Watercolor and white gouache highlights on paper drawing of a Mexican campesino on horseback with rifle in hand, 25 1/2" by 19 1/2" and modern framing 1 5/8" wide on a side, signed at lower right and dated there in Roman numerals 1930 ("XXX"), by important Mexican twentieth century artist FEDERICO CANTU (1908-1989). This is a work of an artist who had been relatively obscure until relatively recently, due to a variety of reasons, including a lack of self-promotion, but in 1934 he exhibited with the likes of Diego Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, Jean Charlot, Jose Orozco and David Siqueiros, all major Mexican painters and muralists. Cantu was schooled in an institution run by another major artist, Alfredo Ramos Martinez, in the early 1920's. Between 1924 and 1934 he traveled widely in the USA and Europe, and was exposed to many artists and movements. In later years, rather than producing portable oils that would spread his reputation widely, he was often to be found painting murals for private homes. Despite having worked in the shadows of these giants, the quality of Cantu's work has shown through, and today his paintings have brought large sums at Sotheby's and Christie's Latin American art auctions. This drawing has significant fading from sunlight, I believe, though the image is still quite powerful. I've had to darken it a bit for it to be more visible on the computer screen, as it's a subtle work. Ask for more photos without the glass and reflections. See the net for much, much more on this artist and his place in Mexican art history. .
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