The McNay has an extremely important collection of Mexican prints of the modern period, with great depth in the works of artists who were members of the Taller de Gráfica Popular, the collaborative print workshop founded in Mexico City in 1937. The collection also has nearly every lithograph by Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco. So, it was a surprise to see the Mexican modernist print collection of Susan Toomey Frost because it contained only a handful of works that duplicated prints in the McNay’s collection. One of the reasons for this is that Frost lived and worked in Mexico for many years and actually knew some of the Mexican modernists, including Arturo Garcia Bustos and Rina Lazo. Because of these personal connections, the collection she developed is rather personal and unique. Furthermore, it beautifully dovetails with the McNay’s.
Frost is a great collector and her laser-sharp focus has landed upon some fascinating topics over the years, including the output of the San José tile workshop in San Antonio and the highly influential works of the German Mexican photographer Hugo Brehme. The fascinating thing about Frost as a collector is that once she feels she has exhausted a particular topic, an occasion sometimes marked by the publication of an indispensable catalogue, it is time for her to move on. Fortunately, she thought of the McNay when it was time to find a new home for her impressive collection of Mexican modernist prints.
Frost’s gifts of Mexican modern printmaking to the McNay number nearly 200. Some of the highlights include Alfredo Zalce’s masterpiece, En La Hamaca of 1945, rare impressions by the Tlaxcalan muralist and printmaker Desiderio Hernández Xochitiotzin, as well as prints by José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros that are new to the collection. This will be the first time that a selection of these gifts will be on public view.