Carlos Mérida, 1891 - 1984

Born in Guatemala, 1891, Mérida met in 1908 the artist Carlos Valenti. He travelled with Valenti to Europe at age seventeen. Studied with Van Dongen and Anglada Camarasa; met Picasso, Modigliani and others of Paris school. Visited Belgium, Holland and Spain. Returned to Guatemala City, 1914, where he initiated, with sculptor Yela Gunther, pro Indian movement in attempt to find an authentic "American Art". He moved to Mexico in 1919, and in 1920 his Guatemalan paintings were exhibited at Academia de Bellas Artes. In 1922 assisted Diego Rivera on first mural to Escuela Nacional Preparatoria; joined Sindicato de Trabajadores Técnicos, Pintores y Escultores de México. From 1925 contributed to Frances Toor's review Mexican Folkways, which helped spread interest in Mexican popular art. First exhibition in New York in 1926. He went to Europe in 1927 and met Klee and Miró; published coloured lithographs Images of Guatemala with introduction by Andrés Salmon. Returned to Mexico in 1929, Mérida became more abstract under influence of Surrealism. Friend of Breton and European Surrealists in New York. After 1950 he turned to architectural art, relief murals for Presidente Juárez housing estate. Last mosaic mural in Mexico City completed in 1984.