Untitled (Hair on Tile Floor)

Object Details


Untitled (Hair on Tile Floor)


Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexican, 1902 - 2002)




negative 1940s; print late 1990s


Gelatin silver print


23.4 × 18.4 cm (9 3/16 × 7 1/4 in.)


© Colette Urbajtel/Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, SC

Credit Line:

Gift of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser

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Manuel Alvarez Bravo's photograph of a long lock of wavy hair lying on a geometrically patterned floor juxtaposes texture and materials, dreams and taboos, and invokes questions about the drama taking place outside the photograph. Was this hair placed on the floor intentionally, or did it fall accidentally? The natural presumption is that the hair belonged to a woman, but could it have belonged to a man? Stripped of a luxurious mane, so symbolic of power and passion, is its one-time "owner" now weak and indifferent? This complex image has led one writer to assert that "in theme and form, the photograph is divided between the hint of seduction and that of punishment."

Gift of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser


Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser

Manuel Alvarez Bravo: Optical Parables (November 13, 2001 to February 9, 2003)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 13, 2001 to February 17, 2002
  • Museo Nacional de Arte (Mexico City), March 14 to June 2, 2002
  • Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), November 10, 2002 to February 9, 2003