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 Tina Modotti

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Tina Modotti Famous memorial

Original Name
Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini
Birth
Udine, Provincia di Udine, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
Death
5 Jan 1942 (aged 45)
Distrito Federal, Mexico
Burial
Miguel Hidalgo, Miguel Hidalgo Borough, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Memorial ID
18403 View Source

Photographer, Political Activist. She was an Italian-born photographer, model, actor, and revolutionary political activist for the Communist International Party or the Comintern. Born Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini, she lived in Austria as a child, where her family was impoverished laborers. After relocating in July of 1913 from Italy to the United States, she joined her family, who had settled in San Francisco. By 1920, she had become an actress on stage and in three silent movies, had married in 1918 Italian-born painter L'Abre Richey, and was a model for photographer Edward Winston. In 1922 her father died shortly after her husband died of smallpox. In 1923 she and Weston, as a couple, moved to Mexico opening a portrait studio in Mexico City. Subsequently, she studied photography with Winston, becoming a photographer known for her meticulously composed and fine detail. In Italy as a child, she had worked with an uncle, who was a photographer. Her photographs on murals in churches and public buildings made the Mexican muralists, such as Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco and David Álvaro Siqueiros, known throughout Europe and the rest of the world. By 1927, she became socially and politically known as a Communist. Her photographs echoed her political reasoning. In addition to having exhibitions in Mexico and the United States, she published her work in various Mexican magazines and newspapers, including "Mexican Folkways" and the Communist newspaper "El Machete;" in European left-wing magazines "Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung" and "Der Arbeiter-Fotograf;" and art and literary magazines "Transition" and "L'Art vivant." She became romantically involved with a founder of the Cuban Communist Party, Julio Antonio Mella, taking several photographs of him. On the evening of January 10, 1929, while the couple were walking along a street in Mexico City, Mella was assassinated. She was first arrested for the murder of Mella but cleared of any charges. Two weeks after her first one-woman exhibition at Mexico City's National Library in December of 1929, she was arrested again with charges of being part of an attempt to assassinate the new Mexican president, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, but not found guilty. Her politics ultimately led to her exile from Mexico to the Netherlands, Germany, and finally, Russia, with her settling in Moscow in October of 1930. She joined the Soviet Communist Party. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, she traveled to Spain, supporting the Republicans. During the war, she abandoned photography in order to devote her energies to a Communist Party humanitarian organization, the International Red Aid. Upon the loss of the war by the Republicans in April of 1939, she escaped to France. With Europe being in an unrest on the dawn of World War II, she was refused entry to the United States, thus returned to Mexico using an alias. In 1941 she applied for political asylum and regained the right to use her own name. After visiting Nobel Prize poet Pablo Neruda, who had been appointed Consul for the Spanish exiles from France, she died while a passenger in a taxi cab at the age of 45 from, according to documentation, "heart failure" but many believe she was murdered for political reasons. Her worn original grave marker was replaced in the 21st century with an upright one with her photograph incased in the stone. Some critics state her political activity as a Communist overshadowed the fact that she was an amazing photographer with a seven-year career.

Photographer, Political Activist. She was an Italian-born photographer, model, actor, and revolutionary political activist for the Communist International Party or the Comintern. Born Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini, she lived in Austria as a child, where her family was impoverished laborers. After relocating in July of 1913 from Italy to the United States, she joined her family, who had settled in San Francisco. By 1920, she had become an actress on stage and in three silent movies, had married in 1918 Italian-born painter L'Abre Richey, and was a model for photographer Edward Winston. In 1922 her father died shortly after her husband died of smallpox. In 1923 she and Weston, as a couple, moved to Mexico opening a portrait studio in Mexico City. Subsequently, she studied photography with Winston, becoming a photographer known for her meticulously composed and fine detail. In Italy as a child, she had worked with an uncle, who was a photographer. Her photographs on murals in churches and public buildings made the Mexican muralists, such as Diego Rivera, Clemente Orozco and David Álvaro Siqueiros, known throughout Europe and the rest of the world. By 1927, she became socially and politically known as a Communist. Her photographs echoed her political reasoning. In addition to having exhibitions in Mexico and the United States, she published her work in various Mexican magazines and newspapers, including "Mexican Folkways" and the Communist newspaper "El Machete;" in European left-wing magazines "Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung" and "Der Arbeiter-Fotograf;" and art and literary magazines "Transition" and "L'Art vivant." She became romantically involved with a founder of the Cuban Communist Party, Julio Antonio Mella, taking several photographs of him. On the evening of January 10, 1929, while the couple were walking along a street in Mexico City, Mella was assassinated. She was first arrested for the murder of Mella but cleared of any charges. Two weeks after her first one-woman exhibition at Mexico City's National Library in December of 1929, she was arrested again with charges of being part of an attempt to assassinate the new Mexican president, Pascual Ortiz Rubio, but not found guilty. Her politics ultimately led to her exile from Mexico to the Netherlands, Germany, and finally, Russia, with her settling in Moscow in October of 1930. She joined the Soviet Communist Party. With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, she traveled to Spain, supporting the Republicans. During the war, she abandoned photography in order to devote her energies to a Communist Party humanitarian organization, the International Red Aid. Upon the loss of the war by the Republicans in April of 1939, she escaped to France. With Europe being in an unrest on the dawn of World War II, she was refused entry to the United States, thus returned to Mexico using an alias. In 1941 she applied for political asylum and regained the right to use her own name. After visiting Nobel Prize poet Pablo Neruda, who had been appointed Consul for the Spanish exiles from France, she died while a passenger in a taxi cab at the age of 45 from, according to documentation, "heart failure" but many believe she was murdered for political reasons. Her worn original grave marker was replaced in the 21st century with an upright one with her photograph incased in the stone. Some critics state her political activity as a Communist overshadowed the fact that she was an amazing photographer with a seven-year career.

Bio by: Larry Cañonga

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 15 Nov 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 18403
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/18403/tina-modotti: accessed ), memorial page for Tina Modotti (16 Aug 1896–5 Jan 1942), Find a Grave Memorial ID 18403, citing Panteón Civil de Dolores, Miguel Hidalgo, Miguel Hidalgo Borough, Distrito Federal, Mexico; Maintained by Find a Grave .