Collection: Tina Modotti

About Tina Modotti, her photographs, prints and artworks. 

Tina Modotti was born Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini on August 16, 1896 in Udine (a part of Italy between the Alps and the Adriatic). At the age of just 16 she travelled alone on the SS Moltke from Genoa to America in 1913 to live with her father and sister in San Francisco. According to Letizia Argenteri, author of Tina Modotti: Between Art and Revolution, she arrived on July 8 at Ellis Island declaring "herself to be single, five feet one inch tall, in good mental and physical health, and a student." She carried with her "100 dollars and a train ticket for San Francisco, where her father and her sister Mercedes resided."

Modotti worked as an artist’s model during her first years in the country and acted in plays and silent films with her movie career culminating in the 1920 film The Tiger's Coat released in 1920.

In the same year Modotti appeared in The Tiger's Coat she met the photographer Edward Weston, who mentored her and was a great influence on her subsequent photographic work. By 1921 they had become lovers, and in 1923 they moved together to Mexico City...

Modotti also became the photographer of choice for the blossoming Mexican mural movement, photographing people such as  José Clemente Orozco and Diego Rivera and their works. Between 1924 and 1928, Modotti took hundreds of photographs of Rivera's murals at the Secretariat of Public Education in Mexico City...


In 1930 Modotti found herself in prison... After 13 days in prison amidst a concerted anti-communist, anti-immigrant press campaign, that depicted "the fierce and bloody Tina Modotti",  the artist and prominent member of the Mexican Communist Party was eventually released and deported. Initially spending a few months months in Berlin followed by several years in Moscow. After 1931, Modotti no longer took any photographs none can be found anyway.

This is an abridged version of the essay on Flashbak: 'Without Distortions or Manipulations' - The Photographs of Tina Modotti.