Luis M. Castañeda
From the Catalogue:
This photograph comes originally from the collection of Jacob Bean, Curator of Drawings at The Metropolitan Museum from 1960 to the early 1990s. In the 1940s, Bean worked for pioneering gallerist Julien Levy who exhibited Bravo’s photographs in 1935 in the now-famous Documentary and Anti-Graphic exhibition. It is likely that Bean acquired this print from Levy.
—Courtesy of Phillips
Signature: Credited in an unidentified hand in ink on the verso.
Aperture, Aperture Masters of Photography: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, p. 15
J. Paul Getty Museum, In Focus: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, pl. 18
Kismaric, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, p. 78
Museum of Photographic Arts, Revelaciones: The Art of Manuel Álvarez Bravo, pl. 11
Parker, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, p. 30
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, M Álvarez Bravo, pl. 42
Turner Publications, Manuel Álvarez Bravo: 100 Years, 100 Days, pl. 33
Urbajtel, Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Photopoetry, p. 119
Steidl, Photographs by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans, Documentary and Anti-Graphic, p. 79
Estate of Jacob Bean, former Curator of Drawings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Sotheby's, New York, 7 October 1993, lot 274
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