Flower Festival Feast of Santa
Flower Vendor with Basket
Man Carrying Calla Lilies
In 1922, he married Guadalupe Marin, whom he
met while on travels in Mexico to study the
various landscapes and history. Over the next
four years, Rivera worked on 124 frescoes on
the courtyard walls of the Ministry of Public
Education. This particular work made him famous
in the Western world and truly began the revival
of mural painting.
In the Fall of 1927, Diego traveled to the
Soviet Union to take part in the tenth anniversary
celebrations of the October Revolution. He traveled
as a member of an official delegation of the
Mexican Communist Party. When he returned to
Mexico, his marriage to Guadalupe Marin, the
mother of his two children, ended. In 1928,
he went on to meet Frida Kahlo, at a weekly
He and Kahlo married in 1929, the year he was
also appointed the head of the Department of
Plastic Crafts at the Ministry of Education,
a position he held until 1938. Rivera, with
the help of David Siqueiros and Jose Clemente
Orozco, created the Labor Union of Technical
Workers, Painters, and Sculptors.
In November of 1930, Rivera began work on his
first two major American commissions: the American
Stock Exchange Luncheon Club and the California
School of Fine Arts. But it was in 1932 that
Nelson Rockefeller asked him to paint a mural
in the Radio Corporation Arts building in Rockefeller
Center. And in 1933, he began the mural entitled
Man at the Cossroads. However, conflict arose
over the mural in which Rivera included Lenin,
leader of the Soviet Union. As a result, the
mural was never completed and was chipped off
the wall and destroyed in February of 1934.
Rivera was determined to compete the mural but
in a different location. His new version called
Man, Controller of the Universe, was done in
Mexico City and included a portrait of Lenin
and Leon Trotsky. Rivera returned to Mexico
at the end of 1933.
Alberto Pani, a politician who had befriended
Rivera in Europe, was asked to ascertain if
Mexico would permit Leon Trotsky immediate political
asylum. Rivera sought out President Cárdenas,
who agreed to give Trotsky refuge. Trotsky and
his wife lived in Rivera’s home of Coyoacán.
Along with André and Jacqueline Bretón,
the Trotsky and Rivera families socialized and
traveled together until personal and political
conflicts developed between Diego and Trotsky.
In 1940, Diego and Frida were separated, divorced,
and remarried in December of the same year.
Rivera went to San Francisco to participate
in the 1940 Golden Gate international exposition.
Meanwhile, Trotsky’s life was in danger
when Siqueiros led an assassination attempt
on him in his Coyoacán house. Just months
later, Trotsky was assassinated by Ramón
Mercader in August.
In 1947, Rivera went on to form the Commission
of Mural Painting, an arm of the Instituto Nacional
de Bellas Artes (INBA), with Orozco and Siqueiros.
Controversy followed Rivera once again when
he completed his mural at the Hotel del Prado.
He included a slogan reading “God does
not exist”, which kept the mural from
public view for nine years.
Once again, one of Rivera’s works was
removed in 1952. This time, it was in the Palacio
Nacional de Bellas Artes, where his painting
of The Nightmare of War and the Dream of Peace
included Stalin and Mao Tsetung.
Rivera suffered a great loss in July of 1954
when his wife Frida Kahlo died. But one year
later, he married Emma Hurtado, his dealer since
1946. Following an operation towards the end
of the year, Rivera went through cobalt treatments.
In April of 1956, he returned to his native
Mexico and recuperated at the home of his friend
Dolores Olmedo. On November 24, 1957, Rivera
died of heart failure in his San Angel studio.
He was buried in the Rotunda of Famous Men in
Civil Pantheon of Mourning. Today, he is still
considered a Latin American folk hero.
- 1886 to 1918
Life with Frida
Diego Rivera Paintings