ARTISTS OF THE MEXICAN HERITAGE
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELONG TO THIS ELITE?


     In 1943 took place the first decree in which all the work of Jose Maria Velazco enter the category of Historical an Artistic Monument. Then came another series of decrees in which the work of Jose Clement Orozco,Diego Rivera, Gerardo Murillo Coronado, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Frida Kahlo , and Saturnino Herrán enter in the following dates: December 15th, 1959; August 25th, 1964; July 18th, 1980; July 18th, 1984; December 8th, 1988.

     It had to happen more than a decade until the 26th December 2001, the Secretary of Public Education by the agreements 307 and 317. Declare 38 works produced by the exiled Spanish who lived and die in Mexico (1908-1963) Remdios Varo and Maria Izquierdo.

     All these artists are among the Elite of the Modern Mexican Painting. But what does it mean to belong to it? What is the privilege to be in this category? If there is any? Who are the beneficiaries if all of the artists were named after their death?

     According to the law the steps to follow by a private collector when his owns any peace of these artists is as follows. Once the decree is published in the Official Diary of the Federation. The Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), will be the institution in charge to follow up, according to what was established by the Federal law of of Arqiological zones, Artistic s and Monuments and its Rules. There is a time frame to register the  work.

     In Theory Those who do not register the work are violating the law. However Bellas Artes does not posses an accurate data. Other problem arises when certain piece is sold and changes hands, assuming that the collector notified Bellas Artes during the time frame of the decree; he would have to notify again that the piece does not belong to him any more, to distance liability. This is something that in the real life few times occures.

     The Data bases is not updated and in most of the cases obsolete. It is worth to mention the steps to follow to select an artist to become an artist of the national heritage. A Commission Board is name its members are selected from:

a) The General Director of the Bellas Artes Institute.

b) A Representative of the  Urban development and Ecology Secretary.

c) A Representative of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

d) Three people linked with Art designated by the General Director of Bellas Artes Institute.

     In the Cases of Remedios Varo and Maria Izquierdo it was wise that no all the works were name in the decree as it ocurre in the work of Rivera, Orozco and Siqueiros to name just a few; not only easel work but graphic work as well. These is a big mistake because not all the work has the same quality or even worst some times is undone. In Other cases the argument could be that more than artistic is a historical document, however some times the topics and the subjects are aliens to the country.

     Now taking a glance at the benefits of belonging to this category the law of Arqiological Zones and Artist Monuments in it article 33 mention that no work of a living artist can enter this category. This is not new in the country nor exclusive in art . Seldom a tribute is done once someone who has contributed to make bigger the name of Mexico is done in live. In the specific case of the art market the work for its sell revalues, however from time to time the owners of the work in most cases is the family of the artist and they face some of the padlocks that emerge once they enter this category.

1) The family looks the way to make profits out of trying to sell the pieces that they still poses. It is very common to find prices way beyond the once the market shows.

2) The possibility of potential clients narrows to those national or foreigner s living in Mexico. Otherwise the work can only leave the country with a temporary permit of export. Which is given by the corespondent Authorities.

3) The forgery of the artists arises; as a consequence of its new given status.

     Without hesitation is worth to study the good work that has been done in matters of protecting the artistic work. As an example to mention is the case of the Torres de Satelite (Mathias Goeritz, Luis Barragan, Jesus Reyes). But on the other hand it is worth as well to inspect, what could be done to protect and promote; collecting the great Mexican Art.

By Ricardo Suarez Haro
Art Consultant
Mexico City                                                                             
 

The above article reprinted courtesy of:
Ricardo Suarez Haro


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