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Diego Rivera, Sketch of Tehuana, 1921

Diego Rivera. Sketch of Tehuanas, 1921

Diego Rivera. Dancers in Tehuantepec, 1925

Montenegro and Rivera were not the first Mexican artists to portray the Tehuana.

Herrán, Tehuana 1915

German Gedovius, Tehuana 1918 Interior space, domesticated, traditional depiction of Indian servant…

Adolfo Best Maugard, Tehuana 1919, decoration but archetype

Leon Underwood’s illustrations for Phillip Russell’s travelogue, Red Tiger (1929)

Leon Underwood,  Tehuana Woman 1929

Leon Underwood, Maya Women of Merida 1929

Angel Zamarripa, Tehuana, 1938, twenty years later

Alfonso Peña, Tehuanas 1940, buxom 2nd WW pin-up.

Frida Kahlo was the artists most noted for representing Tehuanas in her paintings and also popularised the habit among “Bohemian” women of wearing Tehuana dress.

Roberto Montenegro, Portrait of Frida Kahlo  1930

When Frida Kahlo donned Tehuana dress, she was not just being "folky".  Dressing "a la tehuana" was a powerful statement, combining exotic ideals of beauty, assertive femininity and democratic values.  In “My Clothing, My self” Lourdes Andrade explores Frida Kahlo’s Tehuana fetishism.  Commenting on the Tehuana clothing she wore in many of her self-portraits, she writes:

“Her clothing was her self, not only covering and concealing her, not only placing her on display and making her an object of admiration, but also giving her an identity.”

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait as a Tehuana 1943

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Monkey 1938

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Braid 1941

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