Giorgio de Chirico, the First Surrealist in Mexico?


  • Carlos Segoviano Museum of Modern Art (MAM), Mexico City, Mexico


The historiography of the arrival of Surrealism in Mexico has focused mainly on the personalities of André Breton, Antonin Artaud, César Moro and Wolfgang Paalen, specifically about the latter's time in Mexico and the controversy caused by the 1940 “Surrealist International Exhibition” at the Mexican Art Gallery. However, the first contacts with a painting described as surrealist—by both critics and the Mexican painters themselves—were made with the canvases of Giorgio de Chirico in the late 1920s, although by then the Italian master had distanced himself from the French movement. The connection with de Chirico was established primarily in the approach of Mexican artists who were in Europe at the beginning of the 1920s. This coincided with the movement of a return to order in the development of Mexican Muralism. Later, around 1928, a new generation of Mexican painters, who sought not to imitate Rivera's narrative work, found a source for the development of a figurative painting in de Chirico's enigmatic landscapes that would account for Mexico as a tragic country, wrapped in a fantastic, almost magical, atmosphere.

Author Biography

Carlos Segoviano, Museum of Modern Art (MAM), Mexico City, Mexico

Carlos Segoviano is a member of the curatorial department of the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) of Mexico City, where he holds the position of researcher and cultural manager. At MAM he has also worked as curator of the exhibitions:  Las dos Fridas. Historia de dos ciudades; Manuel Rodríguez Lozano. Los retablos de la muerte y Manifiestos del arte mexicano (1921-1958).    Carlos Segoviano has a degree in Communication Sciences from the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), as well as a Master in Art History from the same institution. He is currently in the process of graduating the Doctorate in Art History. He has also performed as a journalist, lecturer, museum guide and professor at the university level.   His line of research focuses on the relations between the European avant-garde and modern Latin American art, with special emphasis on the painters David Alfaro Siqueiros, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Manuel Rodríguez Lozano, Rufino Tamayo, Agustín Lazo, María Izquierdo, Emilio Pettoruti and Antonio Berni.