Miguel Covarrubias was born in Mexico City in 1904. He moved to New York City in 1923, and became a well-known illustrator, creating Vanity Fair covers and New Yorker illustrations and caricatures. He became fascinated with Balinese art and culture and traveled to Bali in 1933 on a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Covarrubias developed a recognizable style, which integrated cartography and pictorial images, much like that of Mexican mural painters, such as Diego Rivera, whom he knew. Among his best- known works are six mural size maps of the Pacific region which he produced for the Pacific House at the San Francisco World’s Fair.