Flower Festival: Feast of Santa Anita, 1931

Rivera spent the tumultuous years of the Mexican Revolution (1910-20) painting and traveling abroad in Europe. Upon returning to his native country in 1921, he exalted indigenous Mexican people and traditions, making them a central subject of his work. As he later recalled, "My homecoming aroused an aesthetic rejoicing in me which is impossible to describe. . . . Everywhere I saw a potential masterpiece - in the crowds, the markets, the festivals, the marching battalions, the workers in the workshops, the fields - in every shining face, every radiant child." This painting, depicting a flower festival held on Good Friday in a town then called Santa Anita, was included in a solo exhibition of Rivera's work at MoMA in 1931.

Only the second artist (after Henri Matisse) to receive this honor, Rivera was, at the time, an international celebrity: the New York Sun hailed him as "the most talked about artist on this side of the Atlantic."