When abstractionism and inf ormalism burst into Mexican artistic lif e, man y artists stopped taking muralism as the aesthetic model to follow and tumed to the Tamayo flag. However, of the three so-called greats (Rivera, Siqueiros and Orozco) there was one who still interested many of the young artists of the Rupture generation-José Cemente Orozco. No doubt his paintings were more poetry and less propaganda. After ali, in his depictions of the Mexican Revolution, Orozco produced timeless reflections on war, violence and death, not panegyrics on a slice of the national history. His expressionist strokes and his coloristic work made his figures eloquent, even if grotesque (Orozco’s former trade was as a caricaturist). He represented something inspiring for the young artists. The phrase of the great Luis Cardoza y Aragon became a tendency: ”the three greats are two: Orozco.”
José Luis Cuevas, the leader and greatest polemicist of the Rupture, grew up with this perspective. His work was not abstract and his informalist expressionism was nurtured as much by Orozco’s absurd images as by his expressionist strokes. Although Francisco Toledo was never a committed rupturista like Cuevas, he was close to that generation. His was a more moderate stance and he always expressed admiration for the muralist movement. Of ali of them, it is Orozco who interests him the most as an artist, although the activism of Diego and Siqueiros never lost its attraction for him. Cuevas and Toledo both reveal affinities with Orozco in their tendencies towards the monstrous and their freedom as draughtsmen. Toledo always refused to draw or paint political tapies as his teachers, Arturo García Bustos and Rina Lazo, invited him to do. Even if both tumed towards Tamayo, in Toledo as much as in Cuevas the stamp of Orozco is even more striking.
José Clemente Orozco Farías grew up watching these three artists. His grandfather had to have been a key influence f or his art and his conception of images. But he also saw the new generation that both challenged and was challenged by muralism. The rupture was never complete because they took up the pictorial elements of the muralists. It is well-known that Siqueiros taught Jackson Pollock the value of accident and the random blotch of paint. It is also certain that if any of the three still captures the gaze of today’s painters he is Orozco. His grandson has discovered how to declare his independence from his grandfather without neglecting those elements of his art that interest him but also without neglecting ali the art that carne afterwards and that influenced his gaze and creative practice. I think that this exposition makes my words palpable. It serves to introduce the Mexican public to an artist who has lacked the presence he deserves in the gallery tours of his native country.