The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Viva Mexico! Edward Weston and his Contemporaries Exhibition Opens in Boston
Tina on the Azotea, with kimono, 1924. Edward Weston (American, 1886–1958). Photograph, platinum or palladium print. The Lane Collection. Photograph courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
BOSTON, MA.- In the decades following the Revolution of 1910, foreign artists and intellectuals flocked to Mexico in order to experience its warm climate and lively cultural scene. They were inspired by Mexico‘s exotic tropical landscape, its ancient monuments and colonial architecture, the work of its modern muralists, and the country‘s indigenous arts and crafts. During two extended trips to Mexico made between 1923 and 1926, American photographer Edward Weston (1886–1958) created some of his earliest modernist photographs, which form the core of the exhibition, Viva Mexico! Edward Weston and His Contemporaries, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). Featured are approximately 45 works, among them about 30 rare photographs by Weston and selected images by Tina Modotti, Brett Weston, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, and Paul Strand. These photographs from the 1920s and ‗30s are drawn from the Museum‘s own collection, as well as The Lane Collection, which is on long-term loan to the MFA. Additionally, a compelling 1939 portrait of Frida Kahlo by Hungarian-born photographer Nickolas Muray has been lent from a local private collection. Viva Mexico! is on view May 30 through November 2 in the MFA‘s Herb Ritts Gallery.

"Viva Mexico! highlights Weston‘s pivotal years in this highly creative environment, which had a lasting impact on his work and inspired some of his earliest experiments in still life, landscape, and cloud studies," said Malcolm Rogers, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the MFA. "This exhibition allows us to focus on a critical juncture in Weston‘s career, and to present one of the strengths of The Lane Collection—its holdings of the photographer‘s early modernist work."

The Lane Collection, which includes gifts and loans to the MFA, comprises modern American paintings, photographs, and works on paper assembled by the late William H. Lane and his wife, Saundra B. Lane, a Trustee of the MFA. During the late 1960s, the Lanes acquired a large number of Weston‘s vintage photographs, which are now widely acknowledged to be the most important collection of the photographer‘s work in private hands.

"Acquiring more than 2,000 Edward Weston photographs directly from his sons was an amazing learning experience for us and we were thrilled to be able to immerse ourselves in the work of such a major artist in such great depth," said collector Saundra Lane. "The Mexico pictures by Edward, Brett, and Tina Modotti are some of my personal favorites. These works inspired me to more recently acquire two early Manuel Alvarez Bravo photographs, El soñador (The Dreamer) and Nude, included in the exhibition, each of them a quintessentially Mexican subject and clearly made under the influence of Weston and Modotti."

In an early biography of Edward Weston, writer and editor Nancy Newhall described Mexico as his "Paris," the place where he greatly expanded his range as an artist. His total of more-than two years in Mexico—Weston‘s only travel outside the US—offered him the opportunity to move away from his Pictorialist style, with its soft focus and ethereal, romantic qualities, toward more abstract forms and sharper resolution of detail. Heroic portrait heads, avant-garde nudes, urban views, cloud studies and landscapes, and images of Mexican toys and folk art are among the subjects he captured with his large-format camera. This period of experimentation with isolated objects also resulted in some of Weston‘s earliest forays into still life, as can be seen in Chayotes (1924), a close-up of the beautiful, spiny squash arranged in a painted wooden bowl.

In 1923, Weston made the difficult decision to close his portrait photography studio in Tropico (now Glendale), California, and move to Mexico, as he wrote in his journal, ―to start life anew.‖ He left behind his wife and three of his four young sons and traveled to Mexico City with his lover, Italian-born actress Tina Modotti (1896–1942) and his oldest son Chandler. Modotti ran Weston‘s new studio, served as his translator and muse, and under his tutelage began to make highly accomplished photographs of her own. Together they became immersed in the vibrant community of artists and intellectuals centered there, which included painters Diego Rivera, Jean Charlot, Xavier Guerrero, and Rafael Salas, as well as the poet Luis Quintanilla, writer D.H. Lawrence, anthropologist Frances Toor, and journalist Carleton Beals. Although Weston and Modotti always remained outsiders looking in, the several exhibitions of their work during their Mexican sojourn helped spark a lively interest in modernist photography in their adopted country, where until this time photography had been admired mainly as a documentary tool, rather than a fine art.

