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Diego Rivera: 1886-1957: Artist

Capitalist Art And Communist Politics

Over the next several years Rivera received numerous government commissions and his reputation as an acclaimed muralist grew. However, the Communist Party felt his work for the government was in contradiction to their political beliefs and he was expelled from the party in 1929. Conversely, the public often decried his suitability as a government painter because of his Communist background. Despite these controversies Rivera persevered, even becoming famous because of them. Throughout the 1920s he completed prominent public murals including those at the Agricultural College at Chapingo and the National Palace. In 1927, after five stormy years of marriage, Rivera and Marin separated. Two years later he married Frida Kahlo, a dedicated Communist and a talented painter nearly twenty years his junior. She would become not only his greatest love, but also a well-respected artist in her own right.

As a government employee, Rivera made very little money. To supplement his income he sold paintings to wealthy North Americans. Soon he began accepting mural commissions north of the border. In 1931 he completed two major murals in San Francisco. One, "Allegory or California" painted for the Pacific Stock Exchange, invoked the ire of the Communist press who derided Rivera for being an agent of North American Imperialism. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, controversy raged because a card-carrying Communist foreigner was chosen over a home-grown American artist to create a work celebrating capitalist glory. The furor kept Rivera's name in the papers but did not stop his work.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr BiographyDiego Rivera: 1886-1957: Artist Biography - Began Drawing As A Toddler, Arrived In Europe As A Young Man, Returned To Mexico, Became A Muralist