Blue Boy with the Banana
Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886-1957)
Not on View

Diego Rivera was one of the most prolific and renowned Mexican artists of the twentieth century. Along with José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros, he produced murals that helped redefine Mexican national identity. Upon returning to Mexico in 1921 after a decade in Europe, he fused Italian Renaissance fresco techniques and cubist spatial innovations to create a distinctive modernist style. In Blue Boy with the Banana, as in his other portraits of children, Rivera portrays a singular figure in front of a flat wall. The uneven eyes, angular face and voluminous folds of fabric that distort the boy’s small frame push him forward into the viewer’s space. It has been suggested that the “Blue Boy” is not an individual, but rather, a type, a figure that alludes to the work of the four European painters who were known as the “Blue Four” and who were represented by European dealer Galka Scheyer, for whom this piece was created. Scheyer stated that the subdued hues of blue made “the picture more abstract and far away.” As with Rivera’s The Flower Vendor, the humble scene suggests that the roots of Mexican identity may lie in the nation’s indigenous cultures.


  • Artist Name: Diego Rivera (Mexican, 1886-1957)
  • Title: Blue Boy with the Banana
  • Date: 1931
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 36 x 21-5/8 in. (91.4 x 54.9 cm)
  • Credit Line: Norton Simon Museum, The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection
  • Accession Number: P.1953.315
  • Copyright: © 2018 Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Object Information

The artist, sold 7 November 1931 to;
Galka Scheyer;
Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, 1953-1954;
Pasadena Art Museum, Pasadena,1954-1975;
Norton Simon Museum, 1975.

Diego Rivera

  • Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), 1931 to 1931

Mexican Art

  • Los Angeles, Occidental College, 1954 to 1954

Twentieth Century Mexican Painting

  • San Antonio, Marion Koogler McKay Art Institute, 1958 to 1958

The Figure: Past and Present

  • Long Beach, Long Beach Museum of Art, 1961 to 1961

Breaking Ground: 20th-Century Latin American Art at the Norton Simon Museum

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2013-09-13 to 2013-11-04

Maven of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in California

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2017-04-07 to 2017-09-25

From Europe to California: Galka Scheyer and the Avant-Garde

  • Norton Simon Museum, 2003-05-16 to 2003-10-13

The Spirit of Modernism: Galka Scheyer in the New World

  • Norton Simon Museum, 1994-11-17 to 1996-01-14
  • The Blue Four Galka Scheyer Collection, Norton Simon Museum of Art at Pasadena, 1976, no. 437
  • The Blue Four. Feininger, Jawlensky, Kandinsky, and Klee in the New World, 1997, fig. 10 p. 317
  • Barnett, Vivian Endicott, The Blue Four Collection at the Norton Simon Museum, 2002, no. 486 pp. 468-470
  • Gilbert Holzgang, Galka Scheyer : Ein Leben für Kunst und Kreativität, 2023, p. 202 (ill.)

Additional Artwork by Artist

The Flower Vendor (Girl with Lilies) Diego Rivera 1941

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