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Siqueiros: His Connection to Robert Alan Smith © by KC Moore

July 6, 2011

In 1932, Millard Sheets, a young watercolorist teaching at Chouinard contacted Siqueiros to conduct a fresco classes.  Years later Robert Alan Smith, a student at Chouinard transferred to Escuela Universidad de Bellas Artes, San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico to study under Siqueiros.

Early Acrylic Painting

Robert lists on his resume the following classes taken in this famous art school in Mexico: mural painting, advanced painting, stone lithography, drawing, landscape painting and Spanish.  He attended September 1948 through December 1949 and then returned to the United States.

Robert worked on the mural project at the cathedral located at the school.  As they were in the process of painting it, in walks Siqueiros wearing a bandoleer (a shoulder belt carrying cartridges).  He strides in and strikes a pose with hands on hips.  He assesses the progress and declares “It is too low, raise it up!”  To understand the dismay the students felt it must be understood that this was at the bottom level of a 300-400 year old building.

They stare at him, speechless.  He registers their reaction and declares with a wave of his hand “dig down two feet” as if it was a common request and then left.  Although they were dumbfounded, they commenced to gather shovels and remove

Early Oil Painting

two feet of age-compacted dirt….thus raising the mural to the height directed by Siqueiros.

This is but one of the many colorful stories about Robert Alan Smith.  In recounting this story he also stated “This is the only instructor I ever had who wore a bandoleer”.

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One Comment
  1. ruthmalo permalink

    Toni, very interesting. He had a colorful art education, but was not boastful.

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