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La buena fama durmiendo [Good Reputation Sleeping], from Fifteen Photographs by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, 1974

1938
20th century
18.4 cm x 24.7 cm (7 1/4 in. x 9 3/4 in.)

Double Elephant Press Ltd. Printer
Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexico City, 1902 - 2002, Mexico City) Primary
Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexico City, 1902 - 2002, Mexico City) Primary

Object Type: photograph
Artist Nationality: Latin America, Mexican
Medium and Support: Gelatin silver print
Credit Line: Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Archer M. Huntington Museum Fund, 1975
Accession Number: P1975.18.3/15

The uncanny quality of Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s images attracted the attention of French poet André Breton, the leader of the surrealist movement. In 1939, he telephoned the photographer at the Academy of San Carlos, where he was teaching, to commission the catalogue cover for Mexico’s "International Exhibition of Surrealism" (1940). On the building’s terrace, Álvarez Bravo worked with one of the school’s models, wrapping her with bandages as dancers do during practice. The resulting image, "La buena fama durmiendo," suggests the sleeping nude is both imprisoned and protected by the gauze strips and the thorny cactuses around her. Although the photographer considered it his one truly surrealist work, the image was censored and not used for the cover.

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