Julio Ruelas: The Lugubrious Traveler
Mexican Modernist, 1870-1907
Text by Carlos Monsiváis, Antonio Saborit, Teresa del Conde.
Julio Ruelas (1870-1907) was a painter of cadavers, hanged satyrs, bewitching maidens, sudden epiphanies and lovers’ suicides. He was (and remains) the foremost Mexican Symbolist, close to Odilon Redon or Gustave Moreau in his appetite for hallucinatory scenarios. For José Clemente Orozco, as for many others, Ruelas was the touchstone influence, and he was an important participant in the burgeoning arts of his day: he was the principal illustrator for the Revista Moderna, a magazine not dissimilar to the Yellow Book that published excellent Spanish translations of Novalis, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire, as well as the poetry of Ruben Darío. Based on the centenary exhibition of the same name at the National Art Museum in Mexico City, The Lugubrious Traveler restores Ruelas to his rightful prominence. Detailed and authoritative texts by three of Mexico’s most respected critics--Teresa del Conde, Carlos Monsiváis and Antonio Saborit--explore the many facets of this curious artist, from his fauns, wraiths and succubae to his deeper and still disquieting trawling of the fin-de-siècle subconscious.