"This exhibition will be a wonderful opportunity for our visitors to experience Weston‘s stunning Mexican photographs firsthand, many of which are rarely seen platinum prints taken in the period just before he made his classic black-and-white images of peppers and shells," said Karen Haas, The Lane Collection Curator of Photographs, who organized Viva Mexico! "These rich, warm-toned prints, when seen in context with photographs by his contemporaries in Mexico during the 1920s and ‘30s, promise to be a revelation even to those who know Weston‘s work well."

Many of the earliest images that Weston produced in Mexico were portraits and nudes, both subjects that he had specialized in previously but now took on a very different look and feel. Soon after his arrival, he began a series of monumental portraits of friends and acquaintances, all of them shot very close-up and from slightly below eye level, their heads filling the picture frame and their features heroicized. These include Galván Shooting (1924), Tina Modotti (1924), Victoria Marin (1926), and Rose Roland Covarrubias (1926). He also made a stunning group of nudes of Modotti posing on their sun-baked rooftop patio, all three of which he titled Tina on the Azotea (1924), as well as an incredibly simple and sculptural image, Nude (1926) of fellow American expatriate Anita Brenner. The Brenner nude, along with Palma Cuernavaca (1925), Aqueduct (1924), and Excusado (1925) all share a similarly stark, abstract, and timeless quality—what Weston described as an attempt to render "the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself."

Abstract architectural details began to make their way into Weston‘s work as well and he was drawn to capture light and shadow on a variety of surfaces, from the zigzag stone patterns of the ancient Ruinas de Mitla (1926) to the angled forms of the convent stairwell and skylight in San Pedro y San Pablo (1924). Viva Mexico! also showcases Weston‘s experimentation with landscape photography, both urban and rural. The striking view from his studio roof is recorded in Desde la Azotea (1924), in which the geometry of the buildings below is heightened by the elevated vantage point and steeply raking light, and in Michoacán (1926), where he captures the beautifully undulating silhouette of the pastoral countryside. Much less common among his subjects from this period are some of Weston‘s little-known photographs made in outdoor markets and fairs, such as Mercado, Oaxaca (1926) and Bowls, Oaxaca (1926). These open-air street images closely relate to another group of pictures, including Torito (1925), a playful little papier-maché bull, and Fish Gourd and Striped Serape (1926), which reflect Weston‘s newfound interest in the vernacular Mexican toys and folk objects that he collected and lovingly documented in his studio while waiting for clients to arrive for portrait sittings. These whimsical photographs also serve as fascinating precursors to Weston‘s high modernist still lifes of less than a decade later.

Over the course of her time in Mexico, Modotti rapidly went from photographer‘s apprentice and model to fine art photographer in her own right. Although her career as a photographer was relatively brief, her powerful pictures from this period sometimes rival those of her lover and teacher, Edward Weston. Modotti was a rare woman in a mostly male profession, but she brought to her work a deep-seated interest in the people and the politics of Mexico in the 1920s. Unlike Weston, who preferred to work in the studio rather than the street, Modotti straddled the worlds of fine art photography and radical social activism. Her commitment to the struggles of the people can be seen in her iconic Worker’s Hands (1927), and her fascination with Mexico‘s public demonstrations and celebrations is captured in Effigies of Judas (1924). She was so impassioned by these causes, in fact, that Modotti joined the Communist party and continued to work in Mexico for several years after Weston finally returned home in 1926. Before he left for California, however, Weston and Modotti collaborated on a photographic commission to illustrate a book on Mexican history and culture entitled Idols Behind Altars, which was written by their friend Anita Brenner and published in 1929. A copy of the book is among the case materials featured in the exhibition, as is American photographer Laura Gilpin‘s book, Temples in Yucatan: A Camera Chronicle of Chichén Itzá (1948), which showcases her pictures of the ancient Mayan ruins taken during her two trips there in the early 1930s and mid ‘40s.

Viva Mexico! also offers visitors to the MFA a rare chance to see some of Brett Weston‘s (1911–1993) earliest serious photographs made during Edward Weston‘s second extended trip to Mexico in 1925 and 1926 (after an eight-month-long hiatus in California). The second eldest of Weston‘s four sons was only 14 years old when he accompanied his father to Mexico City and went with him to live in the house and studio that Weston shared with Modotti. Rather than the large-format camera and platinum prints that his father preferred, Brett Weston was given a 3 ¼ x 4 ¼ Graflex camera and printed his pictures on less expensive gelatin silver papers, which captured the precise detail and texture that his father admired in his work. The boy quickly fell under the spell of photography and his time in Mexico proved to be an ideal preparation for his own future as a professional photographer. Two of Brett Weston‘s highly abstract architectural views, Tin rooftops (1926) and Ventilator (1926), are on view in the exhibition.

