The Café Terrace

Artist: Diego Rivera (Mexican, Guanajuato 1886–1957 Mexico City)

Date: 1915

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 23 7/8 x 19 1/2 in. (60.6 x 49.5 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949

Accession Number: 49.70.51

Rights and Reproduction: © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


In the distinct brand of Cubism that he developed while living temporarily in Paris, Rivera used small dots of color, a technique known as Pointillism, to amplify contrasts in texture and pattern. Here, the sleek bottle of green liquid, presumably absinthe, and shiny metal spoon, necessary for preparing the potent drink, are paired against a strip of camouflage tablecloth, a reference to World War I. Additionally, he includes references to his homeland, such as the cigar box with a partial label reading BENITO JUA underneath a miniature Mexican landscape. This label refers to Benito Juárez, the President of Mexico from 1858 until his death in 1872.