“The whole scene has a feeling of being under the protective canopy provided by the verdant tree and the church.”
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico has captured the imaginations of so many fine artists. This 1967 Hulings’ work is a masterful one; a standout example of his series of paintings with San Miguel subject matter. Hulings painted this city from the early 1960s to the early 2000s, showing his characteristic interest in the complexity of local markets and working people, and often referencing the iconic tower of the cathedral. This is one of the pieces that was originally sold from Grand Central Galleries in New York City—the first gallery to represent him as an easel painter.
From Clouds to Cobblestones
At 30 x 20″ Market Day, San Miguel de Allende is expansive, showing the reach of the cathedral and a generous, cloud-filled sky. The five women in the foreground are shaded from the heat of the day, with four of them selling their wares from crates and baskets—perhaps the lady with the braids and turquoise dress is just passing by. Hulings has given us considerable detail on the two different cobblestone patterns where the women are working, making this little market an even more real, grounded place. The background features several men and a fabulous vintage truck. (If any of our car-collectors can identify the make and model of the vehicle, let us know!) The suspended streetlight is the red accent here: doing its compositional job of drawing the eye from the top left corner and down to the unfolding action. From there the cathedral and portrait-orientation again pull our attention back up again.
Protection & Prosperity
The whole scene has a feeling of being under the protective canopy provided by the verdant tree and the church. No matter what place or time we live in, we all need connections with nature and spirit, and we all need to make a living in the face of the ups and downs of the market. If you visit San Miguel de Allende today, you’ll still see a variety of markets in full-swing, including Tianguis de los Martes, the open-air market; Tianguis Organico, the weekly organic market next to the Instituto Allende Art School; and Mercado de Artesanias, which features artisanal jewelry, ceramics, and Oaxacan rugs.