Jump to content


Gran Fandango - Guadalupe Posada


Recommended Posts


I guess he deserved some credit here.




El Jarabe en Ultratumba (The Folk Dance Beyond the Grave): Jose Guadalupe Posada's notorious 'Calaveras' have permanently been placed at the summit of Mexican artistic expression. By means of the Calaveras (Spanish for skulls or skeletons), Posada mimed practically every human folly. The 'Jarabe' is a major form of Mexican folk dance. The authors of "Posada's Popular Mexican Prints" state that this engraving was originally entitled Gran fandango y francachela de todas las calaveras ('Happy Dance and Wild Party of all the Skeletons'), and published as a Broadside.




Corrido: Fusilamiento de Bruno Martinez (Bruno Martinez Executed by the Firing Squad) is an original engraving by the Mexican artist, Jose Guadalupe Posada. This impression is printed upon coloured wove paper as published in Mexico City in 1943 by Arsacio Vanegas Arroyo. It was engraved by Posada in 1892. The editors of "Posada's Popular Mexican Prints" state that it was originally published not as a Corrido (song sheet) but as a broadside.


Jesus Bruno Martinez was a famous criminal. In 1892 he belonged to a gang called 'La Profesa'. When the gang robbed a Mexico City jeweler, Martinez violently slashed his throat. He was sentenced to Belen prison and shortly thereafter executed.



Note: The father of Mexican printmaking, Jose Guadalupe Posada was born in Aguascalientes in 1852. As a child he assisted an elder brother who was a school teacher and an uncle who was a potter. In 1868, he was apprenticed to a local printmaker and publisher, Jose Trinidad Pedroza, who specialized in lithography. Posada's first prints are in this medium.


In 1872 Pedroza opened a second shop in Leon de los Aldamas in the state of Guanajuato and left Posada in charge of it. Posada bought the shop in 1876 and made a comfortable living in this city with both commercial and religious art assignments. He also taught lithography techniques at a local secondary school.


Jose Guadalupe Posada moved to Mexico City in 1888 and within two years had become the chief artist for Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, a prominent publisher of illustrated broadsides, gazettes, song books, chapbooks and other popular forms of illustrated literature. At this point Posada completely abandoned lithography in favor of engraving on type metal, a process that produces results in relief similar to that of a woodcut. He used this method for his many engravings until about 1900, when he turned to etching upon zinc plates. All of Posada's now famous prints were produced for his publisher, Arroyo, and he continued to work closely with him until his death in 1913.


Posada's prints cover an amazing range of imagery. National events, disasters, miracles, abnormalities, executions, illustrations to popular songs (corridos), broadsides and street gazettes (gaceta callejera) cover a large portion of his artistic oeuvre. As well, his notorious 'Calaveras' have permanently been placed at the summit of Mexican artistic expression. By means of the Calaveras (Spanish for skulls or skeletons), Posada mimed practically every human folly. In a very strong way, Posada is to Mexico what Daumier, Goya and Hogarth are to their countries. Masters of the succeeding generation, such as Rivera and Orozco, were deeply influenced and indebted to Posada's art.


A Note on Impressions of Posada's Prints: All original Posada engravings are scarce. First edition impressions of Posada's prints are next to impossible to acquire. As they were printed upon the cheapest wove papers used for popular broadsides, songsheets and street gazettes the vast majority simply disintegrated. The few remaining examples accompanied by text are now in the collections of mostly public or national museums. The first posthumous edition of original Posada engravings and etchings was published in Mexico City in 1930 by Frances Toor, Blas Vanegas Arroyo and Pablo O'Higgins, entitled, Mongrafia: Las Obras de Jose Guadalupe Posada, Grabador Mexicano. The original Posada plates were collected and printed (sometimes two to a page and always using both sides of the paper) by none other than Diego Rivera and Pablo O'Higgins. This original etching hails from this 1930 set. Even prints from this set are listed as very difficult to acquire.


Source: Monografia: Las Obras de Jose Guadalupe Posada, Mexico City, 1930

Reference: Roberto Berdecio and Stanley Appelbaum, eds., Posada' Popular Mexican Prints, New York, Dover Publications, 1972. (The introductory quotation will be found on p. xviii.)

Web: Art of the Print <www.artoftheprint.com>




And as a bonus this Calavera that you can see on the deck of cards found at Eva's desk:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know that last Don Juan skeleton picture, but (of course) never even barely remembered that it appeared in GF. Amazing.


Not that I've ever heard of the artist. Those calaveras of his are rather fascinating, if disquieting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Create New...