Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957) was a well-known painter who assisted in the establishment of the Mexican mural movement. Rivera was born December 8, 1886, in Guanajuto, Mexico. When he was still a child, Rivera began studying art at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City. He continued his studies in Europe after receiving a sponsorship from the governor of the State of Veracruz. He arrived in Europe in 1907 and first studied in Spain before traveling to France, where he lived and worked with a large community of artists in Montparnasse. During his years spent studying in France, Rivera witnessed the budding of the Cubism movement, led by well-known artists such as Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973).

Inspired by Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906), Rivera made the move to Post-Impressionism around 1917. It was around this time that his paintings began to receive notice and were presented at several exhibitions. Rivera left France in 1920 and traveled extensively throughout Italy while continuing his study of art. He returned to Mexico in 1921, and became involved in a Mexican mural program sponsored by the government. After cofounding the Revolutionary Union of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors in 1922, Rivera frequently focused on themes related to Mexican society in his murals. Rivera traveled to Moscow, Russia, in 1927 to participate in a commemoration of the anniversary of the October Revolution. Although he was originally commissioned to paint a mural there, he was ordered to return to Mexico the following year. In 1930, Rivera arrived in San Francisco, CA. After painting several murals, he moved on to New York. While living in Manhattan, he completed a series of 27 fresco panels titled Detroit Industry between 1932 and 1933.

In 1931, a retrospective of his works was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He went back to Mexico after completing the murals, but returned to the United States again in 1940 to work on several mural projects. Rivera died on November 24, 1957, in Mexico City at the age of 70.

Timeline

1886
December 8th; born in Guanajuato, Mexico.
1907
Sent to Spain to study; travels throughout France, Belgium, Holland, and England. Encounters the work of the Fauves and Cezanne.
1929
Marries second wife, Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.
1957
November 24th; dies due to heart failure.

Exhibitions

2011–2012
Diego Rivera: Murals for The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1948
Painting in Mexico that included the words "God does not exist" was covered and held from public view for nine years.
1947
Together with Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, forms the National Institute of Fine Arts' (INBA) Commission for Mural-Painting.
1933
Diego started work on a mural, Man at the Crossroads, in Radio City in the Rockefeller Center in New York. However, a conflict arose over a portrait of Lenin, the first leader of the Soviet Union, and the mural was chipped off the wall and destroyed February 9, 1934.
1931
Retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. This was the Museum's fourteenth exhibition and only its second one man show.
1930
Arrives in San Francisco to paint a mural for the Stock Exchange.
1916
Exhibition in New York City
1913
Paints his first Cubist works and exhibits at the Autumn Salon.
1910
Exhibition in Mexico. The wife of the powerful president Porifirio Diaz buys six of the forty paintings shown.