Be it for shame or for glory, Carlos MŽrida is[2] the pioneer of the so-called ŇrenaissanceÓ to which his show of 1920 in Mexico City gave both birth and a healthy jog.  He[3] was also the first one of this group to cleanse his work of the picturesque of[4] folk-lore, even though he well knew how to translate it into sound plastic terms. 

Following a rigid process of introspection, MŽrida came to question even this impressionist painterŐs paradise that is the world as seen through the human eye.  At last he has come to rest his art upon this rock-bottom level mislabeled Ňabstract,Ó where color and line do not masquerade any more as outer things, where the painterŐs aim is not any more to tell a lie. 

He brings to this recondite[5] work the same racial grace that he used in depicting his own tropical land.  The silent geometries, the reticent sensuousness of textures, the earthy dampness of color, do[6] speak of a land and a race,[7] sublimated unto a plane where neither tourists nor railway agencies have access. 

We, who were not brave enough or rash enough to do the same, clinging as we[8] do to picturesque themes and[9] realistic vision, do gaze with longing upon MŽrida as he opens his path through those rarified regions where appearance gives way to substance. 


[1] This text has been reconstructed from Jean CharlotŐs galleys of the catalogue of the 1937 Carlos MŽrida exhibition at the Passedoit Gallery, New York City.  Information can be found in Peter Morse, Peter, Jean Charlot's Prints: A Catalogue RaisonnŽ, The University Press of Hawaii and the Jean Charlot Foundation, Honolulu, 1976, p. 203, number 383.  The lithograph was created in 1936, and the catalogue was published in the next year.  The Jean Charlot Collection does not contain the finished catalogue.  CharlotŐs final version is found in his An Artist on Art: Collected Essays of Jean Charlot, volume 2, Mexican Art, University Press of Hawaii, Honolulu, p. 352. 

[2] Cut: in fact. 

[3] Cut: However. 

[4] Cut Indian.  raw. 

[5] Replaces: new.

[6] Cut: still. 

[7] Cut: but. 

[8] Cut: still.

[9] Cut: to.