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.

Date Made: 1956

Graphic Artist: Charlot, JeanPrinter: Kistler, Lynton R.

Description (Spanish): La Colección de Artes Gráficas del Museo Nacional de Historia Americana alberga una extensa serie de grabados del arqueólogo y artista Jean Charlot (1898-1979), y del prominente grabador de Los Ángeles Lynton Kistler (1897-1993). Nacido en Francia, Chralot, autor original de esta ilustración, pasó los comienzos de su carrera durante la década de 1920, en la ciudad de México. Como asistente del pintor socialista Diego Rivera, estudió muralismo, un movimiento artístico mexicano que resurgió en las comunidades latinas de los Estados Unidos en las décadas de los '60 y '70. Esta litografía, titulada <i>Trabajo y Descanso</i> contrasta la labor de una mujer indígena moliendo maíz con un metate, con el letargo de su bebé. Impreso por Lynton Kistler en Los Ángeles en 1956, simboliza la imagen de una mujer mexicana con una vida al margen de la era industrial. Esta noción del "Viejo México" impoluto por la modernidad resultaba atractiva para los artistas de principios del siglo XX, preocupados por la mecanización y el materialismo de la cultura americana. También constituía una visión que se envasaba como un escape exótico para muchos turistas americanos. Vale la pena contrastar el pintoresco atractivo de una mujer indígena trabajando para hacer tortillas con la industrialización actual de la fabricación de tortillas. Ya hacia el año 1956 esta mujer probablemente hubiera comprado sus tortillas en pequeñas cantidades en la tortillería del barrio, ahorrándose las 6 horas de trabajo aproximadas que le hubiera llevado procesar, moler y cocinar la harina de maíz ella misma.Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: California, Los Angeles

Subject: LatinoFood Culture


See more items in: Work and Industry: Graphic Arts, Cultures & Communities, Work, Mexican America, Art


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Anonymous

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: GA.23355.05Catalog Number: 23355.05Accession Number: 299563

Object Name: printObject Type: LithographOther Terms: print; Lithograph

Physical Description: paper (overall material)ink (overall material)Measurements: overall: 58.2 cm x 73.5 cm; 22 29/32 in x 28 15/16 in


Record Id: nmah_798112

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