Considered the greatest Mexican painter of the twentieth century, Diego Rivera had a profound effect on the international art world. Among his many contributions, Rivera is credited with the reintroduction of fresco painting into modern art and architecture. His radical political views and tempestuous romance with the painter Frida Kahlo were then, and remain today, a source of public intrigue. In a series of visits to America, from 1930-1940, Rivera brought his unique vision to public spaces and galleries, enlightening and inspiring artists and laymen alike.
Rivera remained a central force in the development of a national art in Mexico throughout his life. Perhaps one his greatest legacies, however, was his impact on America’s conception of public art. In depicting scenes of American life on public buildings, Rivera provided the first inspiration for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s WPA program. Of the hundreds of american artists who would find work through the WPA, many continued on to address political concerns that had first been publicly presented by Rivera. Both his original painting style and the force of his ideas remain major influences on american painting.