Alfredo Ramos Martinez

Mexican (1871-1946)
Another precociously artistic child, Alfredo Ramos-Martinez, is credited with revolutionizing the art of his native Mexico. Although he studied for a lengthy period in Paris, when he returned to teach at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and later to head the Free Academy and initiate the Open Air Schools project, he encouraged his students to discard dated European methods of study and styles in lieu of natural inclinations and native subject matter. His desire to break with the past paralleled those fighters of the Mexican Revolution who ultimately succeeded in overthrowing foreign rule and establishing a Mexico proud of its own history and determined to set its own future. A daughter in need of medical attention brought the Martinez family to America, and they eventually settled in Los Angeles for the healthy climate. Unlike the three Mexican muralists of revolutionary subject matter (Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco) each of whom had a brief fiery impact on Los Angeles, Ramos-Martinez exposed Southern California to Mexican iconography over a long period of time and may have had a more enduring influence. In America he continued to paint easel works of his beloved flower and fruit vendors and his white-clad farm workers, and, in addition, moved by the suffering of his infant daughter he explored religious imagery in his uniquely modernist style.