New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Tina Modotti
Under the Mexican Sky
R. Wayne Parsons

Italian-born Tina Modotti’s photographic career lasted a mere seven years, all in Mexico. From 1923 to 1930 she was Edward Weston’s assistant, collaborator and mistress in Mexico City. In 1930 she was expelled from Mexico for leftist political activity, and upon returning to Europe she gave up photography in favor of revolutionary politics.

During her years in Mexico she made several hundred images, but only a handful of prints of each (some in only a single copy), with the result that only six hundred or so prints are extant. Fortunately, photography lovers can see an appreciable portion of this oeuvre at Throckmorton Fine Arts, where a representative selection of 43 prints is displayed. The exhibition includes portraits, still lifes, genre pictures, and political images; indeed, her best-known photo, “Woman with Flag” (reproduced on the cover of the revolutionary publication New Masses), is presented here. She excelled with simple but exceedingly strong still lifes; a high point of this show is an image of a bandolier of rifle cartridges, an ear of corn, and a sickle –- an image that makes no attempt to hide her political sympathies.

Modotti’s strong compositional sense, her eclectic vision, and her technical skills mark her as one of the masters of early twentieth century photography. This is a must-see for anyone interested in the art of photography.

Tina Modotti
Under the Mexican Sky

145 E 57th St. 3rd Fl
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212 223 1059

Thursday, December 17 to
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Hours: Tues - Sat, 11 -5