Title: La Calavera de Madero
Metal relief print on ivory wove paper
Dimensions: Image: 11 3/4 x 5 1/4 inches (29.8 x 13.3 cm)
Sheet: 16 1/2 x 11 3/4 inches (41.9 x 29.8 cm)
Gift of Theodore B. Donson, Class of 1960, and Marvel M. Griepp
Object Number: 98.112.001
A consummate troublemaker, Posada’s satirical images offered biting commentary on the social order of Mexico during the unsettled years leading up to the Mexican Revolution. With his recurring use of the calavera (skeleton), Posada presents death as the great equalizer whose inevitable arrival undermines the power of the bourgeois and political classes. In La calavera de Madero, Mexico’s short-lived (1911–13) president Francisco Madero, who came from a wealthy family, is shown wearing traditional Mexican trappings—a sarape (woven shawl), huaraches (sandals), and a sombrero (broad- brimmed straw hat)—and holding a bottle of Aguardiente de Parras, a reference to his family’s maguey plantation and distillery. Not long after forcing the resignation of authoritarian dictator Porfirio Díaz and assuming the presidency with an astonishing ninety percent of voter support, Madero was ousted in a military coup led by general Victoriano Huerta and assassinated shortly thereafter. ("This is no Less Curious: Journeys through the Collection" cocurated by Sonja Gandert, Alexandra Palmer, and Alana Ryder and presented at the Johnson Museum January 24 - April 12, 2015)
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.