Toy Blocks

negative 1987, printed 1992
Abelardo Morell (American (born in Cuba, 1948))


Sheet: 60.7 x 50.4 cm (23 7/8 x 19 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Photograph, gelatin silver print

Not On View


Americas, Contemporary Art, Photography



After an early career as a street photographer in the tradition of Robert Frank and Henri Cartier-Bresson, Abelardo Morell changed direction in 1986 with the birth of his son. He began to photograph his domestic environment from new and surprising perspectives. Toys and household objects, photographed from a child’s eye level, take on new meanings as the distorted sense of scale transforms a familiar reality. From a floor-level viewpoint, this tower of nesting blocks looms as large as a skyscraper, and its illustrated surfaces seem to represent an intimidating mountain of knowledge to be absorbed. The shadow cast by the blocks, the glaring light, and the large size of the print itself contribute to the idea of a daunting task ahead.


Verso, graphite, l. l.: Abelardo Morell; Verso, graphite, l. r.: Toy Blocks, 1987.


Artist, purchased January 1993.

Credit Line

Abbott Lawrence Fund


© Abelardo Morell/Courtesy Bonni Benrubi Gallery, NYC