Graphic Witness: visual arts & social commentary
Here the German mother, surrounded by the pompous symbols of 'The Party,' has received her son's death notice. In the patient rendering of the hands Méndez expresses the emotion that twists the unseen face. 'Art for art's sake' certainly is not his creed. He piles up the storytelling details -- the Nazi flag, the photograph of Hitler -- to ensure that his 'reader' will not miss the point. Some artists may feel that these are journalistic methods, and Méndez will agree that they may be right. He wishes to be understood, and if that should make him, in the opinion of some, a craftsman rather than an artist, he would be delighted at the observation. His ambition is to be known as a manual worker.
[from Virginia Stewart, 45 Mexican Artists, 1951]
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the letter
The Letter, wood engraving, undated. 4 1/4" x 3 7/8"

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25 March 99