Leopoldo Méndez (1902 - 1969)

W. Randolph Hearst (1947-1974)

Woodcut on paper
height: 29cm
width: 20cm

Donated by the School of Philosophy and Art History, University of Essex 2001


William Randolph Hearst at one time owned the world's largest newspaper and magazine conglomerate buying up newspapers in order to further his short-lived political career. A controversial figure, Hearst is depicted by Leopoldo Méndez with a chess board and several pawns. Two figures on either side of Hearst are seen whispering into his ear. The unmistakable United States dollar signs leave little doubt that Hearst is being advised on a financial matter. At the end of the Mexican Revolution, Hearst went to Mexico City to meet with Alvaro Obregón, the president of Mexico. It was rumored in the New York Times that Hearst would start a Mexican newspaper if he could retain the titles to land he owned in that country. Méndez's depiction relates more to the controversy surrounding Hearst and his supply of arms to Mexican counterrevolutionaries. The Bureau of Investigation investigated these acts but found no concrete evidence. The chess pawns Hearst pushes away resemble Emiliano Zapata and a Mexican peasant, as indicated by the hat in the small man's hands as if begging for alms. The figure he props up with his left hand is probably General Victoriano Huerta, a supporter of Porfirio Díaz; the very dictator the Mexican Revolution sought to defeat.

Caitlyn Collins, 2008

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