Schneider Museum of Art
Selections from the Permanent Collection (continued: Page 5)
David Alfaro Siqueros 1896-1974
Siqueiros was a founder, along with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco, of modern mural painting in Mexico. He was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, into a cultivated family. His father was a lawyer and his mother the daughter of a renowned poet and politician. As a teenager he was interested in Mexican archeology and folk art. In 1913-14 he studied with Orozco until the Mexican Revolution interrupted his work. From 1914 until 1922 he served on the general staff of the Mexican Army, and began to view painting in relation to the social changes for which he was fighting. Posted in 1920 to the Mexican embassy in Madrid, he came into contact with European cubism, Dadaism, futurism and met Rivera.
On his return in 1922, he was commissioned with Rivera, Orozco and others to paint the murals with forthrightly Communist subjects that characterize the style the world associates with revolutionary Mexico during the 30's and 40's. He was often at odds with his own government as an active union organizer and as an officer in the Spanish Republican Army.
Throughout his life he continued to make murals, easel paintings, prints, and wrote for reviews, gave lectures, traveled the world and continued active membership in the Mexican Communist Party, of which he was executive secretary in 1959. In late 1960 he was charged by the Mexican government with “social dissolution” and imprisoned more for his radical beliefs than for any overt political activities. After his release in 1964, he began an ambitious mural, The March of Humanity in Latin America, a huge undertaking covering 49,000 square feet. It was the first time a building had to be constructed just to house such a work.
He died in Cuernevaca at 77, after a lifetime of painting his political convictions despite the constant threat of political reprisal. His style was less decorative and colorful than Rivera’s and less expressionistic than Orozco’s. He fused his people’s folklore with the pre-Hispanic Mexican tradition to create his own pictorial language - a realism that remained expressive and did not succumb to the dictates of official Communist “social realism.”
Waldo Peirce 1884-1970
Described in an article published in Arts Magazine in 1972, as an artist who “. . . At first found his inspiration in the more colorful tradition of the French Impressionists, (but) later . . . developed his own bold form of Impressionism.” Waldo Peirce has left his mark in the field of art with representation in the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney Museum, the Gallery of American Art, plus many, many others.
In Europe Peirce studied painting at the Académie de Julian in Paris, and later, in Seville with Ignazio Zuloaga, the famous Spanish painter known for his bullfight paintings; there is a museum in his name in Madrid. Peirce’s other artistic associations and friendships in Europe during the 20's included Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway, who was to become a life-long friend.
In America Peirce attended Harvard University in the days of Heywood Broun, Harold Vanderbilt, Winthrop Aldrich, Walter Lippmann and John Reed. It was with Reed that Peirce took the eventful tramp steamer trip--the one where Peirce jumped ship shortly after leaving Boston harbor and swam to shore. Reed finished the trip only to be arrested on his arrival in Europe for the supposed murder of his friend, Waldo Peirce. The incident was cleared up and John went on to become a famous socialist journalist, who played a significant role in the Russian Revolution and is the only American to be buried at the Kremlin. Many will recognize him from the movie about his life, Reds.
When World War I broke out Peirce joined the French Army and served as an ambulance driver. It was during this time that he met Hemingway. Awarded the Croix-de-Guerre by the French military, Peirce went on to play a role with the U.S. Intelligence Division.
It wasn’t until the 1950's that Waldo Peirce met Florence and Bill Schneider. At that time Peirce’s children, Karen and Jonathan, were enrolled in the Treehaven School in Tucson, Arizona. This is a private school, founded by the Schneiders. The friendship between Waldo Peirce and the Schneiders lasted until his death in 1970.
While the Peirce children attended Treehaven, their father would visit, sketchbook in hand. The Schneider Museum of Art displays the results of some of those sketches, which later were rendered into paint by the artist. In some of these works are influences of the French Impressionists. It is said of Waldo Peirce that he owes his use of light to Renoir; design to Matisse; and his strong brush strokes to Cezanne. The many gifts he made to the Schneiders are on display in the museum, as well as his whimsical and artful envelopes he liked to use when mailing letters.
He was a kindly, caring man and that shows in his work, his choice of subjects and how he communicates. Indeed, of the many words written about this important, sincere artist, the most frequent are “tender and tranquil.”
In “Milestones” of Time magazine, the death of Waldo Peirce is recorded on March 23, 1970:
“Died. Waldo Peirce, 85, American impressionist painter, a be-whiskered giant of a man noted as much for his exuberant life-style as for his bold, spontaneous art; of pneumonia; in Newburyport, Mass. Peirce lived with all the verve and gusto of his lifelong friend and traveling companion Ernest Hemingway, even to the point of taking four wives and running with the bulls in Pamplona. His splashy, sensuously colored paintings, said one critic, ‘smell of sweat and sound like laughter.’ ”
Permanent Collection Page 1 (Women Painters of Mithila, Calder, Canogar, Everts, Inness)
Permanent Collection Page 2 (McLarty, Bennett, Jepson)
Permanent Collection Page 3 (Lebrun, Cuevas)
Permanent Collection Page 4 (Scholder, McCracken, Pre-Columbian)