Dolores Olmedo Patiño Museum
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Dolores Olmedo Museum
An extraordinary art collection in a pretty and pleasant scenario. Is as paying a visit Dolores Olmedo in her house, the former sensible owner of this collection of Diego Rivera’s and Frida Kahlo’s paintings, who was for many years a friend of these painters. This collection also includes an important selection of pre-Hispanic pieces belonging to the Olmec, Zapotec and to the Maya cultures.
The collection is housed at main house of what was “The Hacienda de la Noria” which dates from the sixteen century and modified in the seventeen, eighteen and twenty centuries. This generous space includes the museum, where its permanent collection is exhibited as well as other temporal expositions from world-class international and local artist, and also includes a beautiful vast garden with a large verity of native Mexican pants species and a large society of exotic peacocks.
In this construction can be appreciated what is left of its former architecture of what it was the small chapel of Tzomoloc dedicated to Sent John Evangelist, which now is registered as an historic monument.
This formerly hacienda, now a museum, is located at the outskirts in south of Mexico City very near of the Xochimilco Floating Gardens. This was the Xochimilcas land during the pre-Hispanic period, who used call this site Tzomolco, what in Nahuatl means “the segmented hill ” which is the hill behind the main house of this construction.
Dolores Olmedo acquired this construction actually in ruins in 1962. After a long and dedicated reconstruction effort, in which Dolores Olmedo looked for maintaining the basic elements of colonial architecture and conserved the typical materials of these constructions, the museum was open in 1994.
The construction and the collections belonging to this museum were donated to the people of Mexico by Dolores Olmedo Patiño, which was its one time and only owner and her patrimony, from all her life’s work.
Hereby we present a summary of the information contained in the descriptive guide- book of the Museo Dolores Olmedo Patiño that can be bought in this Museum’s shop
Collections in this museum
In this museum a very important part of the work of Diego Rivera can be found, one of the most relevant Mexican painters of the twentieth century and probably the most well known. There are also aside important works of Frida Kahlo, also very well known artist around the world, and the works of other grate painter, the Russian borne, Angelina Beloff . All these works make a magnificent collection from three grate artists that never had been presented to the public in only one collection.
In this attractive, carefully curated and well kept museum it can be found, paintings, pre-Hispanic works, “estofados” which are wood carved images of saints covered with gold that were produced during the New Spain’s Viceroyalty period, and a large gallery dedicated to the “popular” art of Mexico.
The Main Gallery, Paintings of Diego Rivera
Rivera the large format easel paintings, the muralist famous painter. Borne in 1886 in Guanajuato, a city in the central area of México with mining and cultural traditions. Rivera is one of the precursors of the painting movement known, during the first part of the twentieth century, as the Mexican School. He died in1957 in Mexico City.
In this museum can be appreciated works from different periods of Rivera. From his childhood, when he was ten years old when he painted The portrait of María Barrientos de Rivera, 1896, his mother,.
When Rivera was twenty years he was granted a scholarship to study in Europe. In Madrid he enrolled at The San Fernando Academy and remained in Europe for twenty years traveling extensively and also experimented with all painting movements advanced of those years.
In this gallery, from those years it can be appreciated “El picador”, 1909 that would correspond to the Spanish Realism. Is a large format oil painting showing a key member of a bullfight team. In this painting Rivera’s style can be already appreciated.
Also here can be seen “The Mathematician”, 1918 experimenting with the advanced artistic trends of the moment, with Paul Cézanne’s Post-impressionism innovating influence. Searching new styles in the portrait of René Paresce. Also, representing well the Mexican School, The flowered canoe, 1931; The Family, 1934; the well-known La Tehuana. Portrait of Dolores Olmedo, 1955.
Room 2 Mural painting
In what it was the chapel of what it was the Hacienda de La Noria it can seen the sketches of what later would became the murals that Rivera painted at the University of Chapingo; The Execution of Maximilian of Habsburg, 1935, a sketch that later was a mural at the National Palace; Frozen assets, 1931, the only fresco included in this collection, one of modules that Rivera produced for his retrospective exposition in New York.
Room 3 Maya
The Mayan pieces shown here are a sample of this culture inventiveness and its skills, its ceramics and its sculpture. Here you can find five watercolor paintings about Mayan motives produced by Diego Rivera in order to illustrate a book: The land of the Peasant and the deer, 1935; nevertheless, one of its most liked works is The watermelons, 1957, not only because this is the subject matter unavoidably associated with the Mexican people, but also because this was the last painting that he painted before dying.
Room 4 The kitchen
A typical kitchen from the colonial period is part of this museum. The walls of the still maintain the Talavera tiles from the estate of Puebla, from the original this Hacienda’s original construction.
Here are also exhibited the silver tableware specially made for Maximilian of Habsburg and the plates that commemorated the firs centennial of México as an independent republic. These English porcelain plates are decorated with portrays of Benito Juárez and Porfirio Díaz that were the two most relevant political figures at that time.
Room 5 Portraits and Self-portraits
This room displays Dolores Olmedo’s family and her portraits, drawn or painted by Rivera. The collection includes Rivera’s four self-portraits, which show with candor why he was called “el sapo rana”: popping eyes, drooping eyelids, the broad and jowly face with flaccid skin.
In 1954 Rivera’s then-wife Frida Kahlo died finally died and when Rivera was 68 and had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Room 6 Sunsets
During Rivera’s stay in Acapulco after his cobalt treatments he set about documenting, day by day, the ever-changing effects of the light in the various treatments of the setting sun over the Bay of Acapulco. The series amounts to twenty-five scenes.
