Mexican Kitchen

Description
The French-born artist Jean Charlot spent his early career during the 1920s in Mexico City. His 1948 lithograph depicts a scene from the domestic life of a Mexican indigenous woman, a favorite theme of the artist. Household work—without the aid of most, if any, electrical appliances—was a full-time job for many working-class and poor Mexican women, north and south of the border, well into the 20th century. Food preparation was especially labor-intensive. Corn had to be processed, wood gathered, and water fetched, in the midst of child rearing and other household duties. This was the daily fare of most women, who rarely worked outside the home after marriage. Mexican American women who found work in cities like El Paso in the early 20th century were either single or widowed. Many worked as domestic servants, others in industrial laundries or textile mills. Like today, some women turned to their kitchens to earn a living, making meager profits selling prepared food on the street to Mexican American workers and Mexican migrants.
Description (Spanish)
El artista francés Jean Charlot pasó los años 1920, a comienzos de su carrera, en la ciudad de México. Esta litografía suya de 1948 representa una escena de la vida doméstica de una mujer indígena, un tema favorito del artista. Las tareas domésticas—sin la ayuda de la mayor parte de los aparatos electrodomésticos—constituían un trabajo de todo el día para muchas mujeres pobres de la clase trabajadora de México, al norte y sur de la frontera, hasta bien entrado el siglo XX. La preparación de la comida era especialmente trabajosa. Debía procesarse el maíz, juntarse leña y acarrear el agua, sumados a la crianza de los hijos y otras obligaciones domésticas. Así era la vida diaria para la mayoría de las mujeres, quienes raramente trabajaban fuera del hogar una vez casadas. A principios del siglo XX, las mujeres mexicoamericanas que trabajaban, en ciudades como El Paso, eran solteras o viudas. Muchas se empleaban en el servicio doméstico, otras en lavanderías industriales o fábricas textiles. Al igual que en la actualidad, algunas mujeres convertían su cocina en un medio para ganarse la vida, obteniendo exiguas ganancias a través de la venta de comidas preparadas en la calle para trabajadores mexicoamericanos e inmigrantes mexicanos.
Location
Currently not on view
Date made
1948
graphic artist
Charlot, Jean
place made
United States: Colorado, Colorado Springs
Mexico
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 42.6 cm x 32.2 cm; 16 3/4 in x 12 11/16 in
ID Number
GA.23377
catalog number
23377
accession number
299563
Credit Line
Anonymous
subject
Food Culture
Latino
Immigration
Native Americans
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Cultures & Communities
Work
Mexican America
Art
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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