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Latin American and Iberian Collections at Stanford


Stanford University Libraries       
Stanford, California      
October 25, 2002

EXHIBITION: José Guadalupe Posada and the Taller de Gráfica Popular: Mexican Popular Prints

DATES: November 1, 2002 – March 15, 2003

CONTACT: Vanessa Kam, 650-723-9523, fax 650-723-8690;

The Stanford University Libraries, Department of Special Collections, is pleased to announce the exhibition José Guadalupe Posada and the Taller de Gráfica Popular: Mexican Popular Prints.   This show celebrates the work of two Mexican graphic art giants: Posada (1852–1913), perhaps best known for his calaveras (skeletal caricatures) that appear during the Día de los muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations beginning each year on November 1, and artists of the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP, Workshop for Popular Graphic Art), which formed in 1937.  With an emphasis on documenting Posada’s influence on younger generations of artists working in post-Revolutionary Mexico, the exhibition will feature prints, broadsheets, posters, photographs, printing blocks, and rare illustrated books.  José Guadalupe Posada and the Taller de Gráfica Popular: Mexican Popular Prints will be on view at Stanford University’s Cecil H. Green Library, Peterson Gallery, second floor of the Bing Wing from November 1, 2002 through March 15, 2003. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Born in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico, Posada demonstrated an early talent for drawing, taught lithography, and made a living as an illustrator of magazines, books, and commercial products.  In 1888 he moved to Mexico City to join the printing shop of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo.  It is there that Posada produced thousands of illustrations for popular broadsheets, some dedicated to sensationalistic themes ranging from heinous murders to natural and man-made disasters, and others to daily life in turn-of-the-century Mexico.  Posada’s imagery was aimed at the urban working classes, shedding light on the struggles of the underdog and the downtrodden while exposing the habits of Mexico’s middle and upper class members to his sharp satirical wit.  Posada created the bulk of these broadsheets under the regime of the Mexican dictator Porfirio Díaz, keeping his satire in check to minimize the risk censorship or imprisonment.

Posada’s impact on the work of the TGP will be highlighted in the exhibition.  Several TGP artists acknowledged Posada as having a strong influence on their work, and were clearly inspired by his ability to reach the masses through the medium of printmaking and his unique, dramatic style of representing both extraordinary and ordinary elements of everyday life in Mexico. 

Founded in 1937 by Leopoldo Méndez and other members of a dissolved artists’ collective, the TGP used the graphic arts as a means of educating and raising the social and political consciousness of the largely uneducated rural working classes.  Artists of the TGP were political activists bound by a common allegiance to the social justice and agrarian reform goals of the Mexican Revolution.  TGP artists produced hundreds of prints, posters, handouts, and leaflets representing a myriad of political causes.  Included in the exhibition are striking images focused on denouncing fascism, imperialism, and the oppression of the peasant classes, and on promoting workers rights, literacy campaigns, and oil expropriation. 

PLEASE NOTE: Images to accompany this press release are available upon request.  For images, and further information about the exhibition, please contact Becky Fischbach at 650-725-1020 or via e-mail at

LOCATION: Peterson Gallery, Green Library
Bing Wing, Second Floor
Stanford University, Stanford, CA  

HOURS: Gallery hours from November 1 through December 13, 2002 and January 7 through March 15, 2003 are Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 1 to 6 pm.  For library hours between December 14 and January 6, please call 650-723-9108.

Last modified: June 27, 2005
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