Skip to Content
Closed today, next open Thursday. Closed today, next open Thursday.

Laughing Mannequins (Maniquís riendo)

A work made of gelatin silver print.

Image actions

  • A work made of gelatin silver print.




Manuel Alvarez Bravo
Mexican, 1902–2002

About this artwork

In April 1935, New York gallerist Julien Levy included this photograph in the exhibition Documentary and Anti-Graphic Photographs, which brought the work of Manuel Alvarez Bravo together with that of Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson. For Levy, the “anti-graphic” photograph renounced conventional fine-art qualities—rich tonality, sharp focus, and clear description—to achieve something that was “dynamic, startling, and inimitable.” Alvarez Bravo’s photograph of cardboard mannequins at an open-air market in Mexico City exemplifies this ideal by evoking seemingly unpremeditated associations within a mundane setting. The imagination, stimulated by such a sight, is liberated through what the Surrealist André Breton called “objective chance.” As the title of this work suggests, a reversal of potentialities operates here: the stall keepers and their customers are listless and uninterested, whereas the inanimate cardboard women floating in the air engage the viewer with vivacious smiles and alluring gazes.


Currently Off View


Photography and Media


Manuel Alvarez-Bravo


Laughing Mannequins (Maniquís riendo)


Mexico (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

Made 1930


Gelatin silver print


Inscribed recto, on mount, lower right, in graphite: "Muelvarez Bravo"; verso unchecked


Image/paper: 18.7 × 24.1 cm (7 3/8 × 9 1/2 in.); Mount: 40.9 × 32.7 cm (16 1/8 × 12 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Julien Levy Collection, gift of Jean Levy and the estate of Julien Levy

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions