Mexican, born Mexico City, 1902, died 2002
Manuel Álvarez Bravo is considered one of the most significant figures in the history of photography and one of the great Mexican artists of the twentieth century. Like his contemporaries––Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros––he was influenced by the indigenous culture of Mexico throughout his career, but also remained open to artistic influences outside his country. In his work he combined elements of Pictorialist photography, Modernist abstraction, surrealism, and documentary photography, creating an art that transcended culture, time, and place. Many of his photographs of the Mexican landscape reflected his recurrent themes, such as sympathy for the working class, an air of mystery, a sense of the surreal, and a preoccupation with death.
Álvarez Bravo had over 150 individual exhibitions and participated in over 200 collective exhibitions. His work is in numerous collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Modern Art; Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (Museo de Arte Moderno), Mexico City; Fonds National d'Art Contemporain, France; and the Art Institute of Chicago.