This striking publication focuses attention on a portion of the Art Institute's collection that has rarely been seen in recent years, late 19th- and early 20th-century Mexican broadsides. Popular-press publishers and itinerant hawkers sold these colorful, graphically powerful ephemeral sheets as penny handbills to lower middle-class and working-class audiences. The museum's holdings span a wide range of themes and styles. Of the 300 objects in the collection, more than 275 are by the most celebrated broadside illustrator, José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913). His images, which are engraved or etched, depict sensational crimes and curiosities; news of dramatic and noteworthy events from natural disasters to military campaigns and national celebrations; images for religious devotion; political and clerical spoofs; song sheets introducing the latest popular tunes; corridos, which narrate the escapades of bandits and heroes; and perhaps the most familiar genre of all: depictions of Day of the Dead celebrations that feature the often humorous and/or satirical calaveras, or skeleton figures.
The Art Institute of Chicago, 2006 40 pages, 9 1/2 x 8 5/8 33 color illus.