10 Latino Artists To Know

When it comes to Latin American art, most people immediately think of Frida Kahlo. While Kahlo certainly contributed to the rise of Latinos (and women) in art, she is joined by countless Mexican, Colombian, Dominicans, Cubans and more who have contributed some of the most beautiful, controversial, thought-provoking works of art existing today. 

From Fernando Botero to Jean-Michel Basquiat, here are 10 Latino artists to know. 

1. Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo (1907-1954)

Probably the most popular and recognizable Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo is best known for her surrealist self-portraits. Kahlo's work reflects much of the emotional and physical pain of her life. A child at the onset of the Mexican Revolution, Kahlo experienced a difficult upbringing that included war and a case of polio which permanently disfigured her leg, and a bus accident that left her with a broken spinal column, broken collarbone, broken ribs, broken pelvis and crushed right foot. The injuries sustained during the bus accident also prevented her from having children for the rest of her life. 

She is perhaps best known for her series of self-portraits, which helped her cope with her physical and psychological pain. 

2. Wifredo Lam

Wifredo Lam (1902 - 1982)

Born and raised in Cuba, Wifredo Lam was of mixed-race, including Chinese, Congolese and Cuban mulatto ancestry. He used his work as a means to revive the Afro-Cuban culture, and drew on influences from his unique background. One of his main supporters and friends included Picasso, who influenced his work in countless ways and is believed to have encouraged Lam to pursue his own interpretation of modernism. One of his most iconic works, "The Jungle", can be seen at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. 

3. Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 - 1988)

Part-Puerto Rican painter Jean-Michel Basquiat became renowned in the 1970's and '80s as a pop culture icon, graffiti artist, musician and painter. He first hit the scene as part of the graffiti group SAMO, but later became known for his neo-expressionist paintings and relationships with high-profile celebrities like Madonna and David Bowie. 

A longtime collaborator and friend of Andy Warhol, Basquiat became addicted to heroin following his death, and sadly died of an overdose in 1988. His work and experimental art lived on past his death, and have become iconic reminders of his generation. 

4. Diego Rivera

Diego Rivera (1886 - 1957)

Diego Rivera stands among the most famous Mexican muralists of all time. Known for his radical political and religion beliefs, Rivera often painted scenes that dealt with Mexican society and the Mexican Revolution of 1910. 

One of Rivera's most renowned works reside in the Palacio Nacional in Mexico City. There, he painted a series of murals that adorn the main stairwell and the walls of the second floor. The murals, collectively titled "The Epic of the Mexican People", depict the history of Mexico from 1521 to 1930, and cover over 4,800 sq. feet. 

 

5. David Alfaro Siqueiros

David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896 - 1974)

Along with Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros established "Mexican Muralism." Like his two counterparts, Siqueiros had strong political beliefs. A Stalinist and member of the Mexican Communist Party, Siqueiros political and artistic beliefs often intertwined — as can be seen in one of his most provocative works, "The Birth of Fascism."  

6. José Clemente Orozco

José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949)

Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco specialized in murals, particularly focusing upon themes of politics and human suffering. He promoted the political causes of peasants through his dramatic works.

One of his most famous works — a mural called "The People And Its Leaders" — lies at the Jalisco Governmental Palace in Jalisco, Guadalajara. On the staircase stands one of the most recognizable pieces from the mural: a picture of Miguel Hidalgo, the father of Mexican Independence, holding a flaming torch. 

7. Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero (1932 - Present)

Colombian painter and sculpter Fernando Botero is best known for depicting figures in large, exaggerated volume. This style, known as Boterismo, can help express a political message, one of humor, or one of love.

New Yorkers might recognize Botero's signature style — two of his statues stand in the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. Those in the UK might have seen his work at the Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, where his "Dancers" sculpture stands among the background of the beautiful, English countryside. 

8. Rufino Tamayo

Rufino Tamayo (1899 - 1991)

Along with contemporary Mexican muralists like Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo sought to use his work to represent his native Mexico. He created an abundance of graphic work, called "Mixografia" prints, that gave him and future artists license to use multiple solid materials in the creation process. You may recognize one of his more famous works, "Moon Dog." 

9. Roberto Matta

Roberto Matta (1911 - 2002)

Born in Santiago, Roberto Matta became one of the best-known Chilean painters of all time and an important figure in Surrealism. His work is known for its abstract nature and blend of real and cosmic lifeforms. One of his more recognizable works — "La Mela" — showcases his unusual aeshetic. 

10. Cundo Bermúdez

Cundo Bermúdez (1914 - 2008) 

Cundo Bermúdez is best known for his Modernist style that depicted life in his native Cuba. His paintings became renowned for their vivid colors and tropical warmth — like "Barber Shop", a painting which now resides in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.