Tina Modotti: Silver-toned Simplicity

Hammer and Sickle

Woman and Child
 Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo and others in “Mayday”


Tina Modotti

Fine Art, Portraiture
Biography: Tina Modotti was a remarkable woman and an outstanding photographer whose legendary beauty and relationships with famous men have until now eclipsed a life integrally linked to the most important artistic, political and historical developments of our century.
In 1913 Tina Modotti left her native Italy for San Francisco, becoming a star of the local Italian theatre before marrying the romantic poet-painter Roubaix de I'Abrie Richey. By 1920, she had embarked on a Hollywood film career and immersed herself in bohemian Los Angeles, beginning an intense relationship with the respected American photographer, Edward Weston. On a trip to Mexico in 1922 to bury her husband, she met the Mexican muralists and became enthralled with the burgeoning cultural renaissance there. Increasingly dissatisfied with the film world, she persuaded Weston to teach her photography and move with her to Mexico. Her Mexico City homes became renowned gathering places for artists, writers and radicals, where Diego Rivera courted Frida Kahlo. Turning her camera to record Mexico in its most vibrant years, her photographs achieve a striking synthesis of artistic form and social content. Her contact with Mexico's muralists including a brief affair with Rivera, led to her involvement in radical politics.
In 1929, she was framed for the murder of her Cuban lover, gunned down at her side on a Mexico City street. A scapegoat of government repression, she was publicly slandered in a sensational trial before being acquitted. Expelled from Mexico in 1930, she went to Berlin and then to the Soviet Union, where she abandoned photography for a political activism that brought her into contact with Sergei Eisenstein, Alexandra Kollontaii, La Pasionaria, Ernest Hemingway and Robert Capa. Returning to Mexico incognito in 1939, she died three years later, a lonely - and controversial - death.
(Tina Modotti - Photographer and revolutionary by Margaret Hooks)


  1. Terrific pictures and story - thank you for posting it. I hope Rebecca sees this - I think I'll send her the link! xoxo

  2. haunting. exquisite. stunning.
    how these tender glimpses into the beauty of this country and her people i love so passionately pierces my heart.

    i mourn for the current darkness that over shadows all that is mexico. thank you for placing these windows into soul here, to offer a sense of humanity, beauty and infinite courage.

    thank you for this....healing.

  3. My Dear Rebecca,
    We know that art such as this has the power to heal and to draw human consciousness to those areas of our world that are rich with human beauty but lack justice and the light of equality. The people of Mexico are a beautiful people with a long history of artistic expression and great soul. I am thankful that Tina Modotti passed through this world to capture it. She had a phenomenal spirit and left us too early.

  4. Thank you Delphyne, and thank you for sending this to Rebecca.

  5. Noelle,
    I love Modotti's photography and I agree that we need to highlight more of this incredible country than the fear that seems to permeate everything these days.

    beautiful post

  6. Her photography was beautiful and her story fascinating. The picture of Frida and Diego in the May Day march is interesting -- I had no idea she was so tiny and he was so huge. I just finished reading The Lacuna a couple of weeks ago. Frida and Diego figure prominently in the novel.


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