CHARLOT JEAN

FRANCE [1898-1979]

Jean Charlot is generally recognized as having brought international attention to José Guadalupe Posada, a Mexican printer who had produced more than 15 thousand prints and lithographs, devoted mostly to the popular readers of newspapers in pre-revolutionary Mexico, in which he would present political satires using cartoon-like skeletons. The original style and plastic language of Posada's art struck Charlot when he saw his prints being sold in 1922 on street corners, and he went on to find his forgotten printing blocks (woodcuts, leadcuts, zinccuts, etc.) in the workshop of Posada's former publisher. With O'Higgins and the son of Posada's publisher, Charlot participated in 1928 and 1930 in the publication of catalogues of Posada's prints, a project conceived by Frances Toor which piqued public interest in Posada. Posada's skeletons and skulls, rooted in pre-Hispanic religious ritual, were later adapted by Rivera, Frida Kahlo, O'Higgins, and many others, and are now icons acknowledged worldwide as being at the heart of Mexican popular art and handcrafts. Jean Charlot himself was much interested in and also started avant-garde woodcut.