10 Oct, 2011 @ 12:33
1 min read

Spain unpacks the Mexican Suitcase

CAPTURING everything from the major events to the mundane details, a stunning collection of rare photos from the Spanish Civil War has finally been put on display in Spain.

More than 15 years after they were discovered in Mexico City, the Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC) has unveiled a collection of war photography by Robert Capa, David ‘Chim’ Seymour and Gerda Taro.

The wonderful cache – including a rare shot of writer Ernest Hemingway – is part of a series of snaps that were released to New York’s International Center of Photography (ICP) in 2007 after being considered lost since 1939.

As reported in the Olive Press last year, the long lost work of the trio of photographers – who lived in Paris, worked in Spain, and published internationally – miraculously surfaced in 1995 in three flimsy cardboard boxes in an attic in Mexico City.

The so-called Mexican Suitcase, containing 4,500 negatives, documents life during the war as seen through the eyes of three photographers, whose work has long been considered some of the most innovative and passionate coverage of the Spanish Civil War.

These images will be seen alongside the magazines of the period and with the photographers’ own contact notebooks.

“Capa, Chim and Taro risked their lives to witness history in the making and showing it to the world, and the Mexican Suitcase contains some of their most important works,” explained Cynthia Young, a curator at the ICP who has overseen the Barcelona exhibition.

“The Mexican Suitcase marks a profound shift in the study of these three photographers. In the process of researching the negatives of both major events and mundane details of the war, the authorship of numerous images by Capa, Chim and Taro has been confirmed or reattributed.”

The Mexican suitcase will be on display until January 15 at MNAC, Barcelona.

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