Otomi Indians on the Way to the Fair (Indios Otomíes que van a la feria)

Otomi Indians on the Way to the Fair (Indios Otomíes que van a la feria)

circa 1725
Juan Rodríquez Juárez, Mexican, 1675-1728
Born: Mexico City, Mexico
painting, Casta
Oil paint on canvas
Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer

 Juan Rodríquez Juárez, Otomi Indians on the Way to the Fair, about 1725. Oil paint on canvas; 32 ½ × 41 in. Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2013.300.

This object is currently on view
image height: 32.5 in, 82.5500 cm; image width: 41 in, 104.1400 cm; frame height: 38 in, 96.5200 cm; frame width: 46.75 in, 118.7450 cm; frame depth: 1.5 in, 3.8100 cm
as per Valery Taylor Brown, 2006 appraisal, "Indios Otomites que ban [sic] ala Feria."
Mayer Center, Latin American Art
Latin American Art

In Latin America during the late 17th and 18th centuries, a form of painting developed known as castas (castes). Designed to scientifically designate and label the ethnic variety of people living in the Americas, the paintings depict family groups dressed in typical clothing and engaged in daily activities and occupations. Most of these series of paintings portray racially mixed families. This painting is one of only a handful depicting a full-blood Indian family group.
     Here the Native American family is identified as Otomi, a group still living in the area of Hidalgo and Tlaxcala north and east of Mexico City. The family is shown on their way to the market with the father carrying laying hens in a cage on his back and fighting cock in his arms. The woman carries eggs in a painted lacquerware gourd bowl, a type of container produced since PreColumbian times in the Michoacan area of Mexico, and wears a rebozo, or traditional shawl, dyed with the distinctive orange-red of the cochineal (a cactus bug) which was exported in great quantities to Europe during the colonial era. The young boy eats a rolled up tortilla.
     The painting is from a series of 16 casta paintings of which 6 are in a private collection in Monterrey, Mexico. This series is related to another series done by Juan Rodriguez Juarez now in a private collection in England.
-- Donna Pierce, 2015

Known Provenance
Gifted 25 November 2013 by the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer to the Denver Art Museum. Provenance research is on-going at the Denver Art Museum. Please e-mail provenance@denverartmuseum.org, if you have questions, or if you have additional information to share with us.
Exhibition History
  • Exhibited 2005, "Patronato, Painting from Baroque Mexico: Selected Works from the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer," Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
  • "Collecting a New World: Spanish Colonial Art from the Jan and Frederick R. Mayer Collection," Apr 2-May 14, 2005, Lamont Gallery, Phillips Exeter Academy
  • "From Viceregal to Verancular: Painting in Colonial Mexico and New Mexico," Nov 17, 2006-Apr 29, 2007, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Santa Fe