Visiting Casa Estudio Diego Rivera

If you are interested in visiting Diego Rivera: Murals for the Museum of Modern Art — the show that opened this weekend at MoMA, consisting of a group of "portable murals" originally painted by Diego Rivera for his solo exhibition at the same museum in 1931 — you might be wondering about the artist's life. Where did he live? Where did he work? What was his personal style?

Here is a quick peek at the studio/house the artist commissioned for himself and his wife, Frida Kahlo, in 1931 in the San Angel neighborhood in Mexico City. It is one of the earliest modernist buildings in Mexico.

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The idea was to create a living/work space for both artists that would accommodate each one's needs. Designed by Mexican architect and artist, Juan O'Gorman, the final project consisted of two studio/houses (one for Diego and one for Frida) joined by a bridge.

Inspired by the Modernist ideas of Le Corbusier, the buildings were designed in a "Functionalist" style that includes Le Corbusier's 5 points of architecture: freestanding support pillars (pilotis), an open floor plan, a vertical façade free from supports, long horizontal windows and a roof terrace.

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Although the buildings are deliberately un-ornamented the interiors are still very warm, with wooden floors and abundant sunlight flooding in from the large windows (perfect for a painter's studio!).

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The decoration is very simple, with a few pieces of wooden and metallic green-colored furniture and a large number of handcrafts, including paper-maché devils and skeletons, and a collection of ceramic pots and pre-Columbian figurines.

Today, the studio/house is a museum which also holds exhibitions about Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Juan O'Gorman and their contemporaries.

Images: Omar Bárcena via flickr. Used with permission.

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