Carlos Mérida

Guatemalan painter, active mainly in Mexico. In 1910–14 he studied in Paris under van Dongen, meeting Modigliani, Picasso, and other members of the avant-garde. He returned to Guatemala in 1914 and in 1919 moved to Mexico, where he worked as Rivera’s chief assistant for several years. In 1927–9 he was again in Europe, where he became friends with Klee and Miró, then returned to Mexico. His early work was in a politically conscious figurative style, but in the 1930s he was influenced by Surrealism (he took part in the International Surrealist Exhibition in Mexico City in 1940, organized by Breton and Paalen), and he eventually developed a completely abstract manner. From the 1950s much of his work was done for architectural settings, and he often worked in mosaic (for example at the Municipal Palace, Guatemala City, 1956) as well as in fresco.

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