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Guide to the Taller de Gráfica Popular collection, 1935-1995, bulk 1953-1958
BANC PIC 1999.039--D  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Organizational History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Collection Title: Taller de Gráfica Popular collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1935-1995
    Date (bulk): , bulk 1953-1958
    Collection number: BANC PIC 1999.039--D
    Collector: Taller de Gráfica Popular (Mexico City, Mexico)
    Extent: 945 items (chiefly posters)
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Abstract: A collection of nearly 1,000 twentieth century graphic artworks produced by Mexico City’s Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP, Popular Graphic Arts Workshop). Works are primarily monochrome relief prints in the form of posters, volantes, and portfolio editions, but also included are illustrations, "calaveras” and "calacas” series booklets, exhibit catalogs, and some working drawings.
    Languages represented: Collection materials are in Spanish
    Physical location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright status unknown. Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.X.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    Requests to reproduce, publish, quote from, or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head of Access Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and does not constitute permission from the copyright owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See: http://bancroft.berkeley.edu/reference/permissions.html  

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Taller de Gráfica Popular collection, BANC PIC 1999.039: [item number], The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Alternate Forms Available

    There are no alternate forms of this collection.

    Related Collections

    Bancroft Library collections containing other Latin American posters include:
    Mexican posters on social and educational themes (BANC PIC 2001.206)
    Data Center poster collection (BANC PIC 1999.087)
    Roberto Berdecio papers, 1931-1995 (BANC MSS 2003/233 m)

    Separated Material

    Some materials acquired by the Library at various times have been cataloged separately. Search the library’s catalog under the corporate author name: Taller de Gráfica Popular.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    The Taller de Gráfica Popular collection was assembled by The Bancroft Library through a series of purchases from several vendors between 1999 and 2004.


    Future additions are expected.

    Processing History

    Processed by Lincoln Cushing in 2005, with prior arrangement and descriptive work under the direction of Walter Brem.


    Items in the Taller de Gráfica Popular collection have been assigned item numbers as they are received and inventoried by the library. These are simply sequential numbers appended to the collection number (BANC PIC 1999.039). They reflect no intellectual arrangement, no evidence as to provenance, and they are not related to the creation of the items in any way. The numbers are required for item identification and retrieval from storage.
    For ease of use, the finding aid has been arranged alphabetically by artist’s name, then sub-ordered chronologically. Materials by unknown artists are arranged alphabetically by title following the listings for known artists. Work by multiple artists is listed under the artist’s name that falls first alphabetically. No cross-referencing is available at this time.

    Organizational History

    Mexico’s foremost political printshop, the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP, Popular Graphic Arts Workshop) has an important place in Mexico’s long history of printmaking in the service of social change. This tradition is largely credited to the seminal work of Jose Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) who was a printmaker and social critic during the Mexican Revolution. The TGP coalesced as an organization in 1937 after the collapse of the Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (LEAR, Revolutionary Writers’ and Artists’ League) founded three years earlier.
    The Taller was a vibrant collective of established and emerging artists committed to the direct use of visual art in the service of social change. The Taller became a magnet in the international progressive design community, and several U.S. artists (such as Elizabeth Catlett, Pablo O’Higgins, and Mariana Yampolsky) produced work there. Within ten years, similar workshops had sprung up in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and New York. Links with the United States ran deep throughout the TGP’s history, and included commercial contract work, shows (the TGP exhibited in the U.S. at least 73 times between 1936 and 1965), artist exchanges, and conferences. Some of the classic struggles that played out in the TGP included the role of individual artists in a collective setting, consequences of alliances with political factions, and the relationship of market art to free public work.
    Their medium of choice was monochrome relief prints – linoleum prints, woodcuts, and lithographs. Only occasional multicolor images appear, as do screenprints, engravings, and other print techniques. Prints were generally single sheet items, although some works are quite large for this medium (35 x 90 cm) and were designed to be pasted together into two-sheet posters. Artists in the TGP created work in a wide variety of formats, including posters, fine art prints, "volantes” (handbills, 34x23 centimeter prints on thin colored paper), portfolio editions (most of which were produced as fundraisers), banners, "wall newspapers,” and book illustrations. The subject matter includes land reform, class struggle, progressive electoral candidates, anti-war and anti-imperialist movements, solidarity with other countries, folklife, labor and trade unions, Mexican revolutionary history and heroes, and other progressive causes.
    The preeminent published source on the TGP is Helga Prignitz’s El Taller de Gráfica Popular en México 1937-1977 (Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico, 1992, UC Berkeley library NE544.6.T34 P754), but material in English is hard to come by. Of note are two excellent recent unpublished doctoral dissertations – Alison McClean’s "El Taller de Grafica Popular: Printmaking and Politics in Mexico and Beyond, from the Popular Front to the Cuban Revolution” (University of Essex, 2000, UC Berkeley library NE544.6.T34 M3 2000a \f\) and Susan Valerie Richards’ "Imagining the Political: El Taller de Grafica Popular in Mexico, 1937-1949” (University of New Mexico, 2001, UC Berkeley library NE544.6 T34 R5 2001a). Other significant collections in the West include the University of New Mexico’s Center for Southwest Research and Stanford Library’s Special Collections.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Bancroft Library’s collection of works from the Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP, Popular Graphic Arts Workshop) numbers just under 1,000 distinct items and has been built by the library through commercial vendor purchases. The collection consists primarily of posters, volantes, and portfolio editions, but also includes illustrations, "calaveras” and "calacas” series booklets, exhibit catalogs, and working drawings. These include prints by numerous artists who worked with the Taller, and examples of almost every genre of work produced. Among the most notable holdings are numerous anti-Nazi posters from the years preceding the second world war, "Estampas de la revolucion mexicana" (a 1947 85-print portfolio), and a suite of 1958 election campaign materials.
    Although the TGP still exists in 2004, its output is considerably lower than previous periods, and the Bancroft collection’s strength is the material printed during the late 1930s through the early 1960s. The most well-represented artists, and the approximate numbers of prints held by each of them, are: Alberto Beltrán (61), Angel Bracho (59), Arturo García Bustos (16), Elizabeth Catlett (7), Adolfo Mexiac (30), Pablo O’Higgins (11), Francisco Luna (29), Leopoldo Méndez (38), Francisco Mora (51), Leopoldo Morales Pradexis (14), Adolfo Quinteros (22), Diego Rivera (21), Mariana Yampolsky (23), and Alfredo Zalce (15).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Taller de Gráfica Popular (Mexico City, Mexico)
    Catlett, Elizabeth, 1915-
    Beltrán, Alberto [1923-2002]
    Méndez, Leopoldo [1902-1969]
    O'Higgins, Pablo, 1904-
    Yampolsky, Mariana, 1925-
    Political posters, Mexican
    Politics and culture--Mexico--Pictorial works
    Social justice--Mexico--Pictorial works
    Peace movements--Mexico--Pictorial works
    Labor movement--Mexico--Pictorial works
    Communism--Mexico--Pictorial works
    Anti-fascist movements--Mexico--Pictorial works
    Relief prints