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Unknown drawing of Frida and Diego at the Oakland Museum

18 October 2014

Janet Bishop was doing a database search for Frida Kahlo at the San Francisco Museum of Art when up popped “Untitled (Memory Drawing of Diego Rivera),” a pastel-and-charcoal image of the bearish Mexican master with his hand draped over the shoulder of his diminutive, turquoise-wearing wife, Kahlo.

It was drawn in the 1930s by Charles Stafford Duncan, a mostly forgotten Social Realist painter who was one of the left-leaning, bohemian San Francisco artists who gathered around Rivera when the great man worked on a series of landmark murals here during the Depression. Bishop, SFMOMA’s curator of painting and sculpture, knew Duncan’s name but had never seen this drawing. She fished it out of storage and gave it a gander.

Echo of Rivera

“It’s very fresh. We’re excited to show it,” says Bishop, one of the curators from SFMOMA and the Oakland Museum of California who jointly organized “Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California,” which opens Saturday at the Oakland Museum. “This was interesting not only because it captured Rivera and Kahlo, but it also seems the artist was taking on something of Rivera’s style.”

taken from SFGate article about the exhibition

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