Leopoldo Méndez

Leopoldo Méndez
Mexican, 1902-1969
Deportation to Death (Death Train), 1942
Linocut, 22 3/8 x 28 ½ in. (56.83xx60.96 cm)
Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ackland Fund

Leopoldo Méndez (1902-1969) was committed to illuminating political and social problems through art, and often worked with political organizations such as LEAR and Taller de Graficá Popular. His linocut print Deportation to Death (1942) offered one of the first artistic commentaries on the Holocaust. Depicting Nazi officials forcing two groups onto trains to be sent to concentration camps, the separation of the two groups illustrates how families were torn apart, while the interaction between the victims implies their unity in suffering. The smoke rising from the train symbolizes their impending death, while the harshness of the linocut’s relief reinforces the ominous tone of the piece.

~Samantha Beavers

An extended look at Méndez’s Deportation to Death by Samantha Beavers