María Izquierdo was a female Mexican painter born in 1902. A student of Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo, Izquierdo devoted her life to making and experimenting with art. Her subject matters varied, containing women, shrines, and animals.
Despite the fact that her style somewhat resembled surrealism, Izquierdo did not identify her work as such. The defining feature of her work is in fact its inability to be categorized. Izquierdo rejected labels and instead explored subject matter and themes that interested her. She embraced traditional Mexican culture and incorporated such images into her art. For example, she would paint women wearing traditional Mexican clothing, or images of the country side and religious icons. Distinctive folk elements mark her work.
Compared to her contemporaries Leonora Carrington or Remedios Varo, Izquierdo had a different stance on feminism. As visible in her artwork, she took greater interest in depicting the traditional role women had in families. She was fascinated by how modern women continued to perpetuate traditional Mexican customs and their role in families. Consequently, the female subject dominated her art. In her self portraits, she portrayed herself either alone or with family.
Much like how she rejected the political, national identity of the Muralists during her time such as Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, Izquierdo also rejected labels such as ‘surrealist’ and ‘feminist’ for her works. An independent-minded artist who refused to follow the sociopolitical and artistic inclinations of her time, María Izquierdo was in her own right a groundbreaking figure and paved the way for future for female artists.