Diego Rivera produced a number of paintings in Spain during a trip there in the early 20th century and one of those is displayed here. Rivera would have felt at home in Spain because of the cultural similarities between the nation and his own, but there still would have also been plenty of surprising discoveries to be found here which could potentially inspire new artworks. In Street in Avila we find a small track leading up to a series of buildings, with a brick wall cutting across on the horizontal. Plump trees lines the street and the architecture is memorably white, which is commonly the case within Spain. This is an interesting composition in many ways, where the artist chooses to ignore humanity completely and focus solely on this sleepy street where Rivera must instead cover other content. Whilst being most famous for his works in Social Realism, this artist was actually fairly varied in the genres in which he worked.
Rivera travelled around Spain with friend and fellow artist, Eduardo Chicharro. They were perhaps inspired by some of the work of Joaquin Sorolla who is particularly well represented in Madrid and his native Valencia and exposure to some of his paintings such as Women Walking on the Beach, Sewing the Sail and Hall of the Ambassadors, Alhambra, Granada, may have been the reason for them travelling around Spain in search of inspiration for their work. We are aware of six specific paintings produced by Rivera during his this trip, but there may potentially have been more with some later lost or destroyed. The titles of these pieces were Saint Vincent's Gate in Ávila, Nocturne, The Virgin of the Head plus Ávila Morning, (The Amblés Valley), Street in Ávila, (The Quiet Hour and Avila Landscape). These delightful items offer something different and refreshing from his overall oeuvre and so are important additions to the museum in which they are today displayed.
Street in Avila resides in the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City alongside a number of other paintings by the artist. Thankfully, despite Rivera's international acclaim which he built up over a number of decades, many of his artworks still reside within his native Mexico today and their presence within major public galleries should ensure that they do not move on anytime soon. His work helps us to understand and celebrate Mexican culture and so serve a more significant role than just being from a respected artist alone. For example, he covered the lives of the poor in great detail and this side of society is often under reported by historians and other artists who prefer to focus on the rich and famous or perhaps produce work which is entirely disconnected from the real world. Zapata-style Landscape, The House on the Bridge and Portrait of Adolfo Best Maugard are all also to be found within this gallery.