Work and Rest

The Graphic Arts Collection of the National Museum of American History houses an extensive series of prints by archeologist and artist Jean Charlot (1898–1979), and prominent Los Angeles printer Lynton Kistler (1897–1993). Charlot, the French-born artist of this print, spent his early career during the 1920s in Mexico City. As an assistant to the socialist painter Diego Rivera, he studied muralism, a Mexican artistic movement that was revived throughout Latino communities in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. This lithograph, titled Work and Rest contrasts the labor of an indigenous woman, grinding corn on a metate, with the slumber of her baby. Printed by Lynton Kistler in Los Angeles in 1956, it presents an image of a Mexican woman living outside the industrial age. This notion of "Old Mexico" unblemished by modernity appealed to many artists concerned in the early 20th century with the mechanization and materialism of American culture. It was also a vision that was packaged as an exotic getaway for many American tourists. It is worth contrasting the quaint appeal of an indigenous woman laboring over her tortillas with the actual industrialization of the tortilla industry. By 1956, this woman would likely have bought her tortillas in small stacks from the local tortillería, saving about six hours of processing, grinding, and cooking tortilla flour.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
graphic artist
Charlot, Jean
Kistler, Lynton R.
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 58.2 cm x 73.5 cm; 22 29/32 in x 28 15/16 in
place made
United States: California, Los Angeles
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Cultures & Communities
Food Culture
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)
Trabajo y Descanso

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