David Alfaro Siqueiros was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1806. In 1913, he left his studies at the San Carlos Academy of Fine Arts to fight against Pancho Villa. Later in 1919, Siqueiros was sent to as a military attaché to Madrid and Paris, but soon after, he was recalled to Mexico and commissioned to paint murals at the National Preparatory School and the University of Guadalajara.
During the 1920s, Siqueiros was one of a host of Mexican muralists who came to prominence, along with Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco. In 1930, Siqueiros was jailed for revolutionary activities but continued to produce oil paintings, engravings, and etchings. In 1932, Siqueiros was ousted from Mexico and settled in Los Angeles, where he taught and painted murals at the Chouinard Art Institute. After living in Los Angeles for several years, he briefly settled in South America and later fought in the Spanish Civil War.
At the 1950 Biennale in Venice, Siqueiros was awarded Second Prize, with Matisse taking First Prize. Siqueiros remained an active lithographer, oil painter, and muralist until his death in 1974.