The son of a baker and homemaker, José Guadalupe Posada was one of nine children. He was born in 1851 in the Mexican town of Aguascalientes, an artist's town known for centuries for its fine pottery, textiles, tiles and more.
At 16, José began learning the art of lithography as an apprentice to José Trinidad Pedroza, a publisher, printer, and graphic artist. Before long, he became a political satirist and routinely protested the rule of Mexico's then dictator, Porfirio Díaz.
Posada was a prolific artist, but remained unrecognized during his lifetime. However, both Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco were heavily influenced by José's art. Rivera eventually dedicated (posthumously) a mural in Posada's memory at the Hotel del Prado in Mexico City.
Posada's most famous illustration is "La Calavera de la Catrina", an image that is best associated with the Día de los Muertos holiday. And, in fact, the majority of his work has since come to be the iconic image of the Day of the Dead observance.
Here are some more sites with some incredible information about Posada's life and work...
• Jose Guadalupe Posada: His Art & Times quite possibly has the best and most comprehensive article on Posada. (However, this site is not for children, so I would strongly recommend that a parent or teacher go through this page first and copy and paste the information ahead of time.)
• HoustonCulture.org has a short, but nice piece on Posada.
• ArtCyclopedia has some good links.
Arts, Crafts Lessons
Here are a few crafts that would go great with studying this artist:
• Incredible Art Lessons has a page of wonderful lessons for older students, however, Lauren includes suggestions for tailoring the activity for younger students.
• ArtHouse has a papel picado craft with designs inspired by Posada.
• For my readers in the DALLAS area: The Dallas Museum of Art has an exhibit featuring Posada's work that runs through December. A wonderful opportunity!
NEW this year!
Author and illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh has a new book featuring José Guadalupe Posada. Get your copy of Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras (aff link).
Con mucho cariño...