Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Manuel Álvarez Bravo was a teenager when he first picked up a camera and began taking pictures, before he enrolled in night classes in painting at the Academia San Carlos, in 1917, or sought instruction in the darkroom of local German photographer Hugo Brehme. Initially self-taught, Álvarez Bravo’s style developed through study of foreign and local photography journals. In these pages, he first encountered the work of Edward Weston and Tina Modotti, who came to Mexico in 1923; the latter became a close colleague and supporter, introducing Álvarez Bravo to the artists of Mexico’s avant-garde, including Diego Rivera, Frida Khalo, and Rufino Tamayo, as well as encouraging him to send photographs to Weston.
In the 1930s, Álvarez Bravo met Paul Strand, traveling with him while he worked in Mexico, and Henri Cartier-Bresson. With Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans he exhibited in a three-man show at the Julien Levy Gallery, New York, in 1935. Mexico was a cultural hub for many in the international avant-garde in these years; André Breton visited, including Álvarez Bravo in the Exposition of Surrealism he organized in 1940 in Mexico City. Although the artist never identified with Surrealism, it was a major theme in the analysis of his pictures throughout his career. Revealing the influence of his formative years following the Mexican Revolution of 1910, Álvarez Bravo would instead speak of his interest in representing the cultural heritage, peasant population, and indigenous roots of the Mexican people in the face of rapid modernization.
Introduction by Mitra Abbaspour, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, 2014
510: Machines, Mannequins, and Monsters
Oct 21, 2019–Sep 7, 2020
Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection,
Dec 13, 2014–Apr 19, 2015
Photography Rotation 8
May 13, 2011–Mar 12, 2012
The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today
Aug 1–Nov 1, 2010
The Printed Picture
Oct 17, 2008–Jul 13, 2009
- Manuel Álvarez Bravo has online.
If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).
All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.
If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].