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By Bob Alvarado

More nudes on the cover?!” I can just hear it now.

Ever since this publication was first conceived the ideas for stories have been overwhelming. With so much material to cover and requests for certain themes from our readers, we occasionally are thrown off schedule. A slightly neglected area in these pages, but certainly not any less important, is that of modern Mexican artists. The shear number that this country has produced is evidence of a culturally rich and talented people.

Modern Mexican art is generally referred to as art of the 20th century. From the impressionist influence of the turn of the century such as the likes of Joaquin Clausell, to the muralist movement of the 40s and 50s, the art of Gerardo Murillo (Dr. Atl), David Alfaro Siquieros, Diego Rivera and most importantly Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexico has indeed contributed immensely.

Artists of Mexico is the focal point of this issue as we highlight two very superior figures. German Horacio and Mauricio Devaux have been the subject of our interest for a long time and we are pleased to present them to you. German Horacio was a Spanish Civil War era exile of the 30s. French immigrant Mauricio Devaux’s art, as you will recall, graced the cover of our last issue. (El antiQuario No. 10.) Remember that colorful rebozo? Remember that great full regalia charro sombrero? What else do you remember? Read about Devaux on page 51.

German Horacio, who’s art distinguishes this edition’s cover, is often confused with the 19th century artist known simply as Horacio. Exiled from Spain, Forgotten by Mexico: the Story of German Horacio (page 32) should clear up any future misconceptions as to who he was and what his splendid work looks like. Incidentally, I must add that our Field Editor, Canadian Sean Mattson, went to great lengths to verify and clarify much of the misinformation attributed to these two obscure but nevertheless influential figures of the Mexican art movement. A standing ovation for Sean is in order.

Martin Ibarra?... Who is Martin Ibarra? Oh! That Martin Ibarra. It goes to show that you can’t keep a good man down. And now, due to his tremendous success with his hand molded, engraved and burnished spheres, eggs and virgins, we are very pleased to present the artist everyone has been clamoring to meet. Please keep in mind however that there is a waiting period for his work, especially during the rainy season, and his studio is located in a town which is perhaps best reached on mule-back or by fishing boat. Don’t miss From the Shores of Lake Cajititlan (pg. 29). Come to think of it, we may have forgotten to include a map.

The ceremonial dance of Los Tastoanes (pg.21) is a colorful religious tradition which is performed devoutly once a year in many parts of western Mexico. Ace investigator Gabriel Cerda Vidal covered the dance in Tonala, Jalisco recently. The clay masks worn by these performers are now sought-after collectors items, especially those which were actually used in a dance and not make for the tourist industry. Among some of the most prevailing artists’ names cherished after are masks by the Lucano and Medrano families. As a prelude to this interesting dispatch, Gabriel also headed this issue’s San... Quien? Saint... Who? section with a piece on Santo Santiago, Saint James the Apostle, who just happens to be the same saint Los Tastoanes pay tribute to during their July festivities. (pg. 17)

Be sure to take a peek at Dance of the Fireflies (pg. 46), by star reporter Ms. Leslie Frausto. Leslie is in fact becoming a real chacharera in her own right. After the series of interviews with vintage Mexican silver dealer Ruben Gomez Ornelas she exclaimed, “But Robeeerto, I need an advance. Look, I bought a Spratling ring, two Los Castillos bracelets and these wonderful Aguilar earrings. Come on, I need to eat!”

Between all the investigative work, producing the magazine, plus directing inquiries between collectors on both sides of the border, we somehow still manage to squeeze in a few of our favorite U.S. based antiques fairs. Three times a year you’ll find us in Austin, Texas, once in Santa Fe, New Mexico (don’t miss Utopia in New Mexico, pg.55, for a report on this year’s events) and twice a year in Warrenton / Roundtop, Texas. This year we have a special treat lined up for friends in Warrenton, as several prominent dealers and artisans from Mexico will be joining us for the October event. Look for burnished wares by Angel Santos Juarez, Huichol designs by Alejandro Julian Nuñez, plus some great cowboy and old vaquero collectibles, retablos, vintage folk art and a whole lot more. If you can’t make it this year, we’ll be at the same station in April, so mark your calendars now.

Before tearing this issue apart in search of the map for getting to San Juan Evengelista, on the outskirts of Tlajomulco de Zuñiga, Jalisco to visit Martin Ibarra’s place... I was joking. Our main job here at El antiQuario is to provide a smoother flow of information between all of our amigos. Our goal is to help bring awareness of small studios with top-rate art like Martin’s into the 21st century and accessible to all. Actually, our new president, Mr. Vicente Fox, just asked me to join his team of innovative thinkers, but after considering my prior commitment to you all, I had to decline. Viva Mexico and God Bless America.

 

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