Lot 6
  • 6

Manuel Álvarez Bravo

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Manuel Álvarez Bravo
  • Signed in pencil on the mount
  • Gelatin silver print, mounted
  • 9 x 6 1/4 inches
mounted, signed in pencil on the mount, framed, 1932


Collection of André Breton

By descent to Aube Elléouët, André Breton's daughter

Galerie 1900-2000, Paris, 2000

Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, 2005


Fred R. Parker, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Pasadena Art Museum, 1971), p. 26

Jane Livingston, M Álvarez Bravo (Boston, 1978), pl. 27

A. D. Coleman, Aperture Masters of Photography: Manuel Álvarez Bravo (New York, 1987), pl. 13

Susan Kismaric, Manuel Álvarez Bravo (The Museum of Modern Art, 1997), fig. 11, p. 23

Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Photopoetry (San Francisco, 2008), p. 2

Revelaciones: The Art of Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Albuquerque, 1990), pl. 6

Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Cien Años, Cien Días (Madrid, 2001), pl. 29

Documentary & Anti-Graphic Photographs by Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans & Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Göttingen, 2004), p. 85

Emily Edwards and Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Painted Walls of Mexico From Prehistoric Times Until Today (Austin and London, 1966), p. 154, pl. 125 (variant cropping)

Catalogue Note

While Manuel Álvarez Bravo never aspired to be a Surrealist, many of his images possess a dreamlike quality, albeit one that is grounded in reality by the intense Mexican light.  In Paisaje de Equitación, a horse gallops within its own landscape, completely out of context from the city street on which it finds itself.  It is this ‘picture within a picture’ aspect of the piece which fulfills the requirements of Surrealism.  Yet Bravo’s attention to the actual details of the scene—the crisp shadow cast by the tree’s spreading leaves, the sign fragment on the left, and the advertisement for medicine on the right—allows the photograph to inhabit the realms of both the real and Surreal. 

The photograph offered here comes originally from the collection of André Breton, Surrealism’s founder and greatest impresario.  Breton met Bravo in Mexico in 1938, by which time Bravo had already created a mature and extensive body of work.  Breton was immediately impressed by Bravo’s images, seeing in them the kind of innate Surrealism he also saw in the work of Eugène Atget and Helen Levitt, and he became an active supporter of the photographer.  In 1939, he asked Bravo to contribute photographs to his Mexique exhibition at Galerie Renou et Colle in Paris, where they were shown alongside paintings by Frida Kahlo, pre-Columbian sculpture, and Breton’s own collection of Mexican folk art.  Breton reproduced a Bravo photograph on the cover of his book, Mexique.  He included Bravo’s work in the 1940 Exposition International del Surrealismo, held in Mexico City; the exhibition’s catalogue cover featured a Bravo image.  This exhibition, truly an international showcase, included work by Kahlo, Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Jean Arp, Giorgio de Chirico, Meret Oppenheim, Hans Bellmer, Raoul Ubac, and others.  Breton also collected Bravo’s work, and a number of his photographs were included in the historic 2003 sale of Breton’s estate.    

An exhibition checklist indicates that Paisaje de Equitación (titled Paisaje y Galope elsewhere) was included in Bravo’s joint 1935 exhibition with Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City (cf. Documentary & Anti-Graphic Photographs by Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans & Manuel Álvarez Bravo, p. 20).  Bravo then sent this same group of photographs to the Julien Levy Gallery in New York City, where they formed part of Levy’s seminal exhibition, Documentary & Anti-Graphic: Photographs by Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans, & Álvarez Bravo.