portrait of the bourgeois

David Alfaro Siqueiros

Mexican, 1896-1974

Mural, 1939

1000-square feet

Electrical Workers Union Building, Mexico City, Mexico

Despite being finished by Josep Renau after David Alfaro Siqueiros’s arrest, “Portrait of the Bourgeoisie” still retains its originator’s focus as a commentary on the dangers of the intersections among government, capitalism, and industry. Best understood as a triptych, the three walls that make up the mural feature a historical panorama meant to portray the interweaving vignettes of the burning remains of the past order, persisting present social inequalities, and frightening futuristic visions should technology and nature merge as Siqueiros imagines it. “Portrait of the Bourgeoisie” is considered Siqueiros’ most successful work, even more so because it was created during a time when the Mexican government attempted to restrict artists’ self-expression and erase its oppressive history.

Anabelle Maya

An extended look at Siqueros’s Portrait of the Bourgeoisie