Head on Black Paper


David Alfaro Siqueiros ( Mexican, 1896 - 1974 )

c. 1939
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General Description

In 1936, Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros relocated to New York City to found the Siqueiros Experimental Workshop, a collective enterprise aimed at raising the caliber of the avant-garde through modern techniques. While in New York, Siqueiros began painting with Duco, a brand of nitrocellulose paint then used almost exclusively in the commercial automotive industry. His use of the quick-drying paint fulfilled the Experimental Workshop’s deep political commitment, which sought to both revolutionize and modernize painting techniques for the eventual mechanical reproduction of public murals. Siqueiros achieves a strong sense of verticality, layering flat panels of paint to create the folded fabric on his veiled figure. The paint was applied with an airbrush, further removing the hand of the artist from the work, resulting in a unified, textured surface.

Excerpt from

Erin Piñon, Tower Gallery: Latin American Art, Label text, 2017.