• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7434

    Photographs

    13 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 60

    MANUEL ALVAREZ BRAVO (1902-2002)

    El Ensueño [The Daydream], 1931

    Price Realised  

    MANUEL ALVAREZ BRAVO (1902-2002)
    El Ensueño [The Daydream], 1931
    gelatin silver print
    signed and annotated 'Méx' in pencil on mount
    9 5/8 x 7 5/8in. (24.5 x 19.3cm.)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Alvarez Bravo embraced lyricism in his photography and by 1935, fantasy and dream were established motifs in his work. Susan Kismaric, in her accompanying publication to the 1997 MoMA exhibition Manuel Alvarez Bravo explains this image:

    ...The Daydream of 1931 is a simple, direct picture of a young girl standing on a balcony caught in a wistful moment by the photographer. Alvarez Bravo glanced up to see the girl as he sat reading Dostoevski in the tenement where he lived, jumped up to retrieve his Graflex, and returned to find her in the same pose. Despite its simplicity, the picture is a rhapsody of longing, lament, or revery. The construction of the picture puts the young woman at some distance from us, behind the barrier of the fence whose angles are repeated in the angle formed by the position of her arms. The light on her right side, and especially on her shoulder, seems to emanate from above, singling her out. Her insulated experience is not betrayed by the photographer, or by us, in the slightest. In its quietude and its sense of the solitary, the picture exists in a kind of vacuum, while it simultaneously conveys its message across time and place (p.28).

    Vintage prints of this important image are exceedingly rare.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    With Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York;
    acquired by present owner, 1985.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE THOMAS WALTHER COLLECTION


    Literature

    Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Aperture, 1987, p.73; Szarkowski, Photography Until Now, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989, p.230, for a variant cropping; this print is reproduced in Kismaric, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1997, p.77.


    Exhibited

    New York, Photo League Gallery, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, February 1942 and reinstalled 10 January - 1 February 1950.