David Alfaro Siqueiros Biography

David Alfaro Siqueiros




David Alfaro Siqueiros, muralist, painter, and printmaker, worked alongside Rivera and Orzoco in establishing the Mexican Mural Renaissance. Much of his work reflects the deep social and political struggles of the Mexican people throughout his lifetime, and his own experience as an activist and soldier played key elements in his artistic expression.

Born in Chihuahua City, Mexico on December 29, 1896. His life would take an activist leaning early on. He studied at the Franco-English College in Mexico City beginning in 1908, and it was most likely here, under the tutelage of Marxist teachers, that his awareness of social and political injustices were given life: at only fifteen he would lead his first strike, at the San Carlos Academy (later the Academy of Fine Arts), for a change in its teaching methods. It ended in victory. Later, four years as an active combatant in the Revolution earned him rank as Captain, and in 1918, Siqueiros organized the Congress of Soldier Artists.

His activism and his radical publications were often cause for his arrest, but despite this he constantly created his art. Spending six months in Lecumberri prison in Mexico City in 1930 for participating in a May Day rally, he created 13 woodcuts from scrapwood which he would publish himself upon his release. Confinement in Taxco saw the completion of over one hundred paintings, exhibited in Casino Espanol, and, upon being expelled from Mexico in 1931, he came to Los Angeles and created three works to be shown at Chouinard, the Plaza Art Center, and a private Santa Monica residence. Indeed, until his death, Siqueiros remained a fighter, his beliefs and struggles mirrored by a vast and varied body of work, a man for whom art, revolution, and gangsterism were inseperable. (Deustcher).

David Alfaro Siqueiros died in Cuernavaca, Mexico on January 6, 1974.