Toluca Market

This scene of the Toluca market was depicted by Alan Crane in 1946. Housed in the Graphic Arts Collection of the National Museum of American History, it is one of a series of lithographs of Mexican landscapes and genre scenes he printed during the 1940s. The growth of the tourist industry, rebounding after WWII, created a market for images of an idyllic Mexico—peaceful, scenic, and premodern. The elements of everyday life shown here—the densely packed stands of the ceramics vendors, the pulquería (a cantina that serves pulque, the fermented juice of the maguey plant), and the traditional dress of the marketeers—were as foreign to the urbanized Mexican American youth in Los Angeles, El Paso, and San Antonio as they were to American tourists seeking a memento of "Old Mexico." The generations of youths who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were fundamental in negotiating the language, aesthetics, and political vision that would constitute the contemporary culture of Mexican Americans. These young men and women, many of whom were war veterans as well as industrial and agricultural workers, created empowering images of Mexican Americans as they defined new roles for themselves as activists during the civil rights struggles of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
graphic artist
Crane, Alan
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 32 cm x 41.8 cm; 12 5/8 in x 16 7/16 in
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
Tourist Trade
Mexican America
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Title (Spanish)
Mercado de Toluca

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