José Guadalupe Posada

reproduction of newsprint with skeleton running with knife while other skeletons wave arms in the background

José Guadalupe Posada, Calaveras del Montón (Ordinary Skeletons), 2002, reproduction of original newsprint from 1919 

José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) was a printmaker and engraver, who lived and worked in a period of Mexican history characterized by social and political upheaval. In 1888, he moved to Mexico City, where he quickly established himself and created some of his most important work. Posada illustrated historic scenes, board games and commercial items, religious images, various books and newspapers.

He is most famous for his use of calaveras (depictions of skulls and skeletons) to satirize and mock the corruption of the wealthy and political elite. La Calavera Catrina (Skull of the female dandy), his most iconic image, was created in 1910 at the start of the Mexican Revolution. The image shows a grinning skeleton wearing a women’s feathered hat; pointing out that death comes to everyone, even those in the upper class.

This exhibition includes sixteen reproductions of his prints, from the GVSU Print and Drawing Cabinet. The prints were purchased in 2002 from the family of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, who printed them using the original plates and press.

newsprint reproduction of female skeleton wearing a large hat

José Guadalupe Posada, El Pantean de las Pelonas (The Pantheon Crypt of the Bold Headed Women), 2018, reproduction of original newsprint from 1924

print of skeleton with long spear riding skeleton horse while other skeletons run and fall around him

José Guadalupe Posada, Calavera de Don Quijote (Don Quixote’s Skull), 2004, reproduction of a restrike print

print of skeleton man smoking cigar and drinking tequila with smaller skeleton peaking over his shoulder

José Guadalupe Posada, Calavera Tapatia (A Skeleton from Guadalajara), 2004, reproduction of restrike print


View additional artwork by José Guadalupe Posada in the GVSU Online Collection


reproduction of newspaper print with bearded skeleton dressed in bowler hat and suit

José Guadalupe Posada, Aqui Esta Calavera Del Editor Popular A. Vanegas Arroyd (detail), 2019, reproduction of original newsprint

Location and Hours

November 1, 2019 - February 28, 2020
West Wall Gallery
301 Fulton St W
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Gallery hours are reflective of building location, including changes made due to semester, holiday, or campus-wide event.


Previous Exhibition:
July 12 – October 25, 2019

Kirkhof Center Gallery
Russel H. Kirkhof Center
1 North Campus Dr.
Allendale, MI 49401



For special accommodation, please call:

For exhibition details and media inquires, please email:
Joel Zwart, Curator of Exhibitions