Roberto Nervo Montenegro
Mexican, 1885-1968

Roberto Montenegro Nervo once claimed to be a “subrealist” rather than a Surrealist for his easel paintings that mix reality and fantasy. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Arte at the same time as Diego Rivera, but then continued his training in Paris where he met Pablo Picasso, George Braques, and Juan Gris, who helped expose him to Cubism. He was influenced by other European styles of the time, particularly Symbolism and Art Nouveau. Even though he began to work more abstractly in his late career, Montenegro had a persisting interest in pre-Hispanic and colonial folk art. He was a prolific and popular portraitist and figure painter; from the 1940s to the ’60s, he made a series of self-portraits in which his own image was reflected in a convex mirror.

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