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Calaveras estranguladoras (Strangling Calaveras)

A work made of lithograph in black on tan wove paper.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

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  • A work made of lithograph in black on tan wove paper.

Date:

1942

Artist:

Alfredo Zalce (Mexican, 1908–2003); Leopoldo Méndez (Mexican, 1902–1969)
published by the Taller de Gráfica Popular (Mexican, founded 1937)

About this artwork

On the Day of the Dead the Taller de Gráfica Popular produced calavera sheets, continuing the tradition popularized by Posada. In this energetic, collaborative four-page broadside from 1942, several Taller artists took up the calavera’s dark humor to lionize military heroes, satirize murderers and the press, and reveal local scandals and international incidents. The broadside’s overarching theme of strangulation was inspired by the recently captured serial killer Gregorio Cárdenas Hernández, the first such criminal to receive extensive coverage in the Mexican press. On the pamphlet’s front page, insectlike reporter-calaveras swarm Cárdenas as he kneels in his jail cell. The interior pages expose the deadly effects of tainted milk and expensive medication and display skeletonlike caricatures of Hitler and French collaborationist leaders Pétain and Laval. In contrast, on the back page, Méndez depicted the heroic, mounted calavera of General Seymon Timoshenko, who led the Soviet Red Army against the Nazi siege of Stalingrad, as a new Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary leader.

Español:
Para los Días de Muertos, el Taller de Gráfica Popular producía hojas de calaveras, siguiendo la tradición popularizada por Posada. En esta vigorosa hoja volante colectiva de cuatro páginas producida en 1942, varios artistas del Taller retoman el humor negro de las calaveras para engrandecer a los héroes militares, satirizar a los asesinos y a la prensa y revelar escándalos locales e incidentes internacionales. El tema de la estrangulación, que abarca toda la hoja, surgió de la reciente captura del asesino en serie Gregorio Cárdenas Hernández, el primer criminal de ese tipo en recibir una gran cobertura en la prensa mexicana. En la primera página de la hoja, unas calaveras-reporteros con formas de insectos asedian a un Cárdenas que aparece de rodillas en su celda. Las páginas interiores muestran las nocivas consecuencias de la leche contaminada y de las medicinas caras junto a los esqueletos de Hitler y de los líderes colaboracionistas franceses Pétain y Laval. En contraste, en la última página, Méndez plasmó la heroica calavera a caballo del general Seymon Timoshenko, quien encabezó al Ejercito Rojo soviético contra el sitio nazi de Stalingrado. Aparece en la forma de un nuevo Zapata, el dirigente revolucionario mexicano.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Prints and Drawings

Artist

Alfredo Zalce

Title

Calaveras estranguladoras (Strangling Calaveras)

Place

Mexico (Artist's nationality)

Date

1942

Medium

Lithograph in black on tan wove paper

Credit Line

William McCallin McKee Memorial Endowment

Reference Number

1944.897

Copyright

© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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