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  • Catalogue Essay

    Despite her Italian background, Tina Modotti created a body of work in the 1920's that was unmistakably Mexican in subject matter, treading a delicate balance between reverential and exotic. As such, her images were not taken as a foreigner looking in from the outside, but as one who had become fully integrated into the Mexican social-political zeitgeist. As the principal photographer for the publication Mexican Folkways until 1930, and undoubtedly engaging in an artistic dialogue with her lover at the time, famed American photographer Edward Weston, Modotti infused her images from the period with the Formalist sensibility that focused on line, light, and simplicity. In Lot 19, Cactus Flower, 1926, viewers are presented with an image that praises the beauty to be found in the mundane and the local, as the dainty white flower, like a tiny miracle, sprouts out of a cactus that unassumingly if elegantly curves along the lower edge of the photograph. The work is a testament of Modotti's love for the country as much as her mastery of the Formalist style.

ITALIAN

19

Cactus Flower

1926
Gelatin silver print.
2 3/8 x 3 1/5 in. (6 x 7.6 cm).
Signed in ink on the recto; credit stamp on the verso.

Estimate
$10,000 - 15,000 

LATIN AMERICA

29 September 2010
New York