The Workshop grew out of the former Liga de Escritores y Artistas Revolucionarios (League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists), founded in 1933 and dissolved in 1937. That same year, under the leadership of renowned graphic artist Leopoldo Méndez, the new organization launched its foundational manifesto, declaring that “the TGP makes a constant effort to benefit, with its production, the progressive and democratic interests of the Mexican people, mainly in its struggle against the fascist reaction.”1 This commitment to progressive causes led to fruitful collaborations with the trade-unions and European refugees, mainly Spanish and German-speakers, with the latter represented first by the Liga pro-cultura alemana (Pro-German Culture League) and later by the Heinrich Heine Club and the Bewegung Freies Deutschland (Free Germany Movement).
Soon an important opportunity to collaborate with the trade-unions arose. On September 8, 1938, Vicente Lombardo Toledano, head of the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), established the Confederation of Latin-American Workers (CTAL) and commissioned the artists of the TGP to design the advertisements for its foundational ceremony at the Palace of Fine Arts. This commission was probably the occasion for the group’s first encounter with someone who in the long run would become a key player within the organization, the Swiss architect Hannes Meyer.