Jose Clemente Orozco (1883-1949)

Do you think you may own a painting by Jose Clemente Orozco? We perform art authenticationsart appraisalsart research and provide Certificates of Authenticity (COA) as well as consultations, for all paintings by Jose Clemente Orozco. Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Jose Clemente Orozco would overcome much and eventually be known as one of the great Mexican muralists. Early in his career, he would suffer the loss of his left hand, only to use this trauma as a source of inspiration.

La Cantina

A leader of the Vanguard and Revolutionary movements, Orozco originally started his art career as a political cartoonist and draftsman. It wasn’t until the end of the Revolutionary War that Orozco began to paint murals. During this time, he attended the academy at San Carlos, studying under Dr. Atl and working alongside Diego Rivera.

Gods of the Modern World, 1932
mural, Dartmouth College

In 1917, Orozco moved to New York to further his art career. During this time, he lost his left hand in a gunpowder accident. It was after this accident that hands began to become a central focus in his work. Not only were hands a symbol of his own struggles but of the working class as well. It was also during this time that the anatomy of Orozco’s figures in his murals and art became very muscular with geometric shapes in the background.

Modern Migration of the Spirit, 1933
mural, Dartmouth College

It was known that Orozco did not want to be put into any artistic category. This is probably for the best, because it would indeed be difficult to categorize his work. With a color palette reminiscent of old European styles, Cubist influences, and Mexican cultural themes, Orozco’s work is simply his own.


Because of his involvement in the Revolution and Vanguard movements, Orozco is also described as a Social Realist. One of his best-known works is Prometheus, 1930, a fresco mural at Pomona College in California. This was his first work in the United States and shows Orozco’s use of muscular figures.


While Orozco is typically known for his murals, he also left behind a number of oil paintings as well. From 1942 to 1946, it is known that he primarily worked on easel paintings and portraits as well as ballet stage decorations. Like all master artists, Orozco also worked in lithography and engravings, and mainly produced the bulk of these from 1926 to 1935 and then again for a brief time in 1944.


During his transition from oil paintings and sketches to murals, it is known that Orozco destroyed or erased a number of his first compositions. Like with all things that are thrown away or misplaced, the likelihood of some of his earlier work surviving this rejection period is very great.

Furthermore, Orozco, like other muralists, was known to create sketches of his murals before he would launch them. Many of these sketches are surely in existence today and would be of great value to the institutions where his murals are forever installed.

Mujer Mexicana, 1926

While Orozco’s style was ever evolving, like his fellow muralists, his style is generally easy to recognize. His themes were always socially or politically driven, be it a mural of the masses or a woman symbolically riding a tiger.

Stairway ceiling mural of Hidalgo

Do you think you may own a portrait, lithography or mural sketch from this great Mexican master? We authenticateappraise, research all works by Jose Clemente Orozco.

Maguey, 1921