Pablo O'Higgins Biography

Pablo O'Higgins




Pablo O'Higgins was born Paul Higgins in Salt Lake City, Utah on March 1, 1904. He studied at the school of Fine Arts in San Diego, California. It was not long before he became dissatisfied with the academic techniques employed by their art instructors and decided to move to Mexico where he began his permanent residence in Mexico City in 1924 and by the 1930s had changed his first name to "Pablo". Higgins joined the Communist Party in Mexico in 1927, and added the "O" to his last name. O'Higgins also spent a year at the Academy of Art in Moscow on a Soviet Scholarship (1933). Once again, unimpressed with the instruction, most of his time was devoted to sketching Soviet workers at the railroad station.

O'Higgins first gained a close knowledge of modern Mexican art when he was appointed the primary assistant to the great master, Diego Rivera who became his friend and mentor. O'Higgins worked with Rivera for both his Chapingo and Ministry of Education projects. Due to political differences and O'Higgins' desire to create his own works, he left Rivera's tutelage when the Chapingo murals were completed.

Pablo O'Higgins exhibited in San Francisco at the Art Center Gallery (1925 and 1927) along with Diego Rivera, Jose Clement Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros and other great Mexican masters. He had a one-man exhibition in New York at the John Levy Gallery (1931), which included over twenty of his works. He also exhibited in Cuba, Spain, Los Angeles and Mexico. It is imperative to mention that his work was included in the first large group exhibit of Mexican art held in the United States. He was the only non-native Mexican artist whose work was included in the Modern Art's exhibit "Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art" in New York (1940) and the Mexican Government has awarded him the highest honors in retrospectives of his work at El Palacio de Bellas Artes. It is evident that the influence and dominance of his political art continues with the inclusion of his works in major exhibitions of Latin American art throughout Mexico, the United States and in Britain. Pablo O'Higgins became a Mexican citizen in 1961.

Pablo O'Higgins died in Mexico on July 16, 1983.