Tina Modotti


"William Spratling," 1929

Gelatin silver print on paper tipped to a board mount, as issued
Signed in pencil on the mount, lower right: Tine Modotti; inscribed and dated in ink on the image, lower right: To Fred Davis with the warmest regards and sincerest appreciation of his friendship / Wm. Spratling / Mexico May 7, 1929
Image/Sheet: 9.25" H x 7.375" W; Mount: 10.5" H x 8.5" W

  • Notes: 1929 marked a pivotal change for William Spratling: He resigned from the faculty of the School of Architecture at Tulane University and moved to Taxco, Mexico. Like so many friends within his new circle, including Frederick Davis, Tina Modotti and Edward Weston, the gravitational pull southward on these Americans was irresistible. Each had their own reasons (and hurdles) in doing so, but this move for Spratling would not have been possible without his friendship with Frederick Davis. Davis is credited with introducing William Spratling to the silver craftsmanship, as well as the numerous opportunities both men enjoyed while working during this period in Mexico.
    Tina Modotti took a series of portraits of Spratling in the late 1920s, depicting a man, often smiling and at ease in his new environment. However, Spratling chose this particular image, the most straightforward if not personal of Modotti's works, to inscribe "the warmest regards and sincerest appreciation of his friendship" to Davis. Spratling's gifted photograph is a lasting testament to the bond these two ex-pats shared which no doubt helped encourage each other in their mutual passion and projects in Mexican folk art.
    Within two years, Spratling would launch his silver shop in Taxco and forever be known as the ‘gringo' who reinvigorated the silver industry in that region and beyond.
  • Condition: Overall good condition. Very small and scattered areas of surface abrasion at the extreme sheet edges. Two pea-sized areas of old adhesive on the verso of the lower left and right corners of the sheet. Pale staining to the mount, both recto and verso. The sheet is tipped to the mount along the verso of the upper sheet edge, and the mount is hinged to the overmat with three pieces of hinging tape from the verso of the upper edge.

    Framed under glass: 18.75" H x 14.25" W x 1.5" D

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December 6, 2023 10:00 AM PST
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