Pablo O'Higgins

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Pablo Esteban O'Higgins
Born Paul Higgins Stevenson[1]
(1904-03-01)1 March 1904[1]
Salt Lake City, Utah, United States[1]
Died 16 July 1983(1983-07-16) (aged 79)[1]
Nationality Mexican[1]
Education Academy of Arts, San Diego[1]
Known for Painting

Pablo Esteban O'Higgins (born Paul Higgins Stevenson; March 1, 1904 - July 16, 1983) was an American-Mexican artist, muralist and illustrator.

Born in Salt Lake City, Utah, O'Higgins was raised there and in San Diego, California.[1] In 1922 he abandoned his first career as a pianist and entered the Academy of Arts in San Diego.[1] Within two years he'd become a student of Diego Rivera, assisting Rivera on his murals at the National School of Agriculture at Chapingo, and the Public Education Secretariat.[2]

Like Rivera, O'Higgins became an active member of the Mexican Communist Party.[1] He immigrated to Mexico permanently in 1924, joined the party in 1927,[1] and maintained his party membership until 1947.[1] His political illustrations for the Daily Worker won him a year's study at the Academy of Art in Moscow on a Soviet Scholarship in 1933.[3]

In 1937, O'Higgins was the co-founder, with fellow artists Leopoldo Méndez and Luis Arenal, of the Taller de Gráfica Popular ("People's Graphic Workshop").[1] The Taller became inspiration to many politically active leftist artists; for example, American expressionist painter Byron Randall went on to found similar artist collectives after becoming an associate member.[4] [5] In May 1940 O'Higgins had the honor of being the only non-native Mexican artist with work included in the seminal "Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art" exhibit organized by the Museum of Modern Art.[3]

In 1961 O'Higgins was awarded honorary Mexican citizenship for "his contributions to the national arts and education".[1] His mural work can be seen at the Abelardo L. Rodriguez Market, Mexico City, and his 1945 is installed in Kane Hall at the University of Washington in Seattle.[6][7][8] The mural depicts SSU’s history as a strongly anti-racist, anti-discriminatory, and progressive force in social politics. [9]

Among O'Higgins' students was the American graphic designer Bob Cato.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Murray, Edmundo (2007-03-01). "Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography - O'Higgins, Pablo". Society for Irish Latin American Studies. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  2. ^ Rochfort, Desmond, Mexican Muralists: Orozco, Rivera Siqueiros, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 1993
  3. ^ a b "Pablo O´Higgins , 1904 - 1983". Andrés Blaisten Museum. Retrieved 8 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Makin, Jean, ed. (1999). Codex Mendez. Tempe: Arizona State U. See also Prignitz, Helga (1992). El Taller de Gráfica Popular en México 1937–1977. Mexico: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes.
  5. ^ Vogel, Susan (2010). Becoming Pablo O’Higgins. San Francisco/Salt Lake City: Pince-Nez Press.
  6. ^ Gomez Florez, Laura (2008-05-19). "Remodelan el histórico mercado Abelardo L. Rodríguez como parte del rescate del Centro" (in Spanish). Mexico City: La Jornada. Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  7. ^ Oscar Rosales Castañeda. "The Chicano Movement in Washington State 1967-2006 Part 2- Chicano Cultural Awakening". University of Washington. 
  8. ^ Gigi Peterson (2011). "Recobrando / Recovering The Struggle against Racial Discrimination: The Journey of the Pablo O’Higgins Mural for Seattle Ship Scalers Union" (PDF). Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 8 (4): 7–40. doi:10.1215/15476715-1375294. The Struggle against Racial Discrimination moved from the basement of Kane Hall to its second floor, which it dominates. (p. 40) 
  9. ^ Farley, Adam. "The Ship Scalers Union and Seattle’s Racial Progressivism in the 20th Century". Retrieved 12 March 2015. 
  10. ^ "Bob Cato, 75, Designer of Covers for Albums". The New York Times. 20 March 1999. 

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