MEXICO CITY.- Mexican intellectual Antonieta Rivas Mercado, who promoted her country's culture in the second decade of the 20th Century and who committed suicide at the Cathedral in Notre Dame, receives a tribute with an exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City.
The exhibit, which opens today, reviews the life and cultural context of the intellectual, says Martha Gargollo, president of the foundation that bears the last name of the patron and of her father, the architect Antonio Rivas Mercado, author of such works of art as the Angel of Independence that is located in Paseo de la Reforma in the capital of Mexico.
Gargollo recognized that Antonieta Rivas career is not well known, even though she was one of the main art, culture and literature promoters in Mexico in the 1920s, especially Turing the latter days of her life.
Rivas Mercado (1900-1931) supported writers such as Andres Henestrosa, Xavier Villaurrutia, Salvador Novo and Gilberto Owen, and painters Roberto Montenegro, Julio Castellanos and Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, among others.
She also founded the first independent theatre in the country, the Ulysses, and formed and financed the patronage for the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Carlos Chavez.
She was a versatile woman, intelligent, passionate, who dedicated many years of her life to Mexico, to support women and children, to support education, the arts and culture.
Sandra Benito, curator of the show along with Luis Rius, said that since 1927 Mexico lived a cultural revival in which Rivas Mercado placed a key role, promoting exhibitions, translating theatrical plays and also taking them to the stage, among other activities.
After a long custody battle for the son she had with Albert Edward Blair she fell into a depression and started to say to her friends that she wanted to commit suicide, even though nobody believed her.
Finally, on February 11, 1931, Rivas Mercado went into the Cathedral in Notre Dame and shot herself in the heart.
The exhibit mounted at the Palace of Fine Arts contains 180 works of art and personal objects which show Rivas Mercado as a woman, girl, mother, cultural activist and translator and her relationship with the Ulysses theatre.
It also contains works of art made by Mexican and International artists such as Manuel Rodriguez Lozano, Tina Modotti, Julio Castellanos, Emilio Amero, Vassily Kandinski and Miguel Covarrubias, who give a visual support of the times.