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Matrix for What May Come (Mexico, 1945)

A work made of wood engraving block.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

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  • A work made of wood engraving block.




Leopoldo Méndez
Mexican, 1902-1969

About this artwork

The woodblock Méndez carved for What May Come represents a particularly dramatic example of the Art Institute’s role in the collecting and popularization of Taller de Gráfica Popular work in this country. It was commissioned and purchased by the museum’s Print and Drawing Club on the occasion of Méndez’s first major solo exhibition in the United States, which the Art Institute organized in 1945 and later sent on tour. Prints pulled from the block—by the Chicagoan Max Kahn, who had worked as a guest artist at the Taller de Gráfica Popular—were not only displayed in the show but also given as gifts to club members and sold to the public. Méndez made a wood engraving for this special commission rather than a linoleum block print or woodcut. This technique, which involves carving against the upright grain of the wood rather than with it, allowed him to fashion a particularly elaborate and finely detailed image.

El bloque de madera que Méndez talló para Lo que puede venir es un ejemplo particularmente dramático del papel que el Art Institute jugó en la recolección y popularización del trabajo del Taller de Gráfica Popular en Estados Unidos. Fue comisionado y adquirido por el Club de Grabados y Dibujos del museo en ocasión de la primera gran exposición individual de Méndez en Estados Unidos, organizada por el Art Institute en 1945 y que posteriormente viajara a diferentes ciudades. Los grabados sacados del bloque —encargados al artista de Chicago Max Kahn, quien anteriormente había trabajado como artista huésped del Taller de Gráfica Popular— no sólo se exhibieron durante la exposición, sino que también fueron obsequiados a los miembros del club y vendidos al público. Méndez hizo un grabado en madera de pie para este encargo especial en lugar de un grabado en linóleo o en madera al hilo. Esta técnica, que implica tallar en contra de la fibra de la madera, en lugar de en su dirección natural, le permitió generar una imagen particularmente elaborada y finamente detallada.

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Prints and Drawings


Leopoldo Méndez


Matrix for What May Come (Mexico, 1945)






Wood engraving block


305 x 175 x 24 mm

Credit Line

Print and Drawing Club Fund

Reference Number



© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


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