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Dapa cordero best maugard Dapa cordero best maugard Presentation Transcript

  • The BesT Maugard drawing MeThod: a CoMMon ground for Modern MexiCanisT aesTheTiCs Karen Cordero Reiman Karen Cordero Reiman is he Best Maugard method of teaching drawing proposed a distinguished professor “recipe” for the creation of decorative images endowed with a in art history at the Universidad Iberoamericana Mexican national character. Formulated by the artist Adolfo in Mexico City. She has Best Maugard (1891–1964) (fig. 1), this method enjoyed written widely on modern extensive support from the state as one facet of the far-reaching cultural and contemporary Mexican art, including and educational program implemented by President Álvaro Obregón’s “Appropriation, Invention, minister of public education, José Vasconcelos, from 1921 to 1924. The and Irony: Tamayo’s Early Best Maugard method was installed as part of the public school Period, 1920–37,” in curriculum in the Federal District and surrounding area: each year a Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted (2007); and group of about two hundred teachers assigned to the newly created “Prometheus Unraveled: Drawing and Handicrafts Section of the Ministry of Public Education Readings of and from the instructed approximately forty thousand students in primary and Body: Orozco’s Pomona College Mural (1930),” in industrial schools and teachers’ colleges on the basis of this method.1 The José Clemente Orozco in drawings produced by the students were exhibited both in Mexico and the United States, 1927– abroad during these years as an example of the revolutionary nationalist 1934 (2002). In addition, she has curated numerous art education system of Mexico. In late 1923 the Ministry published exhibitions as well as the Método de dibujo: tradición, resurgimiento y evolución del arte mexicano groundbreaking reinstallation (Drawing Method: Tradition, Resurgence, and Evolution of Mexican of modern art at the Museofig. 1 Nacional de Arte. Art), a manual written by Best Maugard and illustrated by his discipleAdolfo Best Maugard, Miguel Covarrubias, explaining the method and its aesthetic basis, in anAutorretrato, oil on edition of fifteen thousand copies (fig. 2).cardboard, 84 1⁄4 x 47 5⁄8 in.(214 x 121 cm), 1923.Museo Nacional de Arte, In spite of the huge importance accorded to the Best Maugard methodConaculta, INBA. during the years of its introduction in Mexico, its tenure as part of the 44 DAPA 26 45
  • official curriculum lasted little more than two years, like the larger cultural project of Vasconcelos, himself. By late 1923, when Best Maugard’s manual was rolling off the press, Vasconcelos’s group of supporters was already disintegrating, the minister was soon to renounce his post, and Best Maugard’s method was about to be transformed in accordance with changes in political and aesthetic priorities. In early 1924, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano replaced Best Maugard as titular head of the Drawing and Handicrafts Section and instituted radical changes in the original method. By January 1925, when Juan Olaguibel replaced Rodríguez Lozano, the Best Maugard method was officially suppressed in favor of a didactic method based more closely on drawing from nature. Notwithstanding its apparently ephemeral character, the Best Maugard method played a key role in the introduction of modernist aesthetics in Mexico and in the formation offig. 2 leading members of a generation of post-Revolutionary painters. ItCover of Adolfo Best introduced a proposal for the definition of mexicanidad (Mexicanness)Maugard, Método de based on principles of formal abstraction and synthesis that constituted andibujo: tradición,resurgimiento y evolución alternative to the rhetorical, didactic, and primarily figurative art that wasdel arte mexicano (Mexico later defined as the “Mexican School.” In addition, it helped popularize aCity: Secretaría de new conception of the material culture of the rural sector and introduced itEducación Pública, 1923). as a formal model (as opposed to a subject) of contemporary painting. Finally, as an educational proposal, Best Maugard’s method transcended Mexican national boundaries. While in virtual exile in the United States during the mid-1920s, Best Maugard introduced a variant of his didacticfig. 3 (opposite top)Illustration of three of the method in the Boston area, where it received a very positive reception, andseven basic elements of in 1926 he published a version of his manual in English, which has been re-Mexican art (spiral, circle, issued on many occasions.2 Related proposals also existed in other nations,half circle), from AdolfoBest Maugard, Método de such as Elena Izcue’s 1927 proposal for Peruvian schools, suggesting thatdibujo, 28–29. Best Maugard’s method was not an isolated phenomenon, but part of a pervasive trend in art education that sought to promote the expression offig. 4 (opposite bottom) national essence through abstract, formal components that wereIllustration of four of theseven basic elements of discursively related to indigenous traditions.3Mexican art (S motif,curved line, zig-zag line, The method proposes a visual vocabulary and grammar as the basis forstraight line), from AdolfoBest Maugard, Método de the creation of a national art, drawing on elements supposedly culled fromdibujo, 30–31. pre-Hispanic art and its remnants, which, Best Maugard argued, 46 DAPA 26 47
  • fig. 7 Examples of how to form objects using the basic determined the characteristics of Mexican popular art in combination elements of Mexican art, with European and Asian elements. The book posits seven primary from Adolfo Best Maugard, elements in the primitive art of all nations—the spiral, the circle, the half Método de dibujo, 80–81. circle, the S motif, the curved line, the zig-zag line, and the straight line— which are transformed and combined in a distinctive manner by each race or nation, in accordance with the particular characteristics of its society and environment (figs. 3, 4).4 These basic forms, following Best Maugard’s theory, originate from symbolic representations of deities. His method, significantly, is concerned only with their aesthetic, formal qualities, not with their symbolic content. fig. 5 (opposite top) In the case of Mexico, Best Maugard identified the distinctive Illustration of combinations of the basic elements of characteristics of the combinations of the seven basic elements in static and Mexican art in grecas, from dynamic series: grecas and petatillos (figs. 5, 6). The lines that compose Adolfo Best Maugard, these forms neither cross nor intertwine in these combinations, Método de dibujo, 48–49. producing—according to the author—the extraordinary sense of harmony fig. 6 (opposite bottom) in indigenous Mexican art. In his introduction to the Método de dibujo, Illustration of combinations Best Maugard argued that, from the Spanish conquest on, the basic of the basic elements of elements and formal characteristics of Mexican indigenous art gradually Mexican art in petatillos, from Adolfo Best Maugard, became integrated with elements of the art of Spain and other nations, Método de dibujo, 38–39. principally China, which sustained important commercial links with48 DAPA 26 49
  • Mexico.5 Viceregal art and popular art were the fruits of this gradual technique, from line drawings, first with pencil and then with watercolor,stylistic fusion.6 For this reason, he identified popular art as the principal pen, and crayon, moving only later to the use of areas of solid color andexisting vehicle for the “genuinely Mexican” spirit and used it as a source the creation of volume through drawing, shading with watercolor,for the national art that his method aimed to promote. He illustrated how modeling with clay, and construction with straws. The stages described bythe seven basic elements posited by his theory are combined in popular art Best Maugard in the published method also suggest a cognitiveto create stylized representations of natural and man-made objects related development from the mastery of basic techniques and motifs ofto everyday life (fig. 7). representation, illustrated by the teacher, to drawing from memory or from nature.9 Rufino Tamayo, who worked as a teacher of primary schoolThe didactic methodology proposed by Best Maugard is not based, however, students using Best Maugard’s method, recalled that the teachers drew theon formulaic combinations of this basic visual vocabulary, as one might elements and motifs on the chalkboard as models for the students.10 Bestexpect from the systematic character of his proposals. He identified art as a Maugard’s manual also recommends that the teachers use “fantastichuman necessity, “pure intuitive emotion,” that emerges in the child, as it stories” to appeal to the students’ imaginations and inspire their creativehas always emerged in human beings, on the basis of a desire to express generation of motifs, while referring them to elements based on national“universal harmony. . . the beauty present in the universe, which they tradition and its contemporary evolution.11conceive as ideal.” 7 The ostensible aim of Best Maugard’s method, then, isa return of the child to an innocent state, equivalent to that of primitive From our contemporary perspective, Best Maugard’s method seems toman. In this condition, and through contact with national tradition embody a fundamental contradiction, as it is founded, on the one hand,synthesized in the visual vocabulary presented by his or her teacher, the on faith in the natural creativity of the child and, on the other, on achild will initiate—in an educational context—the same trajectory of scientistic formulation of pre-established visual components. If we examineartistic evolution that Mexican art has taken over centuries: his aesthetic proposal in the context of the philosophy and politics of All the child’s education and previously acquired knowledge, alien Mexico during the second decade of the twentieth century, however, we to our idiosincrasy and our artistic tradition, will be substituted can comprehend more clearly its genesis and development, and its little by little until he is capable of producing an art which is widespread acceptance at the time. genuinely our own. . . . Our objective is that the individual put into play his whole personality; the help he is given is. . . in the The conceptual roots of both Best Maugard’s method and Vasconcelos’s form of suggestions that help him to generate his own ideas and larger cultural program lie in the final years of the dictatorship of Porfirio ideas sparked by the genuinely indigenous primary elements and Díaz (who ruled from 1876 to 1910), when the philosophical and political their characteristic combinations, as well as the elements resulting hegemony of positivist philosophy was crumbling. Best Maugard from later exotic influences, all of which will create the conditions developed his method between 1910 and 1920, a period marked not only for him to produce his own personal art using the same elements by the political turbulence of the Revolution but also by a lack of a that his remote ancestors had available. Our orientation should consensus on key philosophic questions concerning the nature of culture then serve to direct the individual, through appropriate and civilization and the relationship of these concepts to social policies, suggestions, so that he can find his own path, . . . to make him and his method incorporated elements derived from diverse intellectual capable of feeling, of conceiving, of creating, in order that he have and aesthetic perspectives. confidence in himself and dare to express himself with complete naturalness and sincerity.8 Best Maugard’s life circumstances during the years he was conceiving his method exposed him to a wide range of milieus and influences. Born inThe application of Best Maugard’s method, through a series of exercises Mexico City in 1891, he traveled with his family to the United States andcarried out by the students, followed a recommended order that began then Europe in 1900.12 He was back in Mexico by 1909, and exhibitedwith the reproduction of the seven basic elements and their combinations; several landscape paintings in a 1910 exhibition at the National School ofproceeded to their application in the representation of various natural and Fine Arts.13 The next year he assisted the German anthropologist Franzman-made objects (such as flowers, birds, trees, rocks, mountains, jugs, Boas in documenting Mexican archaeological collections, before leavingcurtains, houses), including several significant cultural symbols, such as again in 1912 on commission from the government to make reproductionschurches, the national seal, and flags; and concluded with the depiction of and facsimiles of Mexican archaeological objects in Europe.14 In Paris hethe human figure. The method also involved an evolution in media and met up with his Mexican colleagues Roberto Montenegro and Diego50 DAPA 26 51
  • Rivera, and he traveled periodically to Spain with Rivera and his wife, Of particular note is the influence on Best Maugard of Angelina Beloff. He returned to Mexico in 1915 and became part of a Boas, a professor at Columbia University in New York circle of artists, writers, and musicians, including the poet José Juan who was invited to the National University of Mexico Tablada and the musician Ignacio Fernández Esperón (known as Tata in 1910. Boas’s research focused on refuting the concept Nacho), who were concerned with the creation of a new national art on the of racial determinism; he argued that the belief in the basis of popular or folkloric culture.15 He began to put these ideas into innate inferiority of certain races was the product of practice in 1917 and 1918 working at public technical and craft schools. ethnocentrism and social prejudice. The definition of After a stay in New York in 1919 and 1920, he returned to Mexico and certain characteristics as inferior, Boas observed, was joined the group around Vasconcelos. And in 1921 he traveled to simply the result of environmental and educational Tehuantepec, Oaxaca with Vasconcelos and a group of artists and differences. He thus criticized the cultural hierarchies intellectuals on a pilgrimage that is often associated by scholars with the common in positivist thinking and introduced a official “rediscovery” of Mexico’s regional cultural heritage and the relativist proposition: that cultural products must be consolidation of the policy that would characterize Vasconcelos’s tenure understood as part of a total social context, rather than as minister of education. from ethnocentric or elitist perspectives. These two ideas would influence the cultural politics of Mexico Best Maugard’s attempt to uncover universal laws of artistic development decisively, particularly through their impact on the that could be applied to the teaching of drawing clearly reflects the anthropologist Manuel Gamio, one of the principal influence of positivism, the dominant philosophical outlook in Mexico Mexican disciples of Boas, and head of the during the Porfirian regime. Using the natural sciences as a model, Anthropology Department under Presidents Venustiano positivism seeks to uncover scientific laws applicable to all social Carranza (1917–20) and Obregón (1920–24). phenomena and conceives the development of human society as an ascending progression from the savage or primitive state to that of In 1911, Gamio introduced Boas to the young Best civilization. The profound impact of positivist evolutionism in Best Maugard, who would serve as assistant to the German Maugard’s thought is evident in his assertion of the fundamental similarity anthropologist in cataloguing the collection of the of all primitive societies, the common origin of art, and the equivalence newly-established International School of American between the developmental process of the child and the evolutionary Anthropology and Ethnography. According to Best process of civilization. Maugard, he conceived his theory of the seven basic elements of ancient Mexican art through this Best Maugard’s method, however, also exhibited other influences, experience, which entailed drawing more than twofig. 