José Clemente Orozco, Mural Artist

The rich, complex murals of artist José Clemente Orozco grace the walls of respected institutions throughout the Americas.  Orozco was born in Jalisco, Mexico, on November 23, 1883.  Orozco faced numerous hardships in his passionate pursuit of art.  A gunpowder explosion in his youth destroyed part of his left hand and wrist, and partially blinded him.  While establishing himself as an artist, he endured financial difficulties and misunderstanding.  In 1917, when he traveled to North America for the first time, the US Customs Service seized his work as indecent – his wrenching, realistic scenes of war, injustice, tyranny, and desperation were ahead of their time.  Orozco achieved recognition later in his life. One of his most famous works is in New Hampshire, in Dartmouth College’s Baker Memorial Library.  He painted “The Epic of American Civilization” while at Dartmouth from 1932 to 1934.  The mural covers 3,200 square feet and displays the history of the Americas from the migration of the Aztecs into central Mexico to the development of modern industrialized society.