Alebrije Original from La Merced, Mexico City, 1960's


Peso Priced Item;  Alebrijes originated in Mexico City in the mid 20th century,  not Oaxaca as one might think from the multitude that come from there today.   The first alebrijes, as well as the name itself, are attributed to Pedro Linares (1906-1992), an artisan from México City (Distrito Federal), who specialized in making piñatas, carnival masks and "Judas" figures from cartonería, an ancient and widespread papercraft often confused with papier-mâché.  He sold his work in markets such as the one in La Merced where this one was purchased.    An interesting anecdote from Wikipedia: Linares often told that in the 1930s, he fell very ill, and while he was in bed, unconscious, he dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, "¡Alebrijes!, ¡Alebrijes!". Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cartonería, a papercraft consisting of strips of paper and glue on an armature.  His work caught the attention of a gallery owner in Cuernavaca and later, of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.  This has some paint losses from age (between 50 and 60 years old now).  It can be restored if one wanted it in perfect condition. 

This measures 17" by 12". It is unsigned. This is from the Estate of a collector who purchased them in DF in the 60's including signed pieces by Linares.  The signed ones were previously sold by Barbara's in the 1990's. This is the last one from her collection. 

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