Room 7 Lithography
In this gallery are shown the lithography works that Diego Rivera produced from 1930 to 1932. A considerable part of these works representing scenes from his murals, in particular Zapata the peasant leader; The boy with a taco and The dream, the night of the poor. There are also portraits, among theses nudes of Dolores Olmedo and Frida Kahlo and sketches of Emma Dunbar friend of Diego.
Room 8 Drawing
These works show Diego Rivera’s special gift for drawing that he executes with extreme easiness and liberty. As the Portrait of Pita Amor, 1957, conceived as drawings from the very beginning and are named as “conclusions”. Other drawings are simply skeletons of an idea that will be developed later.
Rivera created a floral icon unavoidably associated with his own work that has been appropriated in the work of others artists followers of Rivera. The Alcatraz o calla Lily, of African origin, irreducibly has converted identifying with all the Mexican things. Nevertheless Rivera chose the Alcatraz flower for its erotic associations. His Alcatraz flowers rarely appear along, generally these flowers appear in his portraits of women or these accompany scenes involving women.
Room 9 Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907 in Coyoacán, which then was at the outskirts of Mexico City. At the edge of six she got sick of polio and started her struggle of all her life to survive, an event that apparently gave her a direction to her indomitable spirit. Besides on 1925 she suffered a terrible traffic accident from which she got almost invalid for the rest of her life. Part of her pain and her desperation are expressed in: The Bus, 1929 and Portrait of Alicia Galant, 1927.
Her immense will and endless curiosity convinced her mother to let Frida to study at the National Preparatory School, which on those days was uncommon for women, for this she had to travel daily from the city’s outskirts to the center of downtown of the city of México.
She was a member of the Mexican Communist Party where she possibly had contact with Diego Rivera who was one of the pillars of this Party. By then Rivera was painting the mural The Creation, 1922, in Simón Bolivar Amphitheater of the National Preparatory School. There are two versions on how they met. The first version is that the Italian photographer Tina Modotti, introduced them in a meeting of the Mexican Communist Party. The second version describes a casual meeting at the Ministry of Public Education when Rivera was working on the mural The Political Perception of the Mexican People, 1923-28. Rivera and Kahlo got married in 1929. They had a tempestuous relation that in some form is expressed on Frida’s auto-portrait called Just a few little pricks, 1935.
Do to her semi-invalid condition and her confinement periods Frida’s life had many spaces for introspection and contemplation of her own emotions. Her desperation can be appreciated her work The broken column, 1944. In this oil paint Frida is seen standing, partly nude, her exposed body open from her chin right down to her pelvis.
In almost all Frida’s paintings she is herself the main character. She explained that as she spent so much time along she was the best she knew. Frida died, at the each of 47, in the Blue House, what is now known as the House Museum Frida Kahlo.
Room 10 Cubism
This room is dedicated to Diego’s works done during twenty years he spent in Europe. Initially he studied in Spain in 1907 on a grant. There he painted works as: Self-portrait with chambergo, 1907, In the outskirts of Toledo-The olmen-1912, and Near the fountain of Toledo, 1913.
In 1909 Rivera arrived to France. During his time of studies he discovered the impressionists. Among the works of this period are Alquerías, 1914, Landscape of Normandy, 1918 and Landscape of Midi, 1918. Each one of these paintings shows a visible influence in the landscape and colors of the Post-Impressionism and takes us to the work and to the school of Paul Cézanne.
The incursion of Rivera in the Cubism is illustrated in The sun breaking the mist, 1913. Rivera studied the varied expressions of the cubism. Works from this period of analysis: Young man with stylograph, 1917. In this composition elements are fractured in geometric fragments, then are re-arranged within the assigned space.
In a class apart the painting Knife and fruit in front of the window, 1917 was finished three days after the dead of the child that he had with Angelina Beloff. The scene looks outside, in the grey winter, over the cityscape of Montpartnasse, is the mix of Rivera’s two more important early stylistic faces: Cubism and impressionism.
Room 11 Fernando Gamboa
The Dolores Olmedo’s Popular Art Collection is one of the most important in the world. It is the representative selection, formed mostly when Mexico’s rousts were rural. In the twenties of the twenty-century the popular arts and crafts took grate relevance and were part of the new definition of “national identity”, the best pieces of Mexican popular art and crafts were considered museum pieces.
The gallery that hoses this collection, has the name of the well-known curator Fernando Gamboa, it includes master works in glass, ceramic, maché paper, wood and tin, among other materials. Is to the spectator to decide the artistic merits of theses called pieces of the popular art.
Room 12 Angelina Beloff
Born in San Petersburg, Russia, in 1879 where she remained till 1909 when she graduated at the Fine Arts Academy of this city, to continue with her art in Paris in the Henri Matisse Academy. This same year she met Diego Rivera in Brussels, Belgic. Five years later in Paris Angelina gave bird to a child call Diego that died fourteen months later, in the cold winter of 1917. Several years after the Rivera’s return to Mexico, in 1932 Angelina decided to follow him and after some time they had a casual meeting on a concert in The palace of Fine Arts in which Rivera was unable to recognize her.
Angelina Beloff’s interpretation of Mexico’s countryside is her most moving works as is The watering place and The factory but specially her memorable oleo Tepoztlán.
Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 18:00
How to get there
Metro Line2 to Taxqueña Station, then the Light Train (tram) to La Noria Station, after that walk two blocks south.
For further information
Av. Mexico 5843, la Noria, Xochimilco, México D.F. 16030
Telephones: (52) 55551642, (52) 55551016, (52) 55550891, (52) 55550516