José Guadalupe Posada: Voice of the Mexican Common Man

October 29, 2011—February 12, 2012

Nelson-Atkins Building, Gallery P13

Admission is free.

Have you ever wondered about the skulls and skeletons associated with Mexico’s Day of the Dead? Originally part of Aztec traditions, these calaveras were adopted and repurposed by José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) to become the whimsical skeletons we know today.

While most famous for these illustrations,  Posada is also recognized as an important Mexican artist who influenced such later artists as Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siquieros. 

Posada’s work chronicles the emotions and events of the time in which he lived. In newspapers and advertisements he made the news and popular events come alive with a combination of confident black lines, well-known imagery, and a strong story telling sense. Today you find Posada’s imagery in many Diá de Los Muertos decorations and costumes and even in such everyday items as Nike sneakers! 


José Guadalupe Posada, Mexican b.1852. La Calavera de la Catrina, 1913. Zinc etching. 11.1 x 16 cm (4.4 x 6.3 in). Courtesy Consulate of Mexico, Kansas City.

This exhibition is made possible through the generosity of the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City

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