The only Mexican-born artist in the exhibition, Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902–2002), is represented with three works, El soñador (The Dreamer) (1931), Nude (1935), and Las Lavanderas sobreentendidas (Washerwomen Implied) Draped Yucca Plants, Mexico (1932). As a young, aspiring photographer in Mexico City, Bravo first met Modotti in 1927, soon after Weston‘s departure. He was greatly inspired by the look and spirit of Modotti‘s work as well as the Weston prints that she shared with him. Bravo is perhaps best-known for the stunning female nudes that he made over the course of his long career, but Viva Mexico! features a rare male figure study, Nude (1935). With its androgynous curves and simplified form, it clearly relates to Weston‘s nudes of his son Neil made a decade earlier. Bravo‘s photographs always have a profoundly Mexican essence to them, but especially during the 1920s and ‘30s; they also demonstrate the influence of the European Surrealists as can be seen in the slightly unsettling, yet lovely work El soñador (The Dreamer).

Viva Mexico! also showcases the work of American photographer and documentary filmmaker Paul Strand (1890–1976), who lived in Mexico during the mid-1930s. Although he and Weston had met in New York in 1922 and were aware of each other‘s careers, their sojourns in Mexico did not coincide. The situation that Strand found on crossing the border in 1932 was very different than the more optimistic period of cultural Renaissance that Weston had experienced during the mid-1920s. Like Modotti, whose social concerns and unsentimental approach he shared, Strand was inspired to make portraits of Mexico‘s indigenous peoples and the country‘s dramatic landscapes. Landscape, Near Saltillo (1932) was one of the earliest images Strand shot in Mexico; taken in the north of the country on his initial trip down to Mexico City, it features the glowing white form of an adobe building set off by spiny, tall cacti and a vast expanse of sky. Also on view is Día de Fiesta (1933), a starkly simple image of three men and a child standing against a sunlit wall, which was made just prior to the production of Redes (Nets, or The Wave, in the US), his documentary film focusing on the struggles of a group of fisherman near Veracruz.

Museum of Fine Arts | Boston | Edward Weston | Tina Modotti | Manuel Alvarez Bravo | Paul Strand | Brett Weston |


Last Week News

May 30, 2009

Peter Zumthor of Switzerland Awarded the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize in Buenos Aires

Paolo Veronese and The Petrobelli Altarpiece a The National Gallery of Canada

Batman in Barcelona: Dragon's Knight Showcases the Caped Crusader in a Different Type of Gotham

Massachusetts Judge Rules In Favor of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Regarding Kokoschka Work

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Presents Georgia O'Keeffe and Ansel Adams

Future Depends On You. New Rules at Moscow Museum of Modern Art

San Jose ICA Presents NextNew Exhibition - Summer Show Features Best of the New with a Twist of Green

Major Retrospective of the Work of Walker Evans Opens at Fotomuseum Winterthur

California in Relief: A History in Wood and Linocut Prints at Hearst Art Gallery

New Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art Opens Today

The Cartoons of John T. McCutcheon: Chronicles of A Changing World

Philanthropists Donald and Beth Sobey Make An Additional Gift For Research

The Franklin Asks -- Race: Are We So Different?

Hammering the Void - Gazira Babeli, Second Life

Northern Print Biennale 2009: Shortlist Announced

Philadelphia Sculptors and The Galleries at Moore Present Works by Students from Five Area Art and Design Schools

NGBK Presents: Call for Submissions - Public Art Competition in Berlin

Shalinee Kumari: American Debut To Open at Frey Norris Gallery

Call for Applications CuratorLab - International Curatorial Program

May 29, 2009

Christie's New York Latin American Art Evening Sale Realizes $11 Million Tonight

From Raphael to Carracci: The Art of Papal Rome Opens at the National Gallery of Canada

Van Gogh Museum Acquires Painting by Pierre Bonnard

Sotheby's Spring 2009 Latin American Art Sale Totals $9,422,625

Quadricentennial Celebration of the Hudson River Valley at Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center

PHotoEspaña 2009: Exhibit Hall Channel of Isabel II Presents Sergey Bratkov (Glory Days)

Focus on Color: The Photography of Jeannette Klute at The Bruce Museum

ICE Recovers Egyptian Artifacts Stolen From a Museum in the Netherlands

Fuller Craft Museum Names Wyona Lynch-McWhite Exective Director

Colorado River Photographs By Karen Halverson Explored in New Exhibition Space

Dallas Museum of Art Appoints Jeffrey Grove as New Curator of Contemporary Art

Panel Discussion with Museum Reach Artists Commissioned by San Antonio River Foundation