8 (top) including critiques of positivist ideas that were launched from several thousand ceramic objects selected by Boas. TheAdolfo Best Maugard,illustration from Álbum de quarters just before and during the decade of Revolution. Among these following year, when he traveled to Europe for thecolecciones arqueológicas influences was the Ateneo de la Juventud (Atheneum of Youth), a civil Ministry of Public Instruction and Fine Arts, he had(Seleccionadas y association formed in 1909 whose members included Vasconcelos, Antonio ample opportunity to compare the seven motifs he hadarregladas por Franz Boas)(Mexico City: Escuela Caso, Alfonso Reyes, and Pedro Henriquez Ureña (author of a postscript derived from pre-conquest ceramics with ancient art ofInternacional de to the 1923 edition of Best Maugard’s manual). The Ateneo criticized the other cultures, and he expanded his theory to includeArqueología y Etnología positivist emphasis on science and assigned renewed significance to all primitive art.16Americanas, 1911–12),plate 27. metaphysics and the study of classical writings. Its members promoted the democratization of knowledge through public lecture programs and the The drawings that Best Maugard produced for Boas’sfig. 9 (bottom) foundation of the Universidad Popular, with the aim of expanding access volume demonstrate his early interest in the detailedPot from Tonalá, State to “civilizing culture.” Best Maugard’s method also advocated the study of linear decoration, and confirm, in the objectsof Jalisco, polished andpolychromed ceramic, Iberoamericanism of the Uruguayan José Enrique Rodó, which challenged rendered, the existence of the elements that he later13 1⁄4 x 12 5⁄8 in. (33.5 x 32 cm), the hegemony of Anglo-Saxon culture and promoted Latin traditions as identified as the primary components of primitive artca. 1920. Museo Nacional the basis for cultural development throughout Latin America. That Best (fig. 8). Nevertheless, his proposal in the Método dede Arte, Conaculta, INBA.Colección de Arte Popular Maugard and Vasconcelos shared these views surely facilitated the dibujo seems to obey a positivist concern with“Roberto Montenegro.” minister’s acceptance of the method. identifying universal patterns in all social phenomena, 52 DAPA 26 53
  • European folklorists, with whom he would have been familiar from his education on the continent between 1900 and 1908.17 Like European romantic nationalists, he invoked “the people” and “the race” in an abstract and rhetorical manner, celebrating the values of purity, ingenuity, and sincerity, both in primitive and popular art and in the cultures that produced them. The paintings produced by Best Maugard between 1909 and 1910, images of the volcanoes Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl in heightened coloristic schemes and broad gestural brushstrokes, and nostalgic scenes of colonial architecture, suggest romantic and symbolist influence in the recreation of environments emblematic of local identity and history (fig. 10). His appreciation of popular art and his association of such art with the values of children’s drawings were reinforced by his stay in Europe from 1912 to 1915, precisely the years when the artistic avant-garde there was discovering the aesthetic qualities and immediacy of expression in primitive, folk, and children’s art. During this time, Best Maugard likely came to know the group of Russian neo-primitivists residing in Paris with whom his friend Rivera had a close relationship.18 A few years earlier, these Russian painters had begun to draw formal and iconographic inspiration for their work from Russian folk art and icons, and the Salon d’Automne of 1913 included an exhibition entitled “Russian Popular Art in Images, Toys, and Breads” that was an enormous success among the avant-garde.19 Best Maugard’s insistence in the introduction to his manual that “one must be expressionist, not impressionist” and the value he accorded to the “pure intuitive emotion” manifest in primitive art suggest also the influence of German expressionism.20 His call for the synthetic reduction of form in order to reveal emotional essence and his recognition of the ability of children to respond emotively and graphically to objects and phenomena correspond closely to the ideas expressed by Vassily Kandinsky in his text “On the Problem of Form,” published in Munich in 1912.21fig. 10Adolfo Best Maugard,San Ángel. Iglesia de San rather than reflecting the results of the kind of rigorous scientific study What allowed Best Maugard to combine elements of so many differentJacinto, oil on canvas mounted that, for Boas, led to the questioning of positivist suppositions. Similarly, and even contradictory philosophical visions was the need to produce aon cardboard, 173⁄8 x 20 5⁄8 in. national art, not only within the academy, as nineteenth-century criticism the close association established by Best Maugard between contemporary(44.2 x 52.5 cm), 1911.Colección Francisco popular art and pre-Hispanic art, as well as his identification of certain had demanded, but also on a grassroots level, as part of a federalizedGarcía Palomino. stylized decorations as universal elements of Mexican folk art, do not seem educational program. In the second half of the Revolutionary decade, to be the result of a careful study of the entire Republic; rather, he seems to many Mexican intellectuals—provoked by debates about culture and by have limited his sources to the ceramics and lacquer-work of Michoacán, the political crisis of the time—sensed the urgency of formulating a new Jalisco, and Guerrero (fig. 9). Finally, his decontextualization of art from cultural politics, one that would contribute to the legitimation of the its function and significance in its specific cultural milieu confirms his federal government. In 1916, Gamio outlined in his book Forjando Patria deviation from Boas’s methodology. (Pro-Nacionalismo) (Forging the Fatherland: Pro-Nationalism) a modified definition of national culture based primarily on Boas’s relativist ideas. There were further influences, as well. Best Maugard’s view of popular art as a “synthetic expression of the soul of a people” and “the traditional Gamio considered that the unification of the population required “the fusion expression of the race” has its roots in the work of nineteenth-century of races, the convergence and fusion of cultural manifestations, linguistic 54 DAPA 26 55
  • unification, and economic equilibrium of social forces.” 22 In order to achieve “recipe” for a new national art. Bestthe ideal of a “powerful Fatherland and a coherent and clearly defined Maugard’s conception of colonial artnationhood,” he posited a process of cultural and racial mestizaje and folk art as products of cultural(miscegenation) of the European and indigenous parts of Mexico’s mestizaje, as well as his consequentpopulation, orchestrated at a federal level: “In order to incorporate the Indian identification of them with the ideal ofwe do not propose to ‘Europeanize’ him all at once; rather, let us ‘Indianize’ a “national art,” is a direct reflection ofourselves a little in order to present him our civilization diluted with his, so Gamio’s theory. In addition, Bestthat he will not find it to be exotic, cruel, bitter, and incomprehensible.” 23 Maugard’s method seems to fulfill Gamio’s mandate to systematize artisticGamio underlined the need for intellectuals to know and understand production according to his model ofindigenous cultures, so that aspects of these cultures might be combined cultural mestizaje.with those of other ethnic groups in order to create a truly national—mestizo—culture. He asserted that the Anthropology Department would With these conceptions in mind, Bestconduct studies of the distinct ethnic groups of Mexico and determine “the Maugard began to work on theappropriate means to facilitate their normal evolutionary development.” 