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THE PAINTINGS OF EMMY LOU PACKARD

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In November, 1928, an American woman came to see me to show me the paintings her daughter had done. At that time I was painting the Secretaritat of Education murals in Mexico City, where this child had been living for two years. Her name was Emmy Lou Packard, the excellent painter of today, then only thirteen years old.

I was surprised at the great character, the sensitiveness of tones, and the objective and subjective truth of the paintings of Mexican life that this North-American child had done.

She was a blonde, melancholy little girl, with the face of a French gothic angel plucked from the reliefs of Chartres, but she had been born just two miles from the boarder of Mexico. Embarrassed and shy, bright and a little savage, she had all the character of the country in which she was born. The first fruits of her life corresponded with the antecedents and the birthplace of the organism which produced them. The seed was French Hugonot, brought here via Holland two centuries ago. With two hundred years of acclimatization and hybridization here, the plant has deep roots in the soil of our continent. Born on the boarder and growing up in Mexico, this painter is the true type of American, that is, the men and women for whom home is the land from the north of Canada to the tip of the Tierra del Fuego.

Today, 1941, Emmy Lou's painting has born fruit for an entire year in Mexico, where thirteen years ago the first buds of the plant appeared. There is no doubt but that Mexican soil is healthy for her. She has unrolled a specific personality. A fine elegance mixed with bitter pride, profound sadness and subtle irony, coming from the original seed, show through in the plant, mixed with the bright courage and the essential, irreducible character of the fertile American desert. The plant has a beauty both new and ancient. The American soil has modeled it, and it maintains its vital proportions apart from any foreign influences, in harmony with our marvelous plastic tradition - as the fruit of our cactus today is the same as it was two million years ago. Fluent form that grows and moves in the drawings like arms and trunks of the Zalhuaros, grays from the humid snowy atmosphere of the north and the dusty plateaus of South: high tones, pure and brilliant, as in the tropics: fugues of yellows, blues and pinks like the textiles, toys and flowers of Mexico. Emmy Lou's painting, for being organically North-American and Mexican, is truly Pan-American, and this unusual quality is expressed in plastic values of high quality.

The years Emmy Lou has lived have enriched her pictorial language but have not destroyed in this fine painter of today, who handles beautifully fresco, watercolor and oil, with masterly drawing, the precious qualities of the child I met in Mexico thirteen years ago.

I am sure that all Americans capable of emotion and appreciation before these new plastics values, fruits of our soil, will receive Emmy Lou's paintings and covet them with the emotion and love with which we gather the first fruits of a plant which we have grown ourselves - grown from two centuries of sweat, labor and blood, united with twenty centuries of a marvelous heritage that is just now beginning to become again a living reality.

DIEGO RIVERA.
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