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AUCTION 20

The First Major Work to Be Illustrated with Political Caricatures
(Mathes, Mexico on Stone)

100. [MORALES, Juan Bautista]. El Gallo Pitagórico. 1845 [lithograph title page on grey tinted ground]. Mexico: Imprenta Litog. de Cumplido