24 production of an art with “national” characteristics, both as part of anArt was one of the aspects of indigenous culture most valued by Gamio. educational project and in his ownHe identified two existing prototypes of national art in the post-conquest painting. As might be expected, theperiod: the “indigenous artistic industries” in which European aesthetics practical application of his theoreticalhad influenced those of pre-Hispanic origin; and those cases of sixteenth- concepts took diverse forms as theircentury architecture where pre-conquest elements were integrated into an execution progressed, and also heldessentially European conception. In order to continue to foment the different social implications as thecreation of a national art, Gamio argued, it would be necessary to political context for his experiment“systematize the artistic production of the Indian and middle-class evolved.individuals,” who would have to become familiar with each other’s art andits antecedents, so that they would eventually come to share the same In 1918, after an incipient effort in theartistic criteria. Only then, Gamio declared, “we will be culturally previous year, Best Maugard receivedredeemed, and will have a national art, which is one of the key elements of his first formal opportunity to apply hisnationalism.” Nevertheless, he added, this process of aesthetic fusion must method for teaching drawing in thebe initiated by the middle class, “because at the present time it has much School of Industrial Arts “Lagreater possibilities to educate itself than the Indian [class].” 25 Corregidora de Querétaro.” 26 In a 1922 fig. 11 interview he recounted that his students achieved “excellent results:” “OnGamio took up Boas’s ideas that environment and education are more Anonymous student of newsprint, with ordinary charcoal, they drew admirable grecas, and sinceimportant than heritage in the determination of the social and cultural the School of Industrial they had within them the national sentiment implanted by these elements, Arts “Corregidora decharacteristics of ethnic groups and that each culture must be studied as an Querétaro,” untitled, produced forthwith ingenous but very worthy works of art.” 27integral whole. Nevertheless, when he put these ideas at the service of tempera on paper, 193⁄4 xpolitical nationalism and a program of acculturation oriented toward racial 123⁄4 in. (50 x 32.5 cm), In spite of Best Maugard’s retrospective judgment, the radical divergenceand cultural homogenization, Gamio deformed Boas’s relativist conception, 1918. Private collection. in style in the surviving work by his students from this period suggestswhich is based on a respect for cultural difference, by subjecting it once that his method had not yet taken on a systematic form in 1918. Oneagain to an ethnocentric vision of indigenous culture. group of works consists of line drawings on newsprint, in which the page is filled to its limit with plants, animals, insects, lacquer-work chests, andGamio’s ideas seem to have had a strong impact on Best Maugard upon his vases that do not overlap and are decorated with motifs composed of Bestreturn from Europe in 1915, allowing him to connect his theory regarding Maugard’s seven basic elements. Another group, however, is executed withprimitive art, his aesthetic appreciation of folk art, and the association of meticulous naiveté, but without an apparent relationship to hisfolk art with national spirit, and to incorporate all these elements in his standardized visual vocabulary (fig. 11).56 DAPA 26 57
  • fig. 12 fig. 13 (left)Adolfo Best Maugard in Adolfo Best Maugard,the Knoedler Gallery in In this same year, when the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova arrived in Tehuana, gouache on Pavlowa uses the point step that has never been seen in ourNew York during his Mexico on a world tour, Best Maugard took advantage of his conviction— cardboard, 191⁄2 x 135⁄8 in. popular dances; but she uses it without losing the local characterexhibition “Paintings developed during his time in Paris—that Russian and Mexican folk art (49.5 x 34.7 cm), 1919. of our dance.29Mexican in Character” in Colección Francisco García1919, with the paintings bore strong similarities. He suggested that Pavlova include a ballet Palomino.(from left to right) China “Mexican in character” in her repertory. With the financial support of This same refinement, which made the subjects and motifs of folk artPoblana, Portrait of My Jaime Martínez del Río, music by Manuel Castro Padilla based on fig. 14 (right) acceptable to the taste of high society, is evident in the paintings BestSister, Blue Dancer, and Adolfo Best Maugard,Tehuana. From Otilio folkloric themes, and scenery and costumes by Best Maugard, Fantasía Blue Dancer, tempera on Maugard produced during these years, primarily in New York, where heVillaseñor, “Lo que dice Mexicana premiered in March 1919 with such success that Pavlova cardboard, 193⁄8 x 143⁄8 in. lived between 1919 and 1920. They were exhibited in two individual showsBest Maugard en Estados extended her programmed stay in Mexico for another month. She (49.3 x 37.5 cm), 1919. during that time, at the Knoedler Gallery in New York in December 1919Unidos,” El Universal Museo de Arte ModernoIlustrado, April 1925, 82. continued to perform the ballet, with equal acclaim, during her tour del Estado de México, and at the Arts Club of Chicago in January 1920 (fig.12). These paintingsHemeroteca Nacional, through Latin America, the United States, and Europe. Instituto Mexiquense de combine the three elements that Best Maugard later identified in hisMexico City. Photograph Cultura, Toluca. manual as having contributed to a national art of Mexico: industrial orcourtesy of Curare, A. C. The subject of the ballet, a simple love story between a charro and a china “popular” arts, European art, and Asian art. He combined these elements (stereotypical symbols of Mexican national culture and gender roles), in a very deliberate manner, dominated by the linear refinement of art unfolded against a backdrop decorated with amplified motifs from Uruapan nouveau, and more reminiscent of turn-of-the-century eclecticism than of lacquer-work: an enormous bouquet of flowers, with its curves reiterated on an integral aesthetic proposal (fig. 13). In The Blue Dancer, for example, either side by a stylized bird.28 The Mexican press applauded the the format of the arch, the simple, flat composition, and the Tehuana dress extraordinary refinement of the combination of Pavlova’s ballet and Best of the dancer are derived from Mexican popular culture (fig. 14).30 The Maugard’s popular art, commenting approvingly on the “ennoblement” and calligraphic treatment of the woman’s body and the fireworks, “redemption” of the popular, and the absence of vulgarity: superimposed on a black background, evokes the aesthetic qualities of Undoubtedly, Ana Pavlowa and her collaborators in this Japanese art (surely reflecting the influence of Best Maugard’s close friend interesting dance piece. . . have contributed definitively to the José Juan Tablada, the Mexican poet and japoniste who lived in New ennoblement of typical dance through the appropriate and York). The dominant elements in the composition, however—the sinuous graceful stylization of the choreography. . . . The principal lines found in the woman’s body and the pyrotechnic display—clearly movements, I repeat, have been stylized, redeemed. Madame display art nouveau’s decorative elegance. As in Fantasía Mexicana, the 58 DAPA 26 59
