The fascination with Mexico

The bus would be leaving at 8 a.m. but as tired as I was, I couldn’t resist the curiosity I felt hearing the music of a mariachi band going by on the street, and seeing the prostitutes at the windows and the piles of pineapples in the market square. I drew the mariachi players in a bar to be able to remember them, before falling into bed. What a beautiful country with its varied landscapes, plants, colours and fantastical architecture. I saw Mexico City, Taxco and Cuernavaca before returning on foot as far as the floating gardens of Xochimilco so I could draw and paint the landscape. The archaeological site at Teotihuacan with its galleries bursting with pre-Columbian art, the flourishing craft studios, the murals of Diego Rivera and the other muralists, the modern, pre-Columbian and colonial architecture—everything was incredibly interesting to discover! I was frantic to go everywhere and see everything, to explore as much as I could. I then headed back by way of Texas and New Orleans. Arriving past midnight in Montreal, I found the buses had stopped. I took the streetcar as far as Pont-Viau and walked to Ste-Rose, not wanting to wait another minute to be back with my little boy and dear Ghylaine. Everything I told her and brought back for her only heightened our desire to go there together some day!

Musicians. Credit: Frédéric Back, Monterrey, sketch, 1952
Taxco Seen from the Mountains. Credit: Frédéric Back, study, 1952
Mountains. Credit: Frédéric Back, road from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, study, 1952
Xochimilco Gardens. Credit: Frédéric Back, study, 1952
The Temples of the Sun and the Moon. Credit: Frédéric Back, Teotihuacan, sketch, 1952
Ghylaine and Christian Back. Ste-Rose, 1952