Taller de Gráfica Popular

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Elizabeth Catlett (b. 1915)

José Guadalupe Posada (1852—1913)

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David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896—1974)


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A printmaking establishment founded in Mexico City in 1937 as ‘a collective work centre’ by three left-wing artists: Luis Arenal (1908–85), Leopoldo Méndez (1902–69), and the American Pablo O'Higgins (1904–83); the name means ‘People's Graphics Workshop’. A short Declaration of Principles issued by the founders explained some of their aims and beliefs. They wanted to help ‘the Mexican people defend and enrich their national culture’ and believed that ‘in order to serve the people, art must reflect the social reality of the times’. They aimed to ‘co-operate professionally with other cultural workshops and institutions, workers’ organizations, and progressive movements and institutions in general' and to ‘defend freedom of expression and artists' professional interests’. The work of the TGP was part of a tradition of socially committed printmaking of which Posada was the most famous representative and it paralleled the concerns of the contemporary Mexican muralists, Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros. In the 1940s and 1950s there were usually about twelve to fifteen artists working at the TGP at any one time, teaching printmaking as well as producing their own work. They issued their prints as single images, in portfolios, or as posters. Various techniques were used, including lithography, but woodcut and linocut tended to be favoured because of their cheapness. The subject-matter included attacks on Fascism and the exploitation of the poor, and after the Second World War the TGP became involved in the government's literacy campaign.

See also Catlett.

Subjects: Art.

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