Miguel Covarrubias

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Miguel Covarrubias

Miguel Covarrubias is one of Mexico’s great 20th century painters, illustrators, cartoonists, and ethnologists.

He was born in Mexico in 1904 and at the age of 19 moved to New York where he quickly got a job at Vanity Fair. During this period, he produced some beautiful paintings and drawings in Harlem – during the Harlem Renaissance. Covarrubias was a jazz enthusiast and would paint and draw the jazz musicians.

Frida and Diego

In the mid 1920’s, with his future wife Rosa Rolanda (who her self was an excellent painter, photographer, and dancer), took a visit back to Mexico. While visiting his home country, Miguel Covarrubias introduced Rosa Rolanda to his friends, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Rosa quickly befriended Frida and Diego, and all four of them became close friends for many years.


In 1930, with another grant for excellence in art, Miguel Covarrubias took a trip to Asia where he did a lot of ethnological studies and produced some wonderful paintings in India, Vietnam, and Bali – but his most famous works were created in Bali.

To this day, the highest prices for his paintings are for the Balinese works, which can go for over a million US dollars.


Now let’s take a look at these two beautiful lithographs by Covarrubias. The first was created circa 1940 and was created during the time Covarrubias lived in Bali – it depicts the portrait of a beautiful native woman. The other lithograph was created while Covarrubias was in Mexico and depicts a wonderful panoramic scene – with ethnic images of a woman carrying a basket on her head, and other women bathing in a river.

Both pieces are in terrific condition – no tears or damage, and archivally framed.


For more information on Miguel Covarrubias, I highly recommend reading the book “Covarrubias” by Adrianna Williams.