In his Foreword to this edition, Jean Charlot says: "An unusual feature of Orozco's letters is the great deal that he has to say about art. That one artist writing to another would emphasize art as his subject seems normal enough to the American reader. Yet, within the context of the Mexico of those days, the fact remains exceptional. The patria Orozco was leaving behind had, even from the point of view of its artists, many cares more pressing than art."
The letters and unpublished writings of Orozco from this period (1925-1929) describe an important period of transition in the artist's life, from his departure from Mexico, almost as a defeated man, to the period just before he received the great mural commissions—Pomona, The New School for Social Research in New York, Dartmouth—that were to bring him lasting international fame.
From the letters:
"Decidedly, here in N.Y., French art means the cream of the cream, it is the ideal, the top ... Perhaps one day we Mexicans may come to have some influence, but it will be in another direction. There is nothing 'exquisite' about us."
"This is a very hard struggle. As far as painting is concerned, it is necessary to start over again and get rid of every trace of 'Mexican' if one wants to have a personality of his own, because otherwise we shall be forever 'Rivera's disciples.'"
"The 'impressionists' are becoming more and more tiresome; they are all right in the history of art, but I don't know what they have to do with Art. AND I don't know what the devil I'm doing in art."