November 4, 2002
Icons of Mexican art on view at SAM
by Deborah Stone
Arts and Entertainment
"Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism: The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection," is currently on view at the Seattle Art Museum. The show reflects a century of artistic development in Mexico, represented by one of the largest and finest private collections of 20th century Mexican art.
The Gelman's collection features more than 100 works, dating primarily from the 1910s to 1960s, and includes still lifes, portraits and landscapes from such renowned artists as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco.
A broad range of artistic developments in Mexico during the past century are represented in this exhibition, from cubism and surrealism, to abstraction and realism. The Gelmans, originally from Eastern Europe, made their home in Mexico City and in the 1940s, they began to amass an extraordinary collection of modern European and Mexican art. They eventually donated the European works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but retained their collection of Mexican art.
Some of the well-known pieces in this collection include Rivera's "Calla Lily Vendor," a piece derived from one of the artist's 1920s mural projects, Kahlo's surrealistic "Self-Portrait with Monkeys" and Siqueiros's abstract "Head of a Woman."
Other noted artists represented in the exhibit are Maria Izquierdo, Gunther Gerzso, Carlos Merida, Rufino Tamayo and Angel Zarraga. The Gelmans befriended many of these artists, as the couple shared a passion for art and a desire to connect with their adopted culture. The collection includes self-portraits of several of these painters and many portraits of the Gelmans themselves, including Tamayo's "Portrait of Mrs. Natasha Gelman" and Zarraga's "Portrait of Mr. Jacques Gelman."
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism" runs through Jan. 5, 2003. For details, call (206) 654-3100.