Isidoro Ocampo Biography

Isidoro Ocampo




Isidora Ocampo, painter, printmaker and illustrator, was born 20 June 1910 in Veracruz, Mexico. He was an eighteen year-old merchant when he enrolled in night classes at the Academia de San Carlos, Mexico City, in 1928. The following year he entered the workshop for book arts taught by Francisco Díaz de León and Carlos Alvarado Lang. He studied printmaking for the next four years and became proficient in etching, engraving, woodcut, and lithography. Following this training he became a professional illustrator for the next seven years working for Imprenta y Editorial Cultura, the state owned publishing house.

In 1936, Ocampo joined the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR), an organization affiliated with the Mexican Communist Party. He collaborated with other members of LEAR on El libro de lectura, a book designed to teach reading to working-class adults. Ocampo joined the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP) in 1937 and his imagery was used on their posters but he officially resigned from the TGP in 1944. Ocampo taught at the Academia de San Carlos and the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, as well as at high schools and night schools. In 1947, he co-founded the Sociedad Mexicana de Grabadores, an organization devoted to the promotion of the graphic arts.

Ocampo’s work was included in exhibitions arranged by LEAR in 1937 and 1937. In 1940, his work was included in three major exhibitions of Mexican art in New York: Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art at the Museum of Modern Art, the Latin American Exhibition of Fine Arts at the Riverside Museum, and the Exhibition of Mexican Prints at the New York World’s Fair. His work was also included in the 1943 exhibition Mexican Art Today at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The works of Isidora Ocampo are represented in the collections of the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens; the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin; the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois; the British Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania; the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas; and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, California.

Ocampo died on 4 February 1983 in Mexico City, Mexico.

This bio is drawn mainly from James M. Wechsler’s essay as found in Mexico and Modern Printmaking: A Revolution in the Graphic Arts, 1920 to 1950. In his essay on Ocampo, Wechsler referred to the artist “as one of the most prolific, inventive, and technically adept Mexican printmakers of the last century…and was one of the most original voices in modern Mexican Art.”