Daily Art Moment: Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera, Los Frutos del Trabajo (The Fruits of Labor), 1932, lithograph on cream wove paper, 16 7/16 in x 11 13/16 inches. Vertical rectangular print rendered in soft gradations of grays of 8 figures seated in a circle turned to a figure in the upper right corner and receiving apples from a central figure. The scene is intimate, tightly cropped, and facial expressions are serene. The central figure is youthful with short hair, head at three-quarter view looking to their right, hand outstretched having given an apple to a seated figure in profile at left. The left hand holds a cloth taut holding a bounty of apples. Three young figures seated behind peek out, obscured by the taller figures. An older mustachioed figure with collared shirt in top right has eyes cast down at a book spread open by his thumb. Four figures in the foreground with backs turned to the viewer face the apple giver and reader. The diminutive small figure at bottom center has long dark hair center-parted and braided, the ends of the braids are joined in a knot. At bottom right, an older figure wearing a jacket with epaulettes has left hand rested on another youth’s shoulder. In the foreground, a bound book’s cover bears a cursive D and 32.

Today we celebrate Mexican-American civil rights leader, Cesar Estrada Chavez, a former migrant worker who co-founded the UFW (United Farm Workers) with fellow activist, Dolores Huerta, which fought for unionization for laborers. Chavez, influenced by the non-violent tactics of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., used strikes, boycotts, and picketing to achieve equity for these laborers. For his good works and support of the working class, Chavez was awarded the presidential medal of freedom, posthumously, in 1994.

Of course, Portland has a street named after Señor Chavez, but not just because of his role as a civil rights leader. Oregon has a very storied relationship with Cesar Chavez, and was home to the first Chicano college, Colegio Cesar Chavez, which was founded in Mount Angel, Oregon in 1973.

As we celebrate this people’s movement as a day of service, we also meditate on the enduring tenacity and activism of historically marginalized groups, and acknowledgement of our privilege.

The print chosen today to represent Chavez’s contribution to workers’ rights is by Diego Rivera and is titled, “Los Frutos del Trabajo” (The Fruits of Labor), from 1932.

Sofia Gonzales, docent

Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886–1957), Los Frutos del Trabajo (The Fruits of Labor), 1932. Lithograph on cream wove paper. Gift of Lucienne Bloch and Stephen Dimitroff, 83.53.8 © artist or other rights holder

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