occasions for his transgressions. With their striking visual qualities, his ingenious images did much to enrich the tradition of the popular Mexican print. "Posada: Monografia" also includes an introduction by Frances Toor, the legendary editor of "Mexican Folkways" magazine, and an essay by Diego Rivera.