Laughing Mannequins (Maniquís riendo)

A work made of gelatin silver print.

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  • A work made of gelatin silver print.

Date:

1930

Artist:

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.

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Photography

Artist

Manuel Alvarez-Bravo

Title

Laughing Mannequins (Maniquís riendo)

Origin

México

Date

1930

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Inscriptions

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

Dimensions

18.7 x 24.1 cm (image/paper); 40.9 x 32.7 cm (mount)

Credit Line

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

Reference Number

1988.157.8

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 .

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