Francisco Toledo (Mexican, b.1940) is a graphic artist who works in various media including sculpture, pottery, painting, weaving, and graphic arts. He studied in the Escuela de Bellas Artes de Oaxaca and the Centro Superior de Artes Aplicadas del Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, where he studied under Guillermo Silva Santamaria (Columbian, 1927–2007). In the early 1960s, Toledo traveled throughout Europe and eventually settled in Paris, France. Soon, he set himself up in the workshop of artist Stanley William Hayter (British, 1901–1988).
In 1965, Toledo returned to Mexico and began using what he had learned in Europe to create a new style of Mexican Art. In 1973, he had a show in the Carl Finkler Gallery in Paris, and, in 1975, he had a show at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. By 1980, his work was extensive enough for the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City to hold a retrospective. His work is concerned with the cultural traditions of his birthplace, the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The myths, people, flora, and fauna of Oaxaca play major roles in many of his works. He has illustrated numerous books based on the ancestral stories of his people. These books include Chilam Balam, Guachi, and Sahagún. Works such as Chivo and Shoe and Toads show Toledo's use of Oaxaca and animals. He has also created a series of 15 prints inspired by Franz Kafka's Report For an Academy. Toledo has spent much of his life promoting the arts in Oaxaca. In 1988, he founded the Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca, which currently holds roughly 12,000 books dealing with numerous art forms and Mexican Art. He also founded the Museum de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca. His work is represented in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City, Mexico.
For his social work and devotion to his home state, Toledo has received numerous awards including the Mexican National Prize in 1998, the Prince Claus Award in 2000, and the Right Livelihood Award in 2005. He is the father of the poet Natalia Toledo (Mexican, b.1968) and artists Dr Lakra (Mexican, b.1972) and Laureana Toledo (Mexican, b.1970). Toledo currently lives and works in Oaxaca, Mexico.