Monday, August 11, 2014

Tina Modotti, Lloyd Wright and Otto Bollman Connections, 1920

(Click on images to enlarge).
Tina Modotti movie head shot, ca. 1920. Photographer unknown. From  Tina Modotti: A Fragile Life by Mildred Constantine, Chronicle, 1993, p. 33.

Tina Modotti was a stage performer in San Francisco's Italian community before marrying Roubaix "Robo" de l'Abrie Richey in 1917 and moving to Los Angeles to pursue a movie career. After three years of nothing but uncredited bit parts her acting career seemed to be gaining traction around the time she met Edward Weston in 1920. Tina's first major role could have been sparked by any number of mutual movie industry friends in her and Robo's and/or Edward Weston and Margrethe Mather's social circles including Anita Stewart, Myrtle Stedman, Olga Zacsek, Florence Deshon, Helen Richardson, Vivian Martin, Ramiel McGehee and numerous others. Lloyd had also collaborated with McGehee on stage set design for his Cherry Blossom Players performances at the Alexandria Hotel and elsewhere in 1916-17.  (For much more on this see my "Edward Weston, R. M. Schindler, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright, Lawrence Tibbett, Reginald Pole, Beatrice Wood and Their Dramatic Circles" (WSZW).

Perhaps another intro however was provided by Lloyd Wright who had many strong industry contacts through his heading up the set design department for Paramount Pictures and drama connections through his best friends Reginald Pole and Helen Taggart. Otto's 20-year old son Henry was also likely by then in Lloyd's circle of movie business friends. (Author's note: There are references in the Barbara Morgan letters describing painting outings with Lloyd Wright and socializing with Henry Bollman. Morgan also featured a poem by Wright on the front page of the U.C. Southern Branch Art Department organ Dark & Light which she edited between 1922 and 1926. Courtesy of Lael Morgan.).

Lloyd Wright, ca. 1920. From "The Blessing and the Curse" by Thomas S. Hines in Lloyd Wright: The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr. by Alan Weintraub, Abrams, 1998, p. 14.