Some remarks by Rico Lebrun that put contemporary art in perspective, excerpted from a letter from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, June 1953:
My last hours in Mexico City were spent where we should have gone in the first place, the Museo Arqueologico, and I must say, never having seen Aztec sculpture in the real sale and material, I had no idea of its true quality and greatness. I wish we had gone there when we spent time at the Bellas Artes instead. David Smith and Calder appeared suddenly as the sophisticated joke of a century too tired and weak to be of account, Lipchitz a concocter, and Moore an essayist on the beauty of materials. The sublimating animal power of the pieces I saw is enormous. Their affinity with natural organic forces staggering. Scale counts, of course, and the surprise of scale and design is what hits you. Then the natural sense of life which fills the stone like a fruit ready to pop open. Cruelty, tenderness, comic sense, grandeur unparalleled. Not even the Egyptians matched them in grandeur.
All this is really too much to take at one blow. And everywhere the concept of living configurations, a use of metaphor, heads like fruit, fruit like heads, snakes like rolled thunder, scales like claws, segmentations of stones like buttocks and ribs–just in dividing a wall with no figure there; yet a wall with anatomy. Mesopotamia understood this; no other part of the world did. To me they are an absolute revelation, and if Rodin and Michelangelo were placed in that court, Christ help them! So you can imagine what that stuff would to the the Whitney show of contemporary etceteras….
Lebrun was also greatly impressed and influenced by the murals of Orozco who was a major influence on Pollock was well, as one can read in a certain period of his work.
Jose Clemente Orozco’s Pomona mural at left. Jackson Pollock drawing on right.
Rico Lebrun’s Pomona mural where the influence of Orozco and the massive Aztec sculptures he saw at the Archaeological Museum in Mexico City are evident: