Man with Crutches (dedicated to photographer Leo Matiz)

José Clemente Orozco1944

Inter-American Development Bank

Inter-American Development Bank
Washington, United States

Orozco acquired an intaglio press in preparation for an exhibition of drawings at Mexico’s Colegio Nacional in 1945. He etched twelve copper plates that depict a range of subjects, among them motley women, tragicomic clowns and acrobats, and the present "Man with Crutches". Dark and downcast, the eponymous figure recalls the grim-faced amputee portrayed in the small tempera, "The Beggar" (c. 1941), as well as the early series of drawings, "Mexico in Revolution" (1926-28), in which maimed and suffering bodies display the carnage of civil war. Slumped and staggering, "Man with Crutches" conveys the abjection of the body with autographic intensity, unsparingly rendered in rich gradations of black. Orozco describes his subject with expressionist fervor, combining the incised linearity of etching and drypoint with the tonal, textural effects of aquatint, seen in the inky features of the man’s face and shading of his body. This print is dedicated to the Colombian photographer Leo Matiz, who befriended many of the Muralists during the 1940s while working in Mexico.

This text was created in collaboration with the University of Maryland Department of Art History & Archaeology and written by Abigail McEwen.


  • Title: Man with Crutches (dedicated to photographer Leo Matiz)
  • Creator: José Clemente Orozco
  • Date Created: 1944
  • Location Created: Mexico
  • Physical Dimensions: 16 1/2 in. x 11 1/2 in.
  • Medium: acquatint, drypoint

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