Manuel Alvarez Bravo, ‘El Ensueño (The Daydream), Mexico’, 1931-printed later, Phillips

Property from a Private Collection, Miami

Signature: Initialed in pencil on the verso.

The J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, pl. 7
Kismaric, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, p. 77
The Museum of Photographic Arts, Revelaciones: The Art of Manuel Álvarez Bravo, p. 52
Szarkowski, Photography Until Now, p. 230
Turner Publicaciones, Manuel Álvarez Bravo: 100 Years, 100 Days, pl. 26


About Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Manuel Álvarez Bravo initially photographed abstract paper forms, but became known for capturing the rise of a post-revolutionary modern culture in his native Mexico. Encouraged to pursue his art by an admiring Edward Weston, Álvarez Bravo photographed what he saw around him, his unique perspective adding a poetic quality to the quotidian scenes. The Great Penitent (1930), for instance, captures a woman lying face down on a sidewalk in front of a church; shot from a bird’s eye view, electrical wires run through the frame and the heads of the saints adorning the building have been cut out, lending the image a striking visual composition and intellectual complexity. Álvarez Bravo also flirted with Surrealism without fully embracing it, shooting real yet uncanny subjects, such as an optical store plastered with eye illustrations (Optical Parable, 1931).

Mexican, 1902-2002, Mexico City, Mexico