Athens, Ga.– The seventh annual Willson Center/Georgia Museum of Art lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 3, at 4 p.m., in Sanford Hall, Room 314. Nina Hellerstein, professor of French and head of the department of Romance languages at the University of Georgia, will present “Franco-Mexican Artist Jean Charlot (1898-1979), His French Connections and His Mexican-Inspired Murals on the UGA Campus.”
Jean Charlot was born in Paris of French, Spanish and Mexican Indian descent. He studied informally at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris and eventually moved to Mexico, where he became one of Diego Rivera’s assistants. Rivera and the other members of the Syndicate of Revolutionary Painters, Sculptors and Engravers of Mexico dedicated themselves to producing public art for the lower or popular class of society.
In the early 1920s, Charlot was among the artists who assisted Rivera in painting frescos on the walls of the Ministry of Public Education in Mexico City. His contributions to the project included nine decorative shields and three murals of Mexican folk scenes: “Cargadores” (Burden Bearers), “Lavanderas” (Washerwomen), and “Danza de los Listones” (Dance of the Ribbons).
Other influences on Charlot’s work include Indian folk-religious activities he observed during a trip to Chalma and Mayan artifacts he came in contact with while he was staff artist of the Carnegie Institution expedition to Chichén-Itzá on the Yucatán peninsula.
The years from 1941 to 1944, when Charlot was invited by Lamar Dodd to be the artist-in-residence at the University of Georgia, are of particular relevance to Hellerstein’s lecture. Charlot instructed art students at the university while working on murals in the area. The murals painted by Charlot on campus can be seen beneath the portico on the front of the Fine Arts Building and in Brooks Hall, next door to where the lecture will take place.
Partial support for the exhibitions and programs at the Georgia Museum of Art is provided by the Georgia Council for the Arts through appropriations of the Georgia General Assembly. The council is a partner agency of the National Endowment for the
Arts. Individuals, foundations and corporations provide additional museum support through their gifts to the Arch Foundation and the University of Georgia Foundation. The Georgia Museum of Art is located in the Performing and Visual Arts Complex on the East Campus of the University of Georgia. The address is 90 Carlton Street, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602. The museum’s galleries and shop are now closed for construction of the museum’s expansion. Events and programming are continuing while the museum is under construction as part of “GMOA on the Move,” a series of off-site events and exhibitions. For more information and event times and locations or to shop GMOA online, see www.uga.edu/gamuseum or call 706/542-4662.