  • European aesthetic treats the Mexican elements as picturesque exoticmotifs. Best Maugard’s application of his style of these years with equalfacility to cosmopolitan subjects, as in the case of another painting,The Broadway Girl, confirms its essentially international character. Theconception of “Mexican character” that he presented to the U.S. public inthese works is a folkloric eclecticism designed for consumption by aninternational elite.It is not surprising that a member of the Mexican aristocracy would beinterested in presenting a picturesque, decorative, non-threatening visionof his country’s “popular essence” at a time of heightened political tensionbetween the United States and Mexico thanks to the anti-foreign rhetoricpropounded by the post-Revolutionary government. A New York Timesreview of Best Maugard’s exhibition at Knoedler captures this deliberatelydepoliticized mexicanidad: The present moment is perhaps not the most appropriate for introducing paintings “Mexican in character” to the New York public, but Adolfo Best Maugard has taken his Mexican inspiration from the innocent popular art which never has anything to do with politics and international relations. He likes the language it offers and uses it in a sincere manner for his own purposes.31With hindsight it is clear that “innocent popular art” had, indeed, a greatdeal to do with politics and international relations: both internal and fig. 15external politics have consistently determined the uses for and ways of Views of the Nochepresenting popular art in post-Revolutionary Mexico. With the Mexicana organized by institutionalization of Vasconcelos’s program, as Francisco Reyes Palmaassumption of the presidency by Obregón in late 1920, a new federal Adolfo Best Maugard on has observed, “the school became the symbol of the peaceable revolution September 16, 1921. Frompolicy with a populist and nationalist bent was established; within it that was to contribute to the erasure of the memory of the years of armed Jerónimo Coignard, “Elpopular art played a key symbolic role. Valor Efectivo del Ballet struggle and cement the stability of the country.” 32 Best Maugard’s Mexicano,” El Universal method was a perfect vehicle for this aim, coinciding with the projectedObregón’s politics responded to the needs of a nation fragmented by both Ilustrado, October 1921, 32. creation and propagation of new symbols and traditions that could be Hemeroteca Nacional,war and the systematic repression of peasant and labor movements during Mexico City. Photograph identified both with the popular classes and the post-Revolutionary state.the presidency of Carranza. Obregón initiated a program of social and courtesy of Curare, A. C.cultural reform aimed at the reconciliation and integration of the principal The events commemorating the Centennial of the Consummation offactions and social groups that had participated in the armed struggle. Independence in September 1921—the first large public display of theOne of the top concerns of the regime was to mark the end of the violent aesthetic and political stance proposed by the Obregón regime—includedstage of the Mexican Revolution and initiate an era of national not only an extensive exhibition, “Las artes populares en México,” andreconstruction and stabilization. the inauguration of murals based on motifs from popular art in the former church of San Pedro and San Pablo, but also a “Noche Mexicana”Education played a key role in this plan, as is reflected in the support for organized by Best Maugard in Chapultepec Park. The “Noche Mexicana”Vasconcelos’s project with twenty percent of the national budget. featured a stage set based on popular art, music from folkloric themes,Vasconcelos, in his attempt to democratize education, instituted federal fireworks, and the presentation of a Ballet Mexicano derived from regionalcontrol of this area and set forth an extensive program including a wide- dances (fig. 15). The form and content of the “Noche Mexicana” wereranging literacy campaign, public libraries, and publications, together similar to that of other events that Best Maugard had organized both inwith open air festivals and the promotion of public art. With the Mexico and in the United States, but here the fact that popular art was60 DAPA 26 61
  • embraced by the state and promoted on a grand scale transformed it into a hallowed symbol of the nation. It is not surprising, then, that in these years Best Maugard’s personal work drew more directly on the formal models of Mexican popular art, as is evident in a portrait of a woman and his self-portrait of 1923 (fig. 1). As the legitimation of the aesthetic value of popular art by the state took hold in middle- and upper-class consciousness, it was no longer necessary for Best Maugard to combine it with other elements in order to make it socially acceptable. It is worth emphasizing, however, that this legitimation of popular art as a national symbol in the post-Revolutionary period never corresponded to an interest in a revitalization of the traditional rural lifestyle that was the context for peasant artisanry. On the contrary, as Best Maugard himself indicated in a lecture in San Francisco in 1922, it was part of a program of acculturation along the lines set out by Gamio.33 The aesthetic aspects of artisanal production would be identified, promoted, and converted into national symbols, while the production process of these artifacts would be “perfected” on the basis of modern technical expertise. The Drawing and Handicrafts Section, formed for the specific purpose of teaching the Best Maugard method, was a vehicle for propagating the aesthetic and symbolic characteristics of popular art among the population in general, as well as a means of generating new visual models. Vasconcelos, perhaps inspired—as in much of his work—by the model of sixteenth-century mendicant friars and the policies of his Soviet counterpart, Anatoly Lunacharsky, believed that the creation of a national art that would transform the aesthetic conceptions of middle- and upper- class Mexicans would have to go beyond the production of monumental works to permeate the design of everyday objects, the decoration of public and private spaces, and visual education on the basic and secondary levels.fig. 16 (top) The work produced between 1921 and 1923 by the students of theDolores Serrano, untitled Movimiento Pro-Arte Mexicano (Movement for Mexican Art), as Best(work as student of the Maugard’s method was known, display a highly decorative aesthetic, basedBest Maugard method), inkon cardboard, 22 1⁄2 x 28 in. on motifs and subject matter drawn from popular art (figs. 16–18). These(57 x 71 cm), 1922. Private works lack references to the quotidian aspects of the life of the “people” or tocollection. their presence as a political force in the still-too-recent armed struggle. The most frequently represented subjects include baskets of flowers, fountains,fig. 17 (bottom)J. M. Anaya, untitled plants, animals, and religious imagery. The majority of works use linear(work as student of the drawing, and in many a decorative border delimits the pictorial space,Best Maugard method), making an analogy to the physical format of traditionally decorated craftwatercolor on paper, 14 1⁄2 x18 1⁄2 in. (36.8 x 47 cm), objects, such as chests or plates. This same aesthetic conception is reflected in1922. Private collection. the early mural decorations by Roberto Montenegro and Gabriel Fernández 62 DAPA 26 63
