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A Nation Emerges: The Mexican Revolution Revealed

Friday, July 8, 2011 to Saturday, February 23, 2013
Central Library, Getty Gallery

In September 1910, Porfirio Díaz, Mexico's longtime president, staged the Fiestas del Centenario, or Centennial Festivals, to mark the hundredth anniversary of Mexico's independence from Spain. Designed to showcase Mexico's development into a modern nation, the celebrations were held amid widespread social unrest. Only a few months later the revolutionary leader Francisco Madero issued his "Plan of San Luis Potosí", challenging Díaz's thirty-year virtual dictatorship and calling for countrywide insurrection to begin on November 20, 1910, the date now considered to be the start of the Mexican Revolution.

...the revolution “was not the work of a group of ideologists intent in introducing principles derived from a political theory; it was a popular uprising that unmasked what was hidden.

The Mexican Revolution stripped away the veneer of order and peace - the Pax Porfiriana - that had masked the social unrest percolating beneath the surface of President Díaz's long reign. In his 1990 Nobel Prize lecture, Mexican writer Octavio Paz noted that the revolution "was not the work of a group of ideologists intent in introducing principles derived from a political theory; it was a popular uprising that unmasked what was hidden. For this very reason it was more of a revelation than a revolution." As the Mexican Revolution spread rapidly through the country, scores of photographers chronicled the collapse of the Porfiriato and the ensuing years of civil war. These visual revelations – the thousands of pictures taken by Mexicans, Americans, and Europeans – captured a country torn apart by internal conflict.

– Beth Ann Guynn, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles

This exhibit was organized by the Getty Research Institute,
with support from Edison International.

Edison International, Los Angeles Public Library, Library Foundation of Los Angeles, Getty

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