Urgent Museum Notice

Daniela Rossell

A photograph of an adult woman long, straight, dark hair and thick bangs covering her forehead. She is posed from the neck up against a bright yellow background. She makes eye contact with the viewer and is smiling.

Photo © Daniella Rossell, Courtesy the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

Born in 1973

The granddaughter of two former Mexican governors and the daughter of an art collector, Rossell grew up as a member of Mexico’s upper class and surrounded by fine art. She began her artistic career as an actress, briefly pursued painting, and finally turned to photography.

Rossell’s best-known images are part of her “Ricas y Famosas” series. Named for a popular telenovela, this group of photographs dates from 1994–2001 and features members of Mexico’s elite in their homes. Focusing on the women in powerful families, Rossell worked with her sitters to select the setting, poses, and clothing in each image. As Rossell is a member of this group herself, her subjects included family, friends, and acquaintances.

The series faced serious scrutiny when the entire series of photographs was published as a book in 2002. The wives and daughters of members of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional portrayed in the images were deemed “poster girls of corruption.” The public viewed the book as a visual representation of the unequal distribution of wealth in the country.

Rossell is interested in “feminine” descriptors and spaces, such as a standards of beauty and women’s traditional association with the home. In particular, she is curious to see the ways her subjects react to or “perform”  such roles. She also explored these concepts in her “Olympic Tower” series, which features the inhabitants of a luxury apartment building in New York City.

Artist Details

  • Name

    Daniela Rossell
  • Birth

    Mexico City, 1973

Works by Daniela Rossell

Medusa, from the series “Ricas y Famosas”

Each work in Daniela Rossell’s “Ricas y Famosas” series is the product of a collaborative effort between artist and sitter. Before taking a photograph, Rossell toured the houses and interviewed her subjects, receiving input on the setting, clothing, and poses.

In Medusa, Rossell created two views of the sitter and her environment, both the actual image and the reflection in the...

A slim, light-skinned woman wearing a long, emerald-green dress gazes up at the viewer from the foot of the bed, her bare feet near the headboard. Brown hair radiates from her head in 10 curled, snake-like segments. Her arms, bent at the elbows, extend from her body to form a W.