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José Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican Broadside

June 24, 2007–January 21, 2008
Gallery 163

Two consecutive installations focus attention on the Art Institute's outstanding but rarely exhibited collection of late 19th- and early 20th-century Mexican broadsides. Popular press publishers and itinerant hawkers sold these colorful, graphically powerful sheets on the street as penny handbills.

Part I: June 24-October 1
Part II: October 7-January 21

Made by renowned broadside illustrator José Guadalupe Posada, his colleague Manuel Manilla, and various anonymous artists, the 75 featured works cover a wide range of themes and aesthetic strategies. One can see scandal sheets covering the latest crimes and curiosities; news of dramatic and noteworthy events from natural disasters to military campaigns to national celebrations; popular song sheets introducing the latest compositions and corridos, narrative songs that tell of the escapades of bandits and heroes; and sheets marking Day of the Dead celebrations that feature the often humorous and satirical calaveras, or skeleton figures. José Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican Broadside also explores the technical aspects of broadside production and examines its popular precursors.


A 40-page catalogue in English and Spanish, authored by guest curator Diane Miliotes, includes more than 30 illustrations, most of which are in full color. The book will be available in the Museum Shop and online in mid-July.

Exhibition catalogue:  José Guadalupe Posada and the Mexican Broadside.


Art Institute of Chicago


Diane Miliotes, guest curator

José Guadalupe Posada. Calaveras of the Masses, Number 2, 1910. William McCallin McKee Memorial Endowment.