Happy birthday to the Italian actress, photographer, and political activist Tina Modotti (1896–1942), who has been called “the best-known unknown photographer of the twentieth century.” In 1995, the Museum mounted the first comprehensive exhibition of her photography. Her independent spirit, legendary beauty, and liaisons with well-known artists and revolutionaries caused much to be written about her life. Modotti was born in Italy and immigrated to California when she was sixteen. She moved to Mexico in 1923 and learned photography from the renowned American photographer Edward Weston. She became best known for her pictures of Mexican women, children, workers, and artisans. Although art and politics were equally important to Modotti, she abandoned photography in 1932 to dedicate herself to political activism.
Woman of Tehuantepec,” c. 1929, by Tina Modotti