An exhibition of works by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886–1957) at the Helsinki City Art Museum's Tennis Palace galleries was an extensive presentation of the art and life of this colourful artist, including drawings, oils, water colours, gouaches and pastels, and a wide collection of Rivera's correspondence, sketch books, newspaper clippings and other documentary material. In addition, there were some 50 photographs of Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo, some of which were taken by renowned photographers such as Manuel Alvarez Bravo. There was also large and impressive photographic reproductions of Rivera's murals in Mexico and the United States.
Diego Rivera was fond of telling stories and some of them have become legends about his own life. However, it is known that in his youth Rivera was a member of the circle of artists in Montparnasse in Paris, together with Picasso and others. After his return to Mexico in the early 1920s, Rivera, in collaboration with other young artists, sought to build a new Mexican identity and society through their art. Rivera is famous for his monumental murals whose motifs range from Mexico's history to its daily life. These murals combine European modernism with Mexico's folk traditions and the myths of its indigenous peoples.
Diego Rivera is one of Mexico's national artists. The works in the exhibition are on loan from museums and private collections in Mexico, the United States and Europe. The Rivera exhibition forms a part of the Helsinki City Art Museum's series of shows on Mexican art. In 1997, the Museum presented an exhibition of the works of Frida Kahlo, Rivera's wife, which was attended by a record crowd of 103,000 visitors.
The Diego Rivera exhibition was curated by Christina Burrus of France. It was organized in collaboration with Kunstforeningen (Copenhagen) and Kulturhuset (Stockholm). The exhibition was made possible by our partners, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), the Mexican Embassy in Helsinki and Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc. in New York City.