  • Ledesma in the former church of San Pedro and San Pablo; and a similar decorative and symbolic reference to indigenous and popular culture is suggested in the program announced by Vasconcelos for the new edifice destined to house the Ministry of Public Education, with paintings by Rivera, stained glass by Roberto Montenegro, and drawings by Best Maugard.34 Nevertheless, in the more than eight hundred drawings by students and teachers that were preserved in Best Maugard’s personal archive, there are many stylistic and expressive variations, which probably correspond to the personal interpretations of the method by different teachers (figs. 19–21). (The greater part of the period during which the method was practiced preceded its literary codification; Best Maugard’s book was published shortly before he left the Drawing and Handicrafts Section.) Daniel Cosío Villegas, in a 1923 article, observed that some of Best Maugard’s collaborators followed his procedure more exactly, while others took advantage of the opportunity to expound their own viewpoints (he mentions Rodríguez Lozano and Abraham Ángel in the latter category).35 One can imagine that the teachers, as well as some students, applied their own experiences with art and art education to the Best Maugard method and produced something new out of the contact between its prescriptions and their own aesthetic preconceptions and visions of national art. The changes introduced in art education, both in style and subject matter, when Rodríguez Lozano assumed the post of head of the Drawing and Handicrafts Section constitute such a significant transformation in relation to Best Maugard’s original proposal that they should not be considered mere “modifications” of the method, although texts about the period treat them as such. One has only to compare the work produced by Ángel (1905–1924) under the tutelage of the two different directors in order to appreciate the radical difference between Best Maugard’s and Rodríguez Lozano’s ideas (figs. 22, 23). Both directors took the visual characteristics of popular art as their starting point for the creation of a “truly Mexican art.” But, while Best derived a standardized vocabulary and a set of compositional rules from popular art, Rodríguez Lozano modeled his proposal on what he perceived as the emotional essence of popular painting: he based his aesthetic vision on popular narrative ex- votos (votive paintings on tin created to thank a particular saint for saving the donor or his family from a calamity), rather than on the decorative lacquer-work and ceramics that had inspired Best Maugard.36 Instead of fig. 18 reproducing the surface motifs and formal characteristics of his model, he A. Albarrán, untitled sought to emulate the attitude of the popular painter toward the subject (work as student of the and the act of painting. The subject matter explored by Rodríguez Lozano Best Maugard method), and his students was drawn from daily life. The results are narrative scenes tempera on cardboard, 26 x 19 in. (66 x 48.3), filtered through an aesthetic attitude, rather than decorative compositions ca. 1922. Private collection. based on a pre-established definition of a national aesthetic.64 DAPA 26 65
  • fig. 19 (above)Bertha del Río, untitled(work as student of the This change in stylistic emphasis in the Drawing and Handicrafts SectionBest Maugard method), under Rodríguez Lozano not only corresponded to his personal convictionwatercolor on paper, 19 1⁄8 x regarding the relationship between popular visual culture and national art,26 1⁄8 in. (48.5 x 66.5 cm),ca. 1922. Colección Cristina but also reflected general changes in the political ambience and the aestheticTovar de Osio. proposals supported by the state toward the end of the Obregón regime. The alliance between Vasconcelos and Obregón weakened during 1923, as afig. 20 (opposite)Guillermo Toussaint, result of differences regarding the subject of presidential succession anduntitled (work as student of Vasconcelos’s conflicts with various individuals and groups, including artiststhe Best Maugard method), who demanded a more politically pragmatic aesthetic policy. Vasconcelos’sink, watercolor, and pencilon paper, 13 x 10 in. team began to disintegrate by the summer of 1923, and the minister(33 x 25.4 cm), ca. 1922. resigned in early 1924. In July 1923, Best Maugard traveled to California toPrivate collection. participate in a congress on drawing methods; no documentation of his return is available until 1925, suggesting that—like Vasconcelos—he organized a prolonged absence at a time of political transition. Although Rodríguez Lozano is not directly associated with any of the political factions of the time, his modifications in the realm of art education correspond to a general tendency toward a less idealist aesthetic stance, and toward subject matter related to social realities. The work of the Drawing and Handicrafts Section under Rodríguez Lozano, both in subject matter and style, came closer to that of the Open Air Art Schools, 66 DAPA 26 67
  • fig. 21 (above)Jorge Juan Crespo de laSerna, untitled (work as which, from 1925 on, were the recipients of strong support from thestudent of the Best Ministry of Public Education (for examples, see figs. 24, 27, and 31).Maugard method), tempera The two movements shared at this time a more narrative—though notand pastel on paper, 14 x19 3⁄4 in. (35.5 x 48.5 cm), necessarily naturalistic—focus, and an expressive freedom in the use ofca. 1922. Private collection. color, composition, and brushstroke, unfettered by academic convention. The report on art education in the Ministry of Education Bulletin of July 1925, presented by Juan Olaguibel (the head of the Drawing andfig. 22 (opposite top) Handicrafts Section who replaced Rodríguez Lozano), refers to theAbraham Ángel, Mariposa,watercolor, ink, and gold leaf transformation of the didactic program under his predecessor as havingon paper, 25 3⁄4 x 23 3⁄4 in. gone beyond Best Maugard’s proposals, and announces the complete(64 x 60 cm), 1922. Museo de suppression of the Best Maugard method, in favor of a system based onArte Moderno del Estado deMéxico, Instituto Mexiquense drawing from nature.37de Cultura, Toluca. Nevertheless, the style promoted by Best Maugard persisted, up to a point,fig. 23 (opposite bottom) in the artistic production of the following years, particularly in theatricalAbraham Ángel, Me mato poruna mujer traidora, tempera scenery and book illustration. Its most important impact, however, is theon paper, 113⁄4 x 173⁄4 in. (30 x diverse visual initiatives it spawned through the group of artists who45 cm), 1924. Museo de Arte worked as teachers of this method between 1921 and 1924. Many of theseModerno del Estado deMéxico, Instituto Mexiquense artists became key figures in the development and/or critical valorizationde Cultura, Toluca. of aesthetic proposals based on principles of formal abstraction and 68 DAPA 26 69
  • synthesis, which took on diverse forms in their work from the 1920s onward. They include Rodríguez Lozano, Ángel, and Covarrubias, along with Rufino Tamayo, Agustín Lazo, Julio Castellanos, and Jorge Juan Crespo de la Serna, among others. Their production suggests the compelling force of the new aesthetic strategies that the Best Maugard method introduced and the presence of a dialogue—more complex and fruitful than has usually been recognized— between the teacher’s apparently formulaic proposals and his disciples’ fig. 25 (above) interpretation of his postulates. Best Maugard’s method facilitated the Rufino Tamayo, untitled, transition of a number of the young artists who worked as its teachers from gouache on paper, 7 1⁄8 x a style linked to post-impressionism to plainly avant-garde production 11 3⁄8 in. (18 x 29 cm), 1921. Private collection. © D. R. based on principles of formal and coloristic abstraction and synthesis. Rufino Tamayo/Herederos/ México/2009. Fundación The common experience as teachers of the Best Maugard method seems to Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A. C. have opened a variety of artistic paths for Tamayo, Lazo, Covarrubias, and fig. 24 (opposite) Ángel, but each explored new possibilities in the conception of pictorial Rufino Tamayo, untitled, construction as an autonomous “poetic” composition, rather than one tempera on cardboard, based on mimetic representation. At the same time, their experience with 13 x 10 3⁄8 in. (33 x 25.5 cm), 1924. Museo de Arte the method seems to have provoked a more abstract use of line and color, Moderno del Estado de reinforcing the place of drawing in the production and communication of México, Instituto Mexiquense a conceptual universe, which tends to reflect an intimate perception of de Cultura, Toluca. © D. R. Rufino Tamayo/Herederos/ objects, scenes, and individuals. México/2009. Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo, A. C. In the case of Tamayo (1899–1991), the construction of a conceptual composition on the basis of formal evocations and the symbolic use of separate, saturated areas of color constituted a clear departure from his earlier representations of local landscape and vernacular architecture in a post-impressionist style. The contact with Best Maugard’s method seems to have suggested to him completely different principles of composition, and the possibility of combining form and color to create an autonomous poetic composition without abandoning the use of figurative elements (figs. 24, 25). In his metaphysical compositions from the late 1920s and early 1930s, the palette is more subdued, the iconography is more tied to70 DAPA 26 71
