La Quebrada Diego Rivera Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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La Quebrada is a painting by Diego Rivera from 1956. It features a rocky cliff face and was one of a number of landscape artworks that he produced across his lifetime. Whilst tackling a traditional genre, the artist applies his very contemporary style with bright colour and expressive detail.

This painting came along in 1956, just a year before the artist's death, underlining how he was still able to work effectively right up to his passing. His main compromise as he got older may have been to avoid the huge mural projects which would be too much for him, physically, in his later years. We also know that he was heavily affected by the death of his wife, Frida Kahlo, though was still able to carry on working after a short break. Some artists have gone into darker palettes and more depressive styles after a tragedy such as this, but we can see from La Quebrada that the artist would continue to work in much the same way as before. He combined styles of European art with inspiration from Mexican culture, most notably the use of colour. The angle and content of this piece will remind some of the work of the French Impressionists, for example The Cliffs at Etretat by Claude Monet and The Beach at Sainte-Adresse or Frederic Bazille. The difference in La Quebrada, however, is how Rivera forms the rocky structures and the waves below.

Rivera suffered cancer in later life and would move to Acapulco where he would rest up across his final years. He would dedicate this painting to his wife who had died just a few years earlier. La Quebrada is a local spot where he was living at the time and is a popular place to dive from the tall cliffs. It is interesting that he chose a landscape to dedicate to his late wife, but it also reminds us how he continued to reflect on their time together for the rest of his own life and missed her deeply. They had an extraordinary connection which fueled arguments, passion and endless love for each other, as well as a large amount of art within both of their respective oeuvres. This humble artwork is therefore a key indicator of his state of mind and physical health towards the end of his life.

This painting can today be found in the Frida Kahlo Museum as part of its permanent collection. As twice-husband to Frida, Rivera played as important a role in her life as pretty much anyone else. Whilst their relationship was turbulent and not entirely loyal, it cannot be denied that the two retained a huge love and affection for each other ever since they first dating. When you also consider that the two are both considered amongst the most famous Mexican artists of all time, it is entirely proper that some of Rivera's work is included within a museum dedicated to Frida's life and career. Despite being a highly respective muralist, many come across Rivera's career via Frida's work, which underlines how her own reputation has risen to something of an icon, both for Mexico but also women more generally. Kahlo had tough experiences within her lifetime which inspired a number of self portraits which would become her most common genre, all delivered within her own unique take on Surrealism.