Manuel Alvarez Bravo (Mexican, 2002)

Manuel Alvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902–2002) was a photographer best known for creating unexpected juxtapositions that capture the social and political atmosphere of his country. He studied painting at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Arts in Mexico City in 1918, and was influenced by European photographers, such as Edward Weston (American, 1886–1958) and Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908–2004), both of whom share Bravo’s interest in heightening the mundane through photography. Growing up during the Mexican Revolution and encountering the indigenous muralist movement focused Bravo’s photographic language on his immediate surroundings and cultural heritage. The juxtapositions in Bravo’s photographs parallel the work of the Surrealists in Europe. Ladder of Ladders(1931) creates a composition suggesting spiritual ascension out of ladders, coffins, and a phonograph. In The Crouched Ones(1934), Bravo frames a row of workers, sitting on bar stools with their backs to the viewer, by a shadow that obscures their heads, and a chain that seems to wrap around their feet. Starting in the 1940s, Bravo photographed a series of landscapes that documented the natural terrain of Mexico with a wide-angle perspective, reminiscent of film. A major retrospective of his work was held at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena in 1971. His work is currently held in several museum collections, including the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Timeline

1902
Born Mexico City
1929–1940
Academia San Carlo
Lived and worked in Coyoacan

Exhibitions

2004
with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans, Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, France
2002
Exhibition celebrating the hundred birth of the artist, Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico city, Mexico (solo)
Art Museum, Macao, China
2001
Otras Cosas: Mexican Modern Abstractions, The Mexican Cultural Institute of Washington DC
retrospective, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, United States
2000
Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Espacios y Formas, Rose Gallery Los Angeles, CA
Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Light Forms, Throckmorton Fine Art New York, NY
Otras Cosas: Mexican Modern Abstractions, The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art
1998
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Museuo de Arte Caracas and Monterey
1998
Five Decades of Mecian Photography, The University of Texas San Antonio Art Gallery
1997
Five Decades of Mexican Photography, Mexican Cultural Institute of New York
1997
Manuel Alvarez Bravi: variaciones 1995-1997, Whitkin Gallery New York, NY
1978
Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Corcoran Gallery of Art Washington DC