107: Arnold Belkin Surreal Mexican Lithograph signed
Mexican painter, print maker and Muralist, who has often been referred as "The Canadian Son of Mexican Muralism". Arnold's father was a Russian Jew and his mother was an English Jewish woman (Greenberg).
he decided to meet and learn personally from the great creators of Muralism at that time, the Mexicans Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros. Arriving in Mexico City at the age of 18 years, Belkin attended La Esmeralda Art School and the INBA School for Painting and Sculpture. Belkin won the "Adquisicion INBA" Prize for El Hombre Si Tiene Futuro. That same year he had an exhibit in Los Angeles, California, at the Zora Gallery, and was one of four artists (with Siqueiros, Icaza, and Tamayo) invited to represent Mexico at the International Award Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. He finished his formative stage by learning metal engraving at the workshop of Lola Cueto and lithography at the Book Arts School. He also collaborated at the workshop of Guillermo Silva Santamaria.
By 1956 Belkin was being highly sought. He painted in that year La Bahia de Acapulco at the Continental Hilton Hotel (destroyed in the earthquake of 1985) and was named Professor of Mural Techniques at the Universidad de las Americas. A year later he did Escenas de Don Quijote in the city of Cuernavaca.
His famous Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a portable mural, was painted in 1959, and in the years 1960 and 1961 he completed Todos Somos Culpables at the Mexico City Penitenciary.
With Francisco Icaza, Francisco Corzas, Jose Luis Cuevas, Rafael Coronel, Leonel Góngora and Nacho López he formed the group "Nueva Presencia", which characterized a style with elements of Expressionism and modern figurative painting; the themes denounced injustice, repression and war.
Belkin won, in 1963, the "Adquisicion INBA" Prize for El Hombre Si Tiene Futuro. That same year he had an exhibit in Los Angeles, California, at the Zora Gallery, and was one of four artists (with Siqueiros, Icaza, and Tamayo) invited to represent Mexico at the International Award Exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
At this point, Belkin's style transforms totally as it becomes abstract. This artistic evolution manifests itself by a shift that would be the basis for his personal signature in the works of his later life. Most of his murals, however retain a figurative base as it can be appreciated in his 1966 magnificent mural The Jewish Holidays, painted for the newly built headquarters of the Ashkenazi Jewish Community, at 70 Acapulco Street in Mexico City.
Two years later he moves to Europe where he is influenced by the muralist style of the old masters, and decides to live in New York for a while where he experiments with new styles and exchanges ideas with other Latinamerican (and United States) painters. At this time his abstract period ends, returning to figurative painting. Pedro friedeberg.
While a resident artist at Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania, he finished his first mural in the US: Las Humanidades (1971). In 1972 and 1973 he painted Against Domestic Colonialism (in New York's Hell's Kitchen) and Epimeteo (Dumont High School, New Jersey).
As of 1974 and until his death, Belkin's themes take on historical backgrounds and his style turns easily recognizable as his own. The colors, circles, shadows, body elements, all become characteristic that can be identified with the author.
Belkin's fame in the seventies lead to exhibitions in the US, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Colombia and Cuba. He founded the workshops specializing in muralism at La Esmeralda and at the National School for Plastic Arts (UNAM University)
In the years 1978-1979 he painted The Sephardic Migration in Mexico, which can be seen at the Monte Sinai Social Center in Mexico City. His greatest mural is arguably the one he finished at The Metropolitan University at Iztapalapa, Mexico. It consists of four monumental projects (1983).
In the last decade of his life, Belkin's prolific work was characterized by great dynamism and theme innovation. He completed hundreds of works, not only murals at government buildings and universities, but painted oils, acrylics and other media, as well as sculpture. He died at 62.