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Jean Charlot

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Jean Charlot
20th century
(Paris, France, 1898 - 1979, Honolulu, Hawaii)

Born in Paris to a Mexican mother, Charlot studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Artes and was associated with the Catholic Left before travelling to Mexico in 1921 at the invitation of relatives. The following year he joined artists of the mural movement in what he has called the "Mexican Mural Renaissance." Charlot also participated in the avant-garde group, the Estridentistas, headquartered in Jalapa, and was active in the Syndicate of Technical Workers, Painters and Sculptors. Charlot was an important figure in the 'graphics renaissance' of the twenties. He had produced woodcuts while still in France and brought with him to Mexico the portfolio, Chemin de croix, that he had published in 1920. This portfolio of fifteen woodcuts served as inspiration for artists like Francisco Díaz de León, Gabriel Fernández Ledesma, and Fernando Leal. Charlot and Emilio Amero, who taught lithography at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes (San Carlos), also encouraged the artistic use of lithography. Although he left Mexico for New York in 1928, Charlot maintained close relations with artists of the Taller de Gráfica Popular. In 1947, he executed a portfolio of ten color lithographs with a Nahuatl text entitled Mexihkanantli (Mexican Mother), which was published through the TGP. From 1949 until he retired in 1966, Charlot taught drawing at the University of Hawaii.

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