To her descendants
Sotheby's New York, 3 October 2001, Sale 7702, Lot 150
Reinhard Schultz, et al., Tina Modotti: Photographien & Dokumente (Berlin: Sozialarchiv, 1989), p. 94
Valentina Agostinis, Tina Modotti: Gli Anni Luminosi (Pordenone, 1992), p. 107
Margaret Hooks, Tina Modotti: Photographer and Revolutionary (London, 1993), p. 122
Robert Miller and Spencer Throckmorton, Tina Modotti, Photographs (New York, 1997), pl. 19
Sarah M. Lowe, Tina Modotti: Photographs (New York, 1998), pl. 66
Aperture Masters of Photography: Tina Modotti (New York, 1999), p. 63
Tina Modotti and Edward Weston: Mexican Years (Throckmorton Fine Art, 1999), pl. 29
Patricia Albers, Shadows, Fire, Snow: The Life of Tina Modotti (New York, 1999), unpaginated
The print offered here was given by Modotti to Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952), Soviet minister to Mexico in 1926 and 1927. Kollontai became an active member of the Russian Social-Democratic Worker’s Party in 1898. An ardent and radical feminist, she campaigned tirelessly for women’s rights, advocated free love and the simplification of marriage and divorce procedures, and fought for the removal of social and legal stigmas attached to illegitimate children. She was the first female Soviet diplomat and served in Norway and Sweden, as well as Mexico.
Like Modotti, Kollontai loved Mexico and entered enthusiastically into Mexico City’s cultural life. A consummate diplomat, the well-dressed, elegant Kollontai mixed easily with the various strata of Mexican society, hosting black-tie dinners at the Russian embassy and at cultural events, among them the public screening of Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin. Modotti and Kollontai became close friends during this time, and upon Kollontai’s departure from Mexico, Modotti gave her this print, as well as Calla Lily, Elisa Kneeling, and her own portrait of the diplomat.
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