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An Homage to Miguel Covarrubias

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Uploaded on Jan 17, 2008

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Miguel Covarrubias (November 22, 1904 Mexico City — February 4, 1957) was a Mexican painter and caricaturist, ethnologist and art historian. Unsatisfied with the start of his career in Mexico, he moved to New York City in 1924, drew for several top magazines, married the dancer Rosa Roland, and lived there until 1932 when he took a trip to Southeast Asia (Java, Bali, India, Vietnam), Africa and Europe as a Guggenheim Fellow, and returned to Mexico City where he taught ethnology at the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia.

His artwork and celebrity caricatures have been featured in The New Yorker and Vanity Fair magazines. The linear nature of his drawing style was highly influential to other caricaturists such as Al Hirschfeld. Covarrubias also did some wonderful illustrations for the famous Limited Editions Club of NY including Batouala, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Discovery and Conquest of Mexico, Green Mansions, and Pearl Buck's All Men Are Brothers. These editions are very sought after by collectors. He also worked as an illustrator for W.C. Handy's publications.

Covarrubias is known for his analysis of pre-Colombian art of Mesoamerica, particularly that of the Olmec culture, and his theory of Mexican cultural diffusion to the north, particularly to the Mississippian Native American Indian cultures. His analysis of iconography presented a strong case that the Olmec predated the Classic Era years before this was confirmed by archaeology. His interest in anthropology went beyond the arts and beyond the Americas -- Covarrubias lived in and wrote a thorough ethnography of the "Island of Bali".

The accompanying music is called "Animals of the Jungle" by Miklos Rozsa from the soundtrack of the movie "Jungle Book" 1942.

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