June 2009 Archives

From our collection of art photography, a portrait photograph of Mexican composer Carlos Chávez by Mexican photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo, inscribed by Chavez in 1934. Print dimensions: 2 7/8 in. x 3 3/4 in.

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Carlos Chávez received formal training as a pianist, but was largely self-taught as a composer. He grew up during the period of intense nationalism in Mexico brought about by the end of the Mexican revolution. His investigation into native folk music and dance were a significant influence in his music. Chávez was also a distinguished teacher and had an active conducting career, working with nearly every major symphony orchestra in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

Álvarez Bravo studied painting and music in Mexico City; in 1922, he began to take photographs. Through his life he knew many of the artists and writers who lived or visited Mexico including Tina Modotti, Diego Rivera, Paul Strand, and Cartier-Bresson, to name a few. In 1930, when Modotti left Mexico, he provided illustrations for Francis Toor’s book Mexican Folkways. In 1938 he met André Breton; Breton published some of Álvarez Bravo's photographs in Minotaure.

Álvarez Bravo influenced younger generations of photographers in Latin America because of his subject-matter, which often focused on indigenous peoples, and because in his work he combined awareness of current trends in international photography with an appreciation of his own country’s traditions.

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On the page facing the title John Taaffe has written the following note:

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"This poem was given me by its lamented Author. The notes are my own, and were written by me one night at Florence: and I now copy them from the original which I have given to my beloved sister Fanny. J. Taaffe. Fano. May 1834."

The margins of every page are filled with Taaffe's notes, elaborating on the poem, explaining its allusions and sources. On the final blank, Taaffe has written an account of Shelley's death concluding, "I can't look upon this poem at present without a crowd of most sorrowful recollections". The notes are written in ink and pencil; the ink has bled through, rendering reading the notes quite difficult in many places.

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Our copy of the Pisa edition of Shelley's "Adonais" was a gift from William Clary. William Clary graduated from Pomona College in 1911; was an attorney at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles; a trustee of Pomona, Harvey Mudd, and Pitzer colleges; a founding trustee of Claremont College (now, separately, Claremont University Consortium and the Claremont Graduate University); and founding member of the Zamorano Club. His collection on the history of the University of Oxford and its colleges is one of the most distinguished of our Special Collections, along with his collections of Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Milton.

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Drawing of woman crossing style, text reads: Rather an Unbecoming Style.

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