Diego Rivera

James Oles, a Latin American art professor at Wellesley College, speaks at the Blanton Museum of Art on Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

A guest lecturer spoke about French painter Paul Cezanne’s influence on the work of Latin American artists Diego Rivera and Jesús Soto at the Blanton Museum of Art on Wednesday.

James Oles, a Latin American art professor at Wellesley College, specializes in modern Mexican art and architecture.

Oles presented the works of Cezanne and spoke about the natural images in the paintings. He also discussed the different landscapes used in Cezanne’s works and emphasized the importance of brushwork.

Oles pointed out the same elements in Mexican painter Rivera’s work. According to Oles, Rivera started as a cubist artist in 1914 and then shifted to a modernist style after observing the works of Cezanne. 

According to Oles, Rivera emulated Cezanne’s landscapes in his own works and portraits but incorporated his own style with more space and separation in his images.

Other aspects of Rivera’s art that Oles talked about included his geometric patterns and depiction of working class people.

Oles also discussed Venezuelan artist Jesús Soto, whose major works appeared in the 1960s. He is most notably recognized for penetrable sculptures, which consist of dangling tubes through which people can walk. 

“[Cezanne] wanted to make visible the world that touches us,” Oles said.

Oles also showed Soto’s optical wall works, which modeled the idea of Cezanne’s by creating “vibration” through the use of diagonals. In contrast to Rivera’s art, Oles pointed out that Soto made his paintings more three-dimensional. Oles concluded by saying that both artists had their own interpretations of Cezanne’s art.

Oles said that other Mexican abstract artists, in addition to Rivera and Soto, have been influenced by Cezanne’s work. Oles also talked about the importance of students getting a hands-on experience of art. 

Mathematics sophomore Jacob Caudell said he is interested in the underlying structure of realities.

“I’m interested in how art develops over time,” Caudell said. “They took the same body of work and did very different things with it. After this presentation, I’m understanding more about how artists respond to the art that has come before them.”

Oles will be giving another talk at the Art Building and Museum on Thursday at 7 p.m.

While not all students can say they have seen the work of Frida Kahlo in person, the Harry Ransom Center will have one of her most popular paintings on display during the 2014-2015 school year.

After being loaned to more than 25 museums around the globe, Kahlo’s “Self-portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” which was created in 1940, will be on display in the Ransom Center from Sept. 5 through March 31. “It is one of Kahlo’s most important self-portaits,” said Peter Mears, curator of art at the Ransom Center. “It is a rare painting, and it’s not going to be [at the center] forever.”

The painting has been featured in exhibitions since 1990 and is one of her most frequently borrowed paintings, travelling to countries, such as France, Italy and Australia. 

Kahlo, the Mexican painter famous for her self-portraits, has influenced many artists postmortem. Her self-portraits have been on display in museums in cities, such as Mexico City, Rome and Paris.

Kahlo was born in Mexico City and died there, at her home, known as La Casa Azul. According to the Frida Kahlo Foundation, her career as a painter started because of a tragic bus accident, in which she suffered injuries at 18. During her recovery, she looked to art to pass the time and taught herself how to paint. 

Eventually, Kahlo married the artist Diego Rivera in 1929 and from then on endured a temperamental relationship. Kahlo was involved in several affairs, including an affair with the Hungarian photographer Nickolas Murray. 

According to Mears, Kahlo’s inspiration for the painting from her relationships with both Rivera and Murray. 

“The animals you see are symbolic of both of her lovers,” Mears said. “The monkey represents Diego Rivera, and the black cat represents Nickolas Murray.”

Kahlo is known to have mostly painted self-portraits, symbolizing torment, pain and death. 

“She put herself on the spot,” said Sandra Fernandez, art and art history assistant professor. “She used herself to talk about a lot of things women go through.” 

After its time at the Ransom Center, Kahlo’s self portrait will move to New York for the “Frida Kahlo’s Botanical Garden” exhibition.