May 13, 2014–January 8, 2017

Del Rio, Texas


Ballpoint pen on paper

28 x 22"

Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York

Blanchard-Hill Collection, gift of M. Anne Hill and Edward V. Blanchard Jr., 1998.10.1

Photo by Gavin Ashworth

Consuelo (Chelo) González Amézcua (1903-1975)

In the World

I have a world in my thinking
Full of joy and full of art
For Del Rio I am always singing
School of arts I couldn’t afford
And for that I thank the Lord
For what he has given me is the truth of his great love
For him I write
And carve a stone
And make a drawing
And sing a song

In addition to creating drawings, Consuelo (Chelo) González Amézcua made stone carvings and held poetry readings that included dancing and singing. Born in Mexico, she and her family moved northwest across the border to Del Rio, Texas, when she was ten years old. Her enthusiasm for mythology, music, and art was nurtured by her schoolteacher parents, who were also talented musicians and storytellers. Her condensed and fluid ballpoint pen drawings, which she called filigranas, evoke Mexican filigree jewelry and its arabesque patterns. This style also recalls the technique of paperolles (quilling)—crowning achievements of patience created by nuns in monastic communities and used in modest churches to imitate the gold and silver watermarks of smiths. Chelo embraced an almost mediumistic process she described as “mental recordatorio,” or memory drawing, and did not make any preliminary sketches. After outlining the primary figures, she embellished her drawings with patterns often derived from pre-Hispanic architecture, Mexican embroidery, and Islamic, Egyptian, and classical motifs.

Valérie Rousseau, “In the World,” exhibition label for Self-Taught Genius: Treasures from the American Folk Art Museum. Stacy C. Hollander and Valérie Rousseau, curators. New York: American Folk Art Museum, 2014.