Tina Modotti - Artist | Icon | Inspiration: Women in Photography Presented with Peter Fetterman New York Friday, June 7, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Collection of Lola Cueto, Mexico City
    Collection of Frances Toor, Mexico City
    Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc., New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Tina Modotti’s still life study of a native Mexican sculpture showcases the photographer’s embrace of Mexican culture and her skill at creating a compelling photographic composition from a minimum of elements. In this image, Modotti made the inspired choice of using tinfoil as a backdrop; placed just outside of the field of focus, the foil creates a mysterious and visually arresting background for the lively bird figure. As evidenced by the notation on the reverse of its mount, this photograph comes originally from the collection of Mexican artist Lola Cueto (1897-1978). Modotti and Cueto were friends, and both were involved in Mexico City’s dynamic 1920s art scene. Cueto’s work combined elements of Cubism and other aspects of Modernism with Mexican folk art. This photograph was subsequently owned by another friend of Modotti’s, Frances Toor (1890-1956), the anthropologist and publisher of the influential magazine, Mexican Folkways.


Untitled (bird sculpture)

Gelatin silver print.
2 7/8 x 3 3/4 in. (7.3 x 9.5 cm)
Initialed and dated in pencil on the mount; annotated 'Propriedad de Lola Cueto' likely by Lola Cueto in ink on the reverse of the mount.

$7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $8,750

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Artist | Icon | Inspiration: Women in Photography Presented with Peter Fetterman

New York Auction 7 June 2019