  • In the work of Covarrubias (1904–1957), the focus on linear synthesis and the representation of the most characteristic views of each subject— recommended by Best Maugard—acquire a virtuoso quality (fig. 28). In early examples of his caricature, the presence of the seven basic elements is still evident (fig. 29), while in later works an ample range of international references comes into play in response to the broader, more cosmopolitan audience for which he worked. Finally, while the early work produced by Lazo (1896–1971) under the tutelage of Best Maugard (fig. 30) does not suggest a particularly creative interaction with the method’s proposals, the freer, more conceptual use of space and color in his production of 1924 and after reveals a fundamental impact of the liberation from naturalistic representation (fig. 31). The poetic and metaphysical potential that this liberation unleashes is particularly potent in its ability to “unbalance” traditional perspectival expectations (fig. 32). fig. 27 Abraham Ángel, La mulita, For these artists, the apparently formulaic character of Best Maugard’s oil on cardboard, 29 1⁄2 x 597⁄8 in. (75 x 152 cm), method facilitated a rupture with preexisting habits of perception and 1923. Museo de Arte creation, and helped cultivate and unleash new, non-naturalistic aesthetic Moderno, Conaculta, INBA. programs. By breaking with the academic tradition of art education and Photograph by Francisco Kochen.fig. 26Rufino Tamayo, Losfumadores, oil on canvas, middle-class urban interiors, and the apparent mass of the objects acquires191⁄2 x 255⁄8 in. (49.5 x 65 cm), a new importance (fig. 26). But the shallow compositions, the clear1931. Museo Nacional de predominance of conceptual over ocular concerns, and the liberty withArte, Conaculta, INBA.© D. R. Rufino Tamayo/ which he combined objects in a symbolic and poetic mode to evoke a stateHerederos/ México/2009. of mind all show the influence of the Best Maugard method.Fundación Olga y RufinoTamayo, A. C. Ángel’s passionate involvement in a world of pagan fantasy and psychological space—in which he gave free reign to the vivid, saturated palette of colors employed in Best Maugard’s lacquer-work models—seems to have provided him with the basis for the creation of a type of “Mexican fauvism,” which was truncated by his untimely death in 1924 (fig. 27). The stylization of trees, hills, and clouds—consonant with the principles that Best Maugard propounded—is extended to the faces and hands of the inhabitants of provincial Mexico in his work of this period, continuing the use of visual stereotypes while creating his own personal visual repertory, which unifies the portraits painted in his final year. Here the non-academic spatial construction and the free use of color become protagonists in the definition of a personal style, which reiterates the formulaic principle of Best Maugard’s method, while parting from its homogenizing impulse. 72 DAPA 26 73
  • fig. 30 (above) Agustín Lazo Adalid, untitled, gouache on paper, emphasizing expression as its ultimate objective, his method opened spaces 87⁄8 x 21 in. (22.5 x 53.5 cm), for creative and imaginative reinvention. In the final section of the lesson 1921. Colección Francisco regarding the human figure in the 1923 manual, for example, after García Palomino. carefully describing the steps involved in the “correct” rendition of the body, Best Maugard noted: The position of the figure responds to no norm other than that of the harmony of the full composition, whether or not it is floating in the air. . . . The figure should be initially conceived in perfect quietude, and then you can begin to introduce movement in all of its parts and in the composition as a whole, so that the complete figure achieves the expression that you desire.38 We can well imagine that the oral component of the method countered the detailed specificity of its instructions with an appeal to passion and personal commitment to the artistic process, and therefore encouraged subjective interpretations and transformations of the method by its practitioners. The consequences of the Best Maugard method, then, arose from the dynamic interaction between Best Maugard’s instructions and the aesthetic fig. 28 (opposite top) Miguel Covarrubias, trajectories of the young artists who taught it. As is the case with untitled, gouache on paper, Vasconcelos’s larger educational project, it had far-reaching implications for 4 x 10 in. (10 x 24 cm), Mexico’s art and visual culture that outlasted its immediate impact. 1920. Colección Francisco García Palomino. Best Maugard himself continued to be a colorful figure in Mexico’s artistic fig. 29 (opposite bottom) and intellectual milieu upon his return to Mexico in the mid-1920s, but he Miguel Covarrubias, distanced himself for some time from the field of painting, making only caricature of Adolfo Best Maugard, from Azulejos 1, sporadic contributions to graphic and theatre design, and to educational no. 5 (January 1922), 6. projects in mental institutions and hospitals. In the 1930s he turned to74 DAPA 26 75
  • fig. 31Agustín Lazo Adalid,Lazando yeguas, watercoloron paper, 113⁄4 x 167⁄8 in.(30 x 43 cm), 1924. Museode Arte Moderno del Estadode México, InstitutoMexiquense de Cultura,Toluca. filmmaking, assisting Sergei Eisenstein on ¡Qué Viva México! (1931), and directing two of his own films as well.39 In the ensuing years he continued to develop his theories regarding the seven basic elements of all decorative arts—now conceived as diverse projections of a helix. His later work took a more philosophical direction, incorporating elements of physics, biology, mathematics, and psychology treatises that argue for the possibility of representation of a universal order, in which energy becomes existence.40 Only in 1950 did he return to painting, producing a series of portrait faces that are very different from his work of the 1920s. Best Maugard’s esoteric theories seem to have had a limited circulation and reception, and his drawing method—which for him was only the beginning of a more complex interdisciplinary trajectory—fell into disuse and even ridicule during his lifetime. Curiously, the method has had a comeback in recent years, despite the radical changes in Mexico’s social and cultural context. Currently it is used as a component of art education activities in museums and schools (for example, in the National Museum of Art in Mexico City, where Best Maugard’s 1923 self-portrait hangs), and—in computerized form—as the basis for training in graphic andfig. 32 (opposite) industrial design in communities such as Santa Clara de Cobre,Agustín Lazo Adalid,Niños con jaula, oil on Michoacán, where the Adolfo Best Maugard Center for Creative,canvas, 49 1⁄8 x 39 1⁄8 in. Technical, and Industrial Training is located.41 Best Maugard’s method(124.5 x 99.5 cm), ca. 1943. continues to be conceived as a relevant configuration of MexicanistMuseo Nacional de Arte,Conaculta, INBA. aesthetics, despite the historically bounded context in which his vision was generated and signified, reflecting the persistence of early-twentieth- century visions of popular art in constructions of nationalism and in contemporary Mexican politics, if not in today’s artistic production. 76 DAPA 26 77
