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What May Come (Mexico, 1945)

A work made of wood engraving in black on grayish-ivory china paper.
© 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City

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  • A work made of wood engraving in black on grayish-ivory china paper.

Date:

1945

Artist:

Leopoldo Méndez
Mexican, 1902-1969

About this artwork

A signal image in Méndez’s oeuvre, this work is one of only three self-portrait prints made by the artist. Also known as Danger over Mexico and That Which Must Not Come, the print reflects upon the role of the politically engaged artist in Mexico at the end of World War II, a period of great uncertainty. In the print, the figure of Méndez lies across an open sketchbook and contemplates a nightmarish vision in which Mexican national symbols—the eagle, snake, and nopal cactus (references to the legend of the founding of Tenochtitlan, ancient Mexico City)—are grotesquely inverted, and social order is threatened by reactionary forces. The eagle, symbol of the Mexican republic, hangs on a swastika-cross, and behind, a column of fascist soldiers, supported by Catholic clerics, marches on Mexico City. The museum’s Print and Drawing Club commissioned Méndez to make the woodblock for this print.

Español:
Imagen señera de la obra de Méndez, éste es uno de los únicos tres autorretratos en grabado realizados por el artista. También conocido como Amenaza sobre México y Lo que no debe venir, el grabado es una reflexión sobre el papel del artista y su compromiso político con México hacia el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, que fue un periodo de gran incertidumbre. En el grabado, la figura de Méndez yace recostada boca abajo sobre un gran libro de bocetos abierto mientras contempla una visión pesadillesca. En ella los símbolos nacionales mexicanos —el águila, la serpiente y el nopal (referencias a la leyenda de la fundación de Tenochtitlán)— aparecen grotescamente trastocados y el orden social se ve amenazado por fuerzas de la reacción. El águila, símbolo de la República Mexicana, cuelga de una cruz gamada, mientras una fila de soldados fascistas, con apoyo de la curia católica, marcha sobre la Ciudad de México. El Club de Grabados y Dibujos del museo comisionó a Méndez el bloque en madera para este grabado.

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Prints and Drawings

Artist

Leopoldo Méndez

Title

What May Come (Mexico, 1945)

Origin

México

Date

1945

Medium

Wood engraving in black on grayish-ivory China paper

Dimensions

303 x 176 mm (image/block); 421 x 326 mm (sheet)

Credit Line

The Art Institute of Chicago

Reference Number

1945.672

Copyright

© 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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