Selected Images, 1929
Four gelatin silver prints. Varying sizes from 5 ½ x 9 ½ (14 x 24.1 cm) to 7 £x215c; x 9 ½ (19 x 24.1 cm) or the reverse. One stamped, two annotated 'Louis Bunin', one titled, annotated 'The secretary is a caricature of Sinclair Lewis' and 'best print' in pencil on the verso.
Provenance: From the Family of Louis Bunin; Sotheby's, New York, 7 April 1998
Literature: Hooks, Tina Modotti, pgs. 48, 50; Lowe, Tina Modotti: Photographs, pl. 53; Hooks, Tina Modotti: Radical Photographer, n.p.
In 1929, Louis Bunin moved from Chicago to Mexico to work as an apprentice for the muralist Diego Rivera. While there, he met and forged a close friendship with Rivera's partner, Tina Modotti; a friendship based largely on their shared love of the theater. Like artists before them that regarded puppetry as a safe venue through which to express social and political frustrations, the two began collaborating; Bunin creating the puppets and Modotti photographing his marionette productions. The resulting photographs range from intimate portraits such as the one of Louis Bunin with a puppet to scenes touching upon capitalism and police brutality. For Modotti, these photographs mark the end of her time in Mexico and speak subtly but defiantly to the corruption of the governing structure she was to leave behind. Titles include: Louis Bunin and "The Secretary", 1929; Three Puppets in a Ship Setting, 1929; Police Puppets, 1929; and Untitled, circa 1929