Luis Arenal (1909-1985)
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Mujer de Tasco, 1944
Luis Arenal was born in Tabasco, Mexico in 1909. Arenal spent a short amount of time in Aguascalientes, relocating to Mexico City with his mother after his father died during military service.
Arenal was expelled from his parochial school for reading subversive literature and switched to a trade school where he focused on mechanical engineering. Arenal travelled to Los Angeles to study architecture, simultaneously supporting himself by washing gasoline cans.
Arenal returned to Mexico in the 1920s and worked as a translator in an advertising office. Arenal continued his diverse studies, taking courses in both law and sculpture.
In 1930 Arenal started to paint on a serious level and held exhibitions throughout California. Arenal collaborated with Mexican muralist Siqueiros and at the Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles, California.
Arenal went back to Mexico for a position as General Secretary of the Mexican League Against War and Fascism. Arenal’s work took him to New York, where he exhibited and painted frescoes in Bellevue Hospital. Arenal worked with Leopoldo Méndez among others to cofound the “Taller de Grafica Popular” (TGP) in 1937. In 1939 Arenal collaborated with Siqueiros once on a mural in the building of the Electrical Workers’ Union, Mexico City.
Mujeres de Perfil
Arenal married Macrina Rabadan, a Mexican teacher, feminist and organizer of the Peasant Leagues in the state of Guerrero. Arenal and his wife spent some time in Guerrero, where Arenal painted murals in rural schools.
Death of Zapata, 1937
Arenal is important for his artistic accomplishments in both Mexico and the United States. Arenal worked tirelessly on murals supporting social change and education. Arenal exhibited extensively with the TGP and as a solo artist. Do you think you own a Luis Arenal? Contact us. We are the Arenal experts.