Lola Alvarez Bravo

Lola Álvarez Bravo


Artist Details

Birth Place
Lagos de Moreno, Mexico
Death Place
Mexico City
Phonetic Spelling
LOH-lah AHL-vah-rehs BRAH-voh
Filmmaker; Photographer; Photomontagist
Places of Residence
Mexico City
Retrospective Exhibitions

Lola Alvarez Bravo: In Her Own Light, Americas Society Art Gallery, New York, 1996; Lola Alvarez Bravo: Fotografias Selectas 1934-1985, Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporaño, Mexico City, Mexico, 1992; Mexico Art Today, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1943

NMWA Exhibitions

Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century, 1999–2000
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997, 1997
A History of Women Photographers, 1997
Lola Alvarez Bravo: Portraits of Frida Kahlo, 1992

About the Artist

Dolores (Lola) Álvarez Bravo was one of Mexico’s first professional women photographers, documenting daily life in Mexico and portraying an array of international leaders.

A native of Lagos de Moreno, Jalisco, a small city on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, she moved to Mexico City with her family when very young. Orphaned at eight, she was raised by relatives. In 1925, she married the young Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo, who had been a friend and neighbor for many years.

Lola assisted her husband in the darkroom and soon began taking her own pictures. The couple knew many of the most important Mexican artists of the day, including José Clemente Orozco, Rufino Tamayo, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo.

In 1934, Álvarez Bravo’s marriage ended. She established a successful independent career, taking inspiration from the work of such photographers as Edward Weston and Tina Modotti. For the next 50 years, Álvarez Bravo photographed a variety of subjects, creating documentary images of Mexico's villages, city streets, and peoples. She also experimented with photomontage.

Álvarez Bravo’s had her first solo exhibition in 1944; numerous solo and group shows followed. From 1951 through 1958, she directed her own Mexico City gallery. In 1953 her gallery presented Frida Kahlo's only solo exhibition in her native country during her lifetime. By the late 1980s, Álvarez Bravo had stopped making photographs because of failing eyesight.

National Museum of Women in the Arts