Lesson Four:
Who Sees The Art?
(Printmaking Option)


Students identify the intended viewers of visual materials found around the school and neighborhood. The teacher shares information and leads a discussion about the patrons and intended viewers of Chicana/o and earlier prints. Students then consider the intended viewers of their own persuasion or protest print and how they might alter their planning of the print in order for it to be more effective for those viewers.


1. Students learn that an art patron is a person who supports the work of an artist, for example by supplying their needs or commissioning or purchasing their artwork.

2. Students learn that art patrons have traditionally been royal or aristocratic families, religious or political leaders, or wealthy people.

3. Students learn that artists may have special viewers in mind as they make their artworks.

4. Students learn that some Chicana/o and earlier artists have chosen to make prints so that more people may have the opportunity to view their work.


Distribute to tables or pass around the class, several sample flyers, announcements, and posters collected within the school and neighborhood, for example, election posters, announcements of student events, or sales and promotional flyers. Include hand-made work as well as photocopies and commercially reproduced materials. As you bring students' attention to each sample flyer, announcement, or poster ask:

  • How do you think this was made? (individually, by hand, commercially, photocopied, other)
  • Why do you think the artist or designer chose this method of production? (cost, visual impact, personal enjoyment of or skill with process, other)
  • How many do you think were made like it? (one, a few, hundreds or thousands)
  • How much do you think each cost in money and in effort? (labor intensive, cost per multiple)
  • Whom do you think the artist or designer especially wanted to view it?
  • What impact do you think the artist or designer wanted to have on the viewer?
  • How might the artist or designer have planned it in order that it have the desired effect?
  • Next, by turn, display the following five artworks. Click on the name of any artwork for more detailed information.

  • The Codex Borbonicus is now in the collection of the Bibliotéque de l'Assembleé Nationale in Paris. It was made prior to or just after the conquest of Mexico.
  • The portrait of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz is thought to be a copy of a self portrait of a remarkable woman who lived in the 17th century. It is now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
  • 18th Century Portrait of a Lady was made for an influential family who lived in Mexico City in the colony of New Spain. It is now on exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum.
  • Self Portrait Between the Borderline of Mexico and the United States by Frida Kahlo. It is in the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Manuel Reyero in New York City.
  • The Huipil Tehuantepec was made in a village in the state of Oaxaca in Southern Mexico. It is now in the collection of a publisher in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Viewer Lesson Index

    Display the Viewer Icon. Explain that a patron is an important viewer of an artwork. Define an art patron as a person who supports the work of an artist, for example by supplying the artist's needs or commissioning or purchasing their artwork. Explain further that some artists may intend that their artwork be viewed by various people in the community, not just by a patron. After identifying each work and giving its present location, pose the following questions for discussion:

  • Where do you think the artwork was first displayed?
  • Do you think the artist made the work on her or his own or was the artist under the influence of a patron?
  • If you think the artist was influenced by a patron, who might that person or persons have been?
  • Besides a patron, who, if anyone, do you think the artist wanted to view the artwork?
  • How do you think the artist may have planned the work in order that it impress, please, or otherwise affect the intended viewers?
  • Explain that Chicana/o artists have sometimes disagreed about who should be the viewers or patrons for their artworks. Some have argued that Chicana/o art should be accessible to everyday Chicana/o people at a reasonable price. Others say Chicana/o art should take its place in the fine art market with any other artworks, its price dictated by collectors' and museums' interest.

    Printmaking Lesson Index

    A number of Chicana/o artists have chosen to make editions of original prints. Original prints are not cheap, but they are less expensive, as a rule, than one-of-a-kind paintings. Luis Jiménez, César Martínez, Gilbert Luján, Carlos Cortez, Enrique Chagoya, and Eduardo Oropeza are all Chicano artists who have chosen to make prints. Printmaking also has a strong tradition in Mexico. José Guadalupe Posada made prints for newspaper illustrations and broadsides (a type of mass-produced flyer) in the first years of this century. The Mexican government subsidized the work of Alfredo Zalce at El Taller de Gráfica Popular (Workshop of Popular Graphics) in the 1930s and 40s. In 1972, Sister Karen Baccalero founded Self Help Graphics in an East Los Angeles barrio to support the work, sale, and appreciation of Chicana/o art. The gallery sets prices for prints as low as possible.

    The cheapest way to own Chicana/o art is in the form of mass-produced reproductions, such as the reproduction of Yolanda López' drawing on the poster, or the paintings by Carmen Lomas Garza that are reproduced on posters and in children's books: Carmen Lomas Garza. (1990). Family Pictures: Cuadros de familia. San Francisco: Children's Book Press and Carmen Lomas Garza. (1996). In my Family: En mi familia. San Francisco: Children's Book Press.

    Art for Protest and Persuasion

    Conclude this lesson by asking students to identify the individual person (patron?) or category of people whom they hope will view their persuasion or protest print. If students have not already done so, ask them to develop one or several preliminary sketches for their print. Ask them to focus especially on how they might be able to capture the attention of their intended viewer(s).


    In discussion of Chicana/o and earlier prints, note whether students can speculate about the role and influence of patrons and viewers of the time on the artist's planning of his or her artwork.

    Confirm that students have made preliminary printmaking sketches and have identified intended viewers.

    Items for a Protest and Persuasion Portfolio might include:

  • notes on discussion about patrons and intended viewers
  • magazine and newspaper clippings about art patrons
  • preliminary sketch of print
  • description of intended viewers of print


    Protest Icon
    Printmaking Icon
    Viewer Icon

    Reproductions of Codex Borbonicus, portrait of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 18 century Portrait of a Lady, and Huipil Tehuantepec, and pieces by Alfredo Zalce, Luis Jiménez, Enrique Chagoya, Gilbert Luján, Eduardo Oropeza, Carlos Cortez, and José Guadalupe Posada. (See Computer Reproductions.)

    © 2001 Hispanic Research Center, Arizona State University. All Rights Reserved.