El Dia de los Muertos
An educational project of the
Houston Institute for Culture

Jose Guadalupe Posada, 1852-1913

Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada is a lasting symbol of the Day of the Dead. His folk art and political satire combined perfectly to express the attitudes of working class Mexican people. His famous black and white drawings depict the absurdity of taking life, and power-mad dictators like Porfirio Diaz, too seriously.

Posada's lyrical and theatrical political cartoons have delighted people throughout Mexico for more than a century and, because of their timeless expressive quality, many of the images continue to be published worldwide. "La Catrina," a skeletal woman fancifully dressed in a plumed floral bonnet, is among his most famous esqueleto.

The skeleton figures in Posada's work all live a life of their own, actively pursuing the Revolution, or out for a bicycle ride, while dressed for a fancy ball, making them synonymous with the Day of the Dead.

Image by Jose Guadalupe Posada