By Tina Modotti, Sarah Lowe
Publisher: Harry N Abrams
Publication date: 1995
Print length: 160 pages
This is the first serious art-historical study of the photographic achievement of Tina Modotti (1896-1942). Modotti's photographic career spanned a brief but intense seven years (1923-30) when she lived in Mexico and became committed to revolutionary Communism. The beautifully reproduced duotone images in this book include portraits, still lifes (among them, Modotti's memorable "revolutionary icons" incorporating an ear of dried corn, a bandolier, a sickle, and a guitar), Mexican workers, folk art, street photographs, architectural studies, and flowers and plants. They have been selected to represent the full range of Modotti's esthetic imagination, and nearly half have rarely or never been reproduced before.
In an informative biographical and critical essay based on exhaustive research, Sarah M. Lowe, curator, art historian, author of a book about Frida Kahlo, and contributor to Abrams' The Diary of Frida Kahlo, explores the forces that shaped Modotti's early family influences in Italy; her formative experiences in the bohemian communities of San Francisco and Los Angeles in the 1910s; the relationship with legendary American photographer Edward Weston that provided her with her first photographic training; and the artistic and political circles she entered in Mexico. Lowe casts new light on Modotti's Mexican years, describing her relationships with a constellation of powerful artists, critics, activists, and journalists.
Tina Modotti: Photographs is the catalogue of the first comprehensive exhibition of Modotti's work, organized on the occasion of the centennial of her birth by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and traveling to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.