The Flower Seller, Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957)

The Flower Seller, 1926 

Oil on canvas 

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Spalding, 1932 (49.1) 

The Mexican painter Diego Rivera devoted the mature part of his career to powerful depictions of his compatriots. Though renowned for his for his large-scale, government-sponsored murals, he also executed a remarkable number of easel paintings. The Flower Seller demonstrates Rivera’s skill at design and grandeur of conception. A Mexican woman nurses her child as she sits among an abundant and varied array of flowers. Crisp in contour and bright in hue, the contrasting rounded and angular forms of the flowers fill the canvas, framing the woman and imparting balance to its composition. While this painting inevitably evokes Christian imagery of the Virgin and Child, it also speaks to Rivera’s sympathetic respect and affection for the Mexican people, his humanistic concern for the dignity of the individual, and his persistent social realism.