  • noTes manual for the teaching of drawing in 1921, which, while lacking the nationalistic fervor of Best Maugard’s method, may well have been an inspiration for his 1923 manual. Alicia Gariel Vda. de1. “Informe que rinde la Dirección de Dibujo y Trabajos Manuales sobre las labores llevadas a cabo Carrillo, Arte Decorativo: enseñanza del dibujo y la pintura decorativos (Mexico City: durante el año de 1922,” Boletín de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, January 1923, 379. Departamento Universitario y de Bellas Artes/Talleres Gráficos de la Nación, 1921).2. Adolfo Best Maugard, A Method for Creative Design (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926). 27. Juan del Sena (pseudonym of José D. Frías), “Best Maugard y su sistema de enseñanza artística,”3. See Natalia Majluf, “El indigenismo en México y Perú: hacia una visión comparativa,” in in El Universal Ilustrado, July 6, 1922. Arte, historia e identidad en América: visiones comparativas. XVII Coloquio Internacional de 28. The charro and the china refer to figures of diverse historical and cultural lineage that were taken Historia del Arte, Vol. II, eds. Gustavo Curiel, Renato González Mello, and Juana Gutiérrez up in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as stereotypical symbols of Mexican Haces (Mexico City: UNAM–IIE, 1994), 623; and Cheryl R Ganz, Margaret Strobel, and national culture, a tradition that was reinforced during the post-Revolutionary period. For more Vicki L. Ruiz, Pots of Promise: Mexicans and Pottery at Hull-House, 1920–40 (Urbana, IL: information on this subject see: Ricardo Pérez Montfort, Avatares del nacionalismo cultural. University of Illinois Press, 2004). Cinco ensayos (Mexico City: CIDHEM/CIESAS, 2000); and Ricardo Pérez Montfort,4. The use of the term “primitive” by Best Maugard refers, in accordance with the usage of the time, Expresiones populares y estereotipos culturales en México.Siglos XIX y XX. Diez ensayos to ancient art, but also carries the weight of his evolutionist vision of cultural development. When (Mexico City: CIESAS, 2007). I use the term—much questioned today—I am referring to Best Maugard’s usage of this concept. 29. Buffalmaco (pseudonym of Jesús Buenaventura González Flores), “La Fantasía Mexicana—Ballet5. By “indigenous,” Best Maugard refers to pre-Hispanic art, but also alludes more generally to the de Mérito,” Pueblo, March 19, 1919. discourse of the period on the “native” as associated with a national essence and particularly with 30. The works exhibited in the United States during this period were titled in English. the “popular.” 31. “Painting Mexican in Character,” New York Times, December 4, 1919.6. “Popular art” here refers to those objects—useful and decorative—created without an artistic 32. Francisco Reyes Palma, Historia social de la educación artística en México (Notas y documentos): intention in the terms understood by the canon and educational system of the time. la política cultural en la época de Vasconcelos (1920–1924) (Mexico City: Secretaría de Educación7. Adolfo Best Maugard, Método de dibujo: tradición, resurgimiento y evolución del arte mexicano Pública, 1981), 9. (Mexico City: Secretaría de Educación Pública, 1923), 2, 1. 33. Adolfo Best Maugard, lecture on Mexico given at the radio station of the Examiner,8. Ibid., 20, 25. San Francisco, California, December 1, 1922. Reproduced in facsimile edition of La Falange9. Ibid., 118–24. (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1980).10. Judith Alanís and Sofía Urrutia, Rufino Tamayo: una cronología 1899–1987 (Mexico City: 34. José Vasconcelos, “Discurso pronunciado en el acto de inauguración del nuevo edificio de la INBA/Secretaría de Educación Pública, 1987), 13. Secretaría,” Boletín de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, September 1922, 8.11. Best Maugard, Método de dibujo, 96. 35. Daniel Cosío Villegas, “La pintura en México: segunda parte,” El Universal Ilustrado, July 20, 1923.12. Information on Best Maugard’s life is scant, and at times the published details are erroneous or 36. See Karen Cordero Reiman, “La invención del arte popular y la construcción de la cultura visual contradictory. The information here is pieced together from periodicals of the time, articles moderna en México,” in Hacia otra historia del arte mexicano, Vol. 3 (Mexico City: CNCA/ published by his close friends and colleagues, archival documents, and published sources based Curare, 2003); and Karen Cordero Reiman, “Retablos, exvotos y pintura religiosa popular del on archival research. In the 1980s, I carefully documented the parts of Best Maugard’s personal siglo XIX: el coleccionismo en los Estados Unidos,” in México en el mundo de las colecciones de arte archive in possession of the Tovar family and Francisco García Palomino in Mexico City. A good (Mexico City: Ed. Azabache, 1994). part of the documentary and visual material consulted comes from these sources, as well as from 37. Juan Olaguibel, “Informe de la Sección de Dibujo y Trabajos Manuales,” Boletín de la Secretaría other public archives. de Educación Pública, July 1925, 40.13. Fausto Ramírez et al., 1910: el arte en un año decisivo (Mexico City: MUNAL, 1991). 38. Best Maugard, Método de dibujo, 88.14. Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, Caja 282, 39. These films were the documentary Humanidad (1934), a tribute to public welfare institutions, Expediente 20, Foja 3. and La mancha de sangre (The Stain of Blood; 1937), a controversial vision of the Mexican15. Marco Velázquez and Mary Kay Vaughan, “Mestizaje and Musical Nationalism in Mexico,” underworld. The photographer Agustín Jiménez worked as cameraman on both. paper prepared for Washington Area Symposium on the History of Latin America, University 40. Adolfo Best Maugard, The new knowledge of the three principles of nature (Mexico City: Instituto of Maryland, College Park, November 8, 2002, www.driskellcenter.umd.edu/programs/2002- de Investigaciones Científicas de la Exegesis de la Existencia, A.C., 1949); Adolfo Best Maugard, 2003/conf/washla/papers/VaughanVelazquez.pdf, p. 21, consulted April 28, 2009. Intento preliminar de un ensayo sobre una teoría del orden universal. Posibilidades evolutivas del16. Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, Caja 282, hombre y una nueva actitud, unpublished manuscript in the archive of Ing. Francisco García Expediente 20, Foja 3. Palomino, 1958; Adolfo Best Maugard, “Teoría del proceso energía–existencia: su transición,”17. Best Maugard, Método de dibujo, 14. paper presented at the XII Congreso Internacional de Filosofía, September 1963.18. Ramón Favela, Diego Rivera: The Cubist Years (Phoenix: Phoenix Art Museum, 1984), 37. 41. Rita Pomade, “From A Mexican Perspective—The Vision of Adolfo Best Maugard,”19. Ibid., 70. http://www.mexconnect.com/en/articles/1080-from-a-mexican-perspective-the-vision-of-adolfo-20. Best Maugard, Método de dibujo, 2. best-maugard, consulted April 30, 2009. A recent re-edition of the Método de dibujo by the21. Wassily Kandinsky, “On the Problem of Form,” in Theories of Modern Art, ed. Herschel B. Chipp Instituto Estatal de la Cultura de Guanajuato and Ediciones La Rana (Guanajuato, 2002) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), 162–64, 166–67. Mireida Velázquez explores includes a CD produced by the Instituto Latinoamericano de Comunicación Educativa in 2001, the common interest of Best Maugard, Kandinsky, and Mondrian in theosophical ideas, and with documentation on this adaptation of Best Maugard’s method for computer-based education argues the importance of the U.S. architect and theosophist Claude Bragdon for the by artist James Metcalf. philosophical underpinnings of Best Maugard’s method. See Mireida Velázquez Torres, “Nacionalismo y vanguardia en la obra de Adolfo Best Maugard (1910–1923)” (B.A. thesis in History, UNAM, February 2002), 50–71.22. Manuel Gamio, Forjando Patria (Pro-Nacionalismo) (Mexico City: Porrúa, 1916), 324.23. Ibid., 171–72.24. Ibid., 23.25. Ibid., 67.26. Documents in the Ministry of Public Education archive indicate that beginning in June 1917 Best Maugard nominally occupied several posts as a drawing teacher in arts and crafts and commercial schools, but in reality was charged with reorganizing the art education in these schools. His successor at Corregidora de Querétaro, Alicia Gariel, published a little-known78 DAPA 26 79