When traveling to Mexico City in the 1990s, I always made it a point to stop at the big flea market and look for street artist Lucas Lorenzo. His art was striking and charming, and once in a while I would buy a piece to bring back, maybe for a gift, or as in the case with the piece here, bought for myself on one of my last trips there in that decade. I had it framed some time back, at Hobby Lobby, with a traditional ornate frame that was such contrast to the outsider style of painting that it seemed the perfect match. Framed painting is a great size, too--large enough to fill a small space yet one of those shapes that you often need for an awkward section of wall. Not that the size and shape would be what draws you most to the painting. That would be Lorenzo, himself, and his take on the birth of Jesus, baby surrounded by community. The wise men are dressed in robes with belts, and the couple to the side are Mary and Joseph, and we have a few barn animals, plus we can see the backs of the heads of what look like three girls, which of course are the angels. Lorenzo presents this miracle event from as an ordinary one, which if you consider it as a real event that happened, in that day it would have looked much like this, ordinary people becoming part of an extraordinary thing. That is exactly what makes it real and sacred for so much of the world, and especially indigenous Mexico. Lorenzo started as a street artist, and while his style never veered, he did gain notoriety over time. From his biography: "Lucas Lorenzo and his children Santiago, Jesus, Nicolas, Aureliano and Carlota live and work in the remote craft village of Xalitla, in the state of Guerrero. They come out of the same tradition as the well-known Guerrero painters on amate bark paper. Lucas, now 77 (in 2018), started out painting scenes, mostly of the landscape and village life of Guerrero, on amate paper. But 52 years ago he tried painting on the more durable material of masonite board. He also began to paint larger naive figures of saints, devils, angels, religious figures and traditional Nahuatl masked dances. He passed the technique on to his children and now a third generation, who have continued the practice, exhibiting and selling as a family. They have added new subjects out of history and popular culture, such as masked luchador wrestlers, Zapatista guerillas, calaveras for dia de los muertos, images from the loteria game and, of course, Frida Kahlo. For many years the Lorenzo family have operated a booth to sell their works in Mexico City. Recently Lucas' grandson Fernando has exhibited their work at art fairs in Austin and San Antonio, Texas, as well as the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2016 the Mexican Secretaria de Cultura published a full-color book illustrated with their paintings, Familia Lorenzo." One can still by art by the Lorenzo family today, all wonderful--indeed, this is a family I encourage all to support! You can find their new pieces here on Etsy.
This vintage painting is done on chipboard (masonite) that measures 11-3/8: wide by just under 8" tall. The frame is thick and adds quite a bit of size, for a total framed width of 16-1/4" by 12-1/4" height. The back paper has some fading with age, but otherwise in good condition.
Whimsical religious art from Mexico!
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We get correspondance almost daily asking how much certain items are worth or what the price was of items that have sold, and we can no longer respond to these messages.