Mexico City: Sociedad de Arte Moderno, 1945. Limited first edition. Softcover. 1/100. Quarto. 93pp. Housed in a custom black leather clamshell box with gilt lettering and ruling on the front cover, raised bands and ruling on the spine. Original grey, black and white pictorial wrappers with white and black lettering on the front cover and spine.
This collection includes both the special limited edition and first trade edition of this acclaimed work by pioneering Latin-American photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo (1902-2002). The special edition is nearly identical to the trade edition in most respects, but is limited to 100 copies (this copy is out of series) and includes an additional section of 4 leaves, containing 3 tipped-in original silver gelatin photographs* by Alvarez Bravo, preceding the main section of photographic reproductions. Each original print is protected with a tissue guard, mounted on heavy cardstock, and is captioned on the opposite page. The trade edition is limited to 1000 copies.
Issued in conjunction with exhibition held at the Sociedad de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, the book serves, in part, as a catalog of the work shown there. Of the total of 109 of the photographer's images shown at that exhibition, 30 appear in this book as b/w photographic reproductions, each captioned on the opposite page. The initial 31 pages are comprised of fascinating text sections including; an initial essay by Alvarez Bravo himself, short essays on the photographer by acclaimed artist Diego Rivera and writer Xavier Villaurrutia (1903-1950), an essay on the art of photography by acclaimed Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa (1907-1997), a timeline of the history of photography, biographical text on Alvarez Bravo, and a full list of the photographs shown at the exhibition, as well as a photographic portrait of the photographer taken by his wife Doris Heyden. An original copy of the printed promotional flier for the exhibition is laid in at the interior front cover.
This publication had a profound influence on the history of photography in Latin America, and would become very influential for a younger generation of photographers. As a single statement this powerful and intriguing collection of images serves as the photographer's exploration of "Mexicanidad" (Mexicaness) - "what it means physically, historically, psychologically and spiritually to be Mexican" as well as a very subtle and metaphoric examination of the ever present "historical tensions arising from the Spanish conquest" (Parr & Badger, p.95).
Text in Spanish.
Wrappers of the limited edition with the most minor of rubbing to extremities and a tiny stain on the front cover. Trade edition wrappers with a few minor smudges to the wrappers and a few small crease to the upper righthand corner of the front cover. Limited edition in near fine, trade edition in very good+ to near fine condition overall. Limited edition wrappers protected in modern mylar. vg+ to near fine. Item #50060
* The three photographs are "El Ensueno" (no.18 in the exhibition list), "Luz Restirada" (no.88), and "Dia de Todos Muertos" (no.71)
Bibliographic reference: Parr & Badger, p.95.