Examining the life-cycle artistic productivity of Latin American photographers

Produced by: 
Association for Cultural Economics International - ACEI
Available from: 
September 2019
Paper author(s): 
José R. Sánchez-Fung
Microeconomics - Competition - Productivity

The paper examines the life-cycle artistic productivity of three leading Latin American photographers of the twentieth century: Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexico), Sergio Larraín (Chile), and Sebastião Salgado (Brazil). The analysis constructs narratives using art books and other sources of expert commentary, following the approach in earlier contributions to the economic literature on the subject (David W. Galenson, 2007, Old masters and young geniuses: The two life cycles of artistic creativity, Princeton University Press). The research identifies Manuel Álvarez Bravo as a ‘conceptual innovator’, a feature that caught the French surrealists’ attention early in his career. In contrast, Sergio Larraín and Sebastião Salgado accomplish their contributions to photography like ‘experimental innovators’. The investigation assembles and evaluates metrics from museum holdings and selected retrospectives to gauge the robustness of the conclusions emerging from the benchmark narratives.


Research section: 
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