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Mexican Fotoescultura (Photo Sculpture) August 29 2014, 0 Comments

Maker Unknown. Fotoescultura, wood carving with hand painted photograph, c.1950. 11 3/4" h x 11 1/4" w x 3"
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In Mexico, in the 1930s, the three-dimensional effigy and the memorial photograph melded into the potent form known as a fotoescultura  - literally, "photos sculpture". Artisans began carving three-dimensional wooden cutouts based on a studio photograph (usually procured by a traveling salesman). After carving and painting the wooden bust and adhering the photograph to it, the artisan would add hand-tinting and embellishments such as jewelry and costuming to create a startling likeness. As photography  historian Geoffrey Batchen observes, "while the photograph usually speaks to us of the past..fotosculturas speaks of eternal life...the fully dimensioned presence of the present."

 


Saying Goodbye to My Fotoescultura Guy April 11 2014, 2 Comments

I cannot be in New York City for all the Spring photos shows but my guy, my faithful fotoescultura (whom I affectionately call Pablo) is there. Fotoesculturas were made primarily in Mexico beginning in the 1920s and are highly personal and devotional folk photo sculptures. They were often commissioned by traveling salesmen to commemorate events, memorialize the dead or honor individuals. They were displayed in the home, not unusual to see them on top of televisions and on shelves with other family keepsakes. I've owned this beautiful c.1950s fotoescultura for several years and it has had pride of place in my home. Now, I am looking at him as Lot #128 in the catalogue for the upcoming auction, The Vernacular Eye: Photographic Albums, Snapshots & Objects at Swann Galleries in New York on April 17th. I will miss my Pablo and I hope he finds a good home (he is fabulous!). If anyone sees him at the Swann Gallery auction snap a picture for me!