Haughtons' Legendary 'International Fair' Celebrates 21 Spectacular Years in New York

Le Ciel Regarde la Terre - Artist: Philippe Pastor

Glass Stress - Collateral Event of the 53rd International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia

Kunsthaus Baselland Presents Javier Téllez, Michael Bauer and Hagar Schmidhalter

Smart Light Sydney On View At Customs House

San Francisco Art Institute Presents Sanctuary City/Ciudad Santuario

Contemporary Craft Market Flourishes at Collect 2009

May 28, 2009

Madonna and Guy Ritchie Nude Painting Made by Peter Howson Up for Auction at McTear's

Manchester Museum Announces Ansuman Biswas as the Manchester Hermit

Sotheby's Evening Sale of Latin American Art Totals $6.7 Million

Berlinische Galerie Opens Two Exhibitions, One by Klaus Staeck, the other by John Heartfield

Derrick R. Cartwright Named Next Director of the Seattle Art Museum

Edinburgh Art Festival Unveils 2009 Exhibitions Programme

IVAM Opens Confines/Valencia 09: Passages of Contemporary Arts

PHotoEspaña 2009: Mabel Palacín Dilutes the Border Between Reality and Fiction

Sotheby's to Sell the Philippe Guimiot & Domitilla de Grunne Tribal Art Collection

Kunstmuseum Bonn Opens Raimund Kummer: For Your Eyes Only

British Museum Celebrates India with Exhibition and Season Dedicated to Indian Culture

Frye Art Museum Announces Second Round of Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Cuts

Call for Submissions for Singapore Art Show 2009

Imperial War Museum to Open Exhibition Which will Explore the Build-up to and Preparations for War

Richard Schmid Makes Premier Appearance in NYC at Salmagundi Club

American Institute of Conservation Honors the Getty Conservation Institute with its Highest Organizational Award

Archaeologists Excavate Ancient Maya River Port in Southeast Mexico

Artist Easton Selby to Open Root Work in Cheekwood's Temporary Contemporary Gallery

Bust of Argentine Independence Hero Unveiled in Vienna

May 27, 2009

Reina Sofia Museum Rearranges its Collection and Shows it in a Different Way

The Hergé Museum: Cartoon Character Tintin Gets a Museum

Centre Pompidou Dedicates Exhibition to Women: elles@centrepompidou

Talking Art Louvre Abu Dhabi Features the Museum's First Acquisitions

Rodolphe Tessier to Auction a 700-lot Ensemble of Objects Owned by Mime Marcel Marceau

Musée National de la Renaissance Opens Exhibition Exploring Body Care and Cosmetics

Important 20th Century Design at Sotheby's June 12, 2009 in New York

PHotoEspaña 2009: Museu Berardo Opens Exhibition by Photographer Cristóbal Hara

The Founders and The Cutting Edge of South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art at Christie's in June

Abu Dhabi Celebrates the Beginning of Construction for the Louvre Abu Dhabi

Braco Dimitrijevic's Future Post History to be Shown at Ca' Pesaro and Ca' Farsetti as Part of Venice Biennale

Beloved Daughters: Photographs by Fazal Sheikh Opens June 27 at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Recent Major Acquisitions of British Contemporary Art will go on Display in the BP Exhibition Classified at Tate Britain

Lakefront Festival of Arts Is Back, Better Than Ever

Elizabeth Osborne: The Color of Light Opens in June at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Mexican Artist Marco Antonio Cruz Wins $50,000 Grange Prize

Royal Institute of British Architects Unveils Manifesto for European Parliament Elections

Park Life: Event Exploring Liverpool's Parks for the People

The American Institute of Architects Select Recipients of the Fourth Annual Jason Pettigrew Memorial ARE Scholarship

Mexico's First Swine-flu Patient Immortalized in Bronze

May 26, 2009

Prado Opens Most Important Retrospective Ever Devoted to the Work of Joaquín Sorolla

Maya Pyramids at Uxmal Glow in the Mexican Night with New Light and Sound System

IMMA Director Curates Spanish Pavilion by Miquel Barceló for the 53rd Venice Biennale

A Bone Seal Engraved with the Name Shaul, from the Time of the First Temple, was Found in Jerusalem

First Individual Exhibition in Spain on the Work of Artist Paul Sietsema

Athens Print Fest to Open with Several Exhibitions Around the City

New Galleries for the Gilbert Collection to Open at the V&A

IVAM Celebrates the Centenary of the Birth of Rafael Pérez-Contel with Exhibition

Seventeen Artists from Around the World to Show their Works at Arsenale Novissimo

Frieze Art Fair 2009 will Present Outstanding Work by More 1,000 Artists

'Spirit Red' Captures Adventure of Collecting Native Art

Bellevue Arts Museum to Present a Fresh Perspective on Contemporary Portraiture

Artists Creating a Sculpture and Related Jewelry for Display at 40 Venues County Wide

Fourteen Places to Eat: a Narrative: Photographing Rural Culture in the Midwest to Open at the Snite Museum

Museum of London Appeals to Public to Help Find Historic Agreement

Paul Strand Exhibition Featuring Vintage Work and Ephemera Opens at Aperture Gallery

Retrospective of Works by Sophie Calle to Open at Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels

Armenian Transnation: Krossing Colateral Event for the 53rd International Art Exhibition in Venice

Accident Prone Artist Admitted to 8 Different Hospital Accident & Emergency Wards

May 25, 2009

Granet Museum Opens Exhibition Focusing on Subtle Links Between Picasso and Cézanne

NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft Shows U.F.O.: Blurring the Boundaries Between Art and Design

This Summer Tate Liverpool Invites Families to Experiment with Colour in the Colour Lab

Cécile Whiting Is Awarded the 21st Annual Eldredge Prize for Her Book on Pop Art in Los Angeles

It's the Summer of Change at the Art Gallery of Ontario with Two New Exhibitions

Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov at Moscow Museum of Modern Art

80 Major Contemporary Works from Dallas Collections Juxtaposed in Intimate Groupings

Major Survey Exhibition of Works by Guy Ben-Ner Opens at MASS MoCA

Il Catalogo Gallery to Open Peter Ruta: Positano and Other Italian Paintings

Park West Gallery Launches Dali, Rembrandt, and Picasso Websites

Robert Adanto's The Rising Tide to Screen at The Queensland Gallery of Modern Art

An Ancient Jar Handle Bearing the Hebrew Name Menachem was Uncovered in Ras el-'Amud

Summer Exhibition at Cape Ann Museum - View from the Terrace: The Paintings of Charles Hopkinson

National Museum of American History's New Exhibition Goes "On the Water"

Flesh-eating Creepy Crawlies Seen Live on Royal Ontario Museum Web Cam

UFO Artwork Draws Thousands to Rio's Beaches

J. Paul Getty Museum Engages Students in Photography with Community Photoworks

Varied Volunteer Opportunities at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Walker Art Center Presents Fake It, For Real: Media Workshop with Tectonic Industries

George Always: Portraits of George Melly by Maggi Hambling to Open at the National Portrait Gallery

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Archaeologists discover Roman 'free choice' cemetery in the 2,700-year-old ancient port of Rome

2.- Romanians must pay 18 million euros over Kunsthal Museum Rotterdam art heist

3.- Hello Kitty designer Yuko Yamaguchi defends cute character as cat turns 40 years old

4.- eBay and Sotheby's partner to bring world class art and collectibles to a global community

5.- Exhibition on Screen returns with new series of films bringing great art to big screens across the globe

6.- Marina Abramović reaches half way point of her '512 Hours' performance at the Serpentine Gallery

7.- The Phillips Collection in Washington introduces a uCurate app for curating on-the-go

8.- United States comic icon Archie Andrews dies saving openly gay character

9.- New feathered predatory fossil, unearthed in China, sheds light on dinosaur flight

10.- Exhibition at Thyssen Bornemisza Museum presents an analysis of the concept of the 'unfinished'

Related Stories



Tattoos in Japanese Prints at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

MFAH Secures First European Presentation of Adolpho Leirner Collection

Exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston to Unlock the Secrets of Tomb 10A

Exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to Offer Rare Show of Paintings

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Displays Eunice Kennedy's Portraits Photographed by Herb Ritts

MFAH Recognizes Two Doctoral Candidates with $5,000 Joan and Stanford Alexander Awards

MFAH and Asia Society Present Landmark Exhibition of Two Thousand Years of Vietnamese Art

Intersection of Music and Contemporary Art Captured in Seeing Songs at the MFA, Boston

Varied Volunteer Opportunities at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Museum Council of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Hosts the Season's Hottest Party



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site