Jose Chavez Morado a Mexican Icon opened the other night in the historical museum ex-Aduana in Juarez. as a part of the third Chihuahua festival, and it is a beautiful show. Morado, born one year before the Mexican Revolution in Silao, Guanajuato grew up during tremendous upheaval in the political landscape. When he was 16 he went to work for the national railroad which gave him the opportunity to travel all over the country. Afterwards he went to California to work as a laborer, and cenmented his interest in becoming a painter through meeting Jose Clemente Orozco in Pomona.
Painting in Mexico at this time tended to reflect political and social issues as a result of the Revolution and its aftermath. Morado’s painting show a deep love of the country’s people, as well as turning a wry eye on the politics of the day. He was by and large self taught, but went on to win a host of awards. Both his drawings and his oils show a great eye for detail such as two studies of feet, and also an ability to play with familiar icons such as “The Madona de la Palomas” (Madonna of the Doves) Showing a Madonna flying with doves behind wrapped in part of her shawl or the drawing called “El Entierrado of Jose GPE Posada.” with its main figure being carried in procession by a variety of characters.
One room is filled with his extraordinary drawings while another has oils and some watercolors. Perhaps one of his most well-known works Mexico Negro from 1942 is here. This is also a funeral procession with a huge animal skeleton-there is no skin being borne by great numbers of peasants.
A third room has personal photos Of Morado on vacation and in various domestic scenes.
The show is a wonderful little gem of a show-the drawings are very classical, very examplary of this time period but still have the power to move perhaps because there is reflected in them a great love of place, people and identity.
Museum ex-aduana. open Tuesday-Sunday. david sokolec