Xavier Guerrero

The Mexican tradition of anti-fascist and anti-war art was familiar to artists participating in the Polish National Exhibition of Young Visual Arts "Against War, Against Fascism" and could offer them a source of inspiration, as pieces by Xavier Guerrero and other Mexican artists had been shown in Poland before at two broad surveys of art from that country. The painting The Capital and Semicolonies was presented at the Exhibition of Mexican Art at the Zachęta Gallery in Warsaw in 1955, from which it entered the collection of the National Museum as a gift of the National Front of Plastic Arts for the Polish nation. In his painting, Guerrero applies compositional and stylistic solutions characteristic of Mexican muralism and uses modern industrial materials. The work is painted on masonite board with nitrocellulose paints. This enigmatic anti-war and anti-colonial piece alludes to the history of Mexico’s struggle for independence and criticizes the aggressive hegemonic and “semicolonial” policy of Western states, stating unambiguously that the 20th- century fight with “capitalist imperialism” marks a continuation of historic struggles with colonial domination.

Xavier Guerrero (b. 1896 in San Pedro, d. 1974 in Mexico City) – painter and initiator of the Mexican mural movement established in 1921. Recognized as one of the most technically proficient muralists, Guerrero created a range of his own projects in public spaces and collaborated on numerous works by other artists. He was also an active member of the People’s Graphic Workshop (Taller de Gráfica Popular), an artistic organization established in 1937, active in the mass production of popular, politically engaged, anti-fascist and anti-war graphic prints, flyers, caricatures, illustrations, posters and brochures. Towards the end of the 1930s, Guerrero almost entirely abandoned work on murals and concentrated on painting, but his activity in the field was never fully appreciated.

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