Carlos Mérida

Alcalde de Almolonga, 1919

Oleo / tela
178 x 89 cm

From August 25 to September 10, 1920, the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes held an exhibition of work by this Guatemalan painter, who had been living in Mexico since December of 1919. One of the largest works in that exhibition, this canvas was given a prominent place, together with Bucólica, a female figure equally shown I full-body format and life size, which seems to have formed a pendant with this work.

In these works, as in almost all those that were included in that exhibition, one sees the painter’s fascination with the indigenous fabrics of his native Guatemala, which he admired for both their “primitive” and “decorative” (and in this latter sense, frankly, modern) qualities. The geometric synthesis of the sumptuous textile designs led him to an extreme simplification, which he ended-up identifying as the expression of a kind of “essence” or “soul” of the Americas.

Almolonga, a small town renowned for the excellence of its thermal baths, was located scarcely three miles from the provincial capital of Quetzaltenango. Mérida had been born in Guatemala City, but his parents were originally from Quetzaltenango, and he lived there between 1907 and 1909. Consequently, his love for the land of his ancestors remained incorporated into an art that was rooted in the regional and yet served itself from an openly modern language of international circulation.

Ramírez, Fausto, et al. Mexican modern painting from the Andrés Blaisten Collection, Mexico: RM Verlag, 2011, page 44.

More of this artist

Francisco Díaz de León Fund