Born in Guanajuato, Mexico in 1886, Diego Rivera studied art in Europe and was greatly influenced by Picasso, Cézanne, and Giotto. He was Mexico’s most renowned muralist when, at the urging of Ralph Stackpole, in 1930 he was brought to San Francisco to paint murals in the Stock Exchange and Art Institute. While there he had his first American solo exhibition at the CPLH. He also painted a small fresco for Mrs. Sigmund Stern which is now in Stern Hall at UC Berkeley. Diego Rivera returned to Mexico in 1931 to complete mural decorations in the Palacio Nacional. He painted murals in the Detroit Art Institute (1933) and Rockefeller Center in NYC (1934).
In 1940 he was again in San Francisco to paint a 1,650 square foot fresco for the GGIE entitled Culture of the Americas. This fresco is now installed in the foyer of the Little Theater at San Francisco City College. After the GGIE he returned to Mexico and died there on Nov. 25, 1957. Although his greatest inspiration was from the work of Giotto, his work is rooted in Aztec and Mayan forms. In: SF General Hospital; Mexican Museum (SF); Mills College (Oakland); SFMA; CPLH.
Edan Hughes, “Artists in California, 1786-1940”
NY Times, 11-25-1957 (obituary).