Mexican artist Gustavo Montoya paints genre scenes and still lifes, but he is mostly known for his portraits of children. His recognizable format is a child dressed and seated in the middle of the paper. He worked in oils, sometimes incorporating mixed media, and lithography. He was part of the Mexican Muralist group with Diego Rivera, Siquieros and Orozco.
Gustavo Montoya was born in 1905 in Mexico City. He was a very sensitive child and by the age of 4 had already presented neurotic symptoms with phobias and deep depressions. In large part, these were caused by a violent father and a neurotic and deeply religious mother. When he was 8 he was emotionally affected by the horrors of the Mexican Revolution. At the age of 14 he entered the Academia de San Carlos (Mexico's art academy) and studied with German Gedovius and Roberto Montenegro. He studied there and also traveled to Paris, Italy and England to study. For a while he lived in Los Angeles and worked as a poster illustrator in Hollywood. He is best known for his paintings of the Mexican children. However, he painted excellent still lifes of Mexican foods, often of the different breads or fruits of his area. He lived most of his adult life in the same section of Mexico City and often painted the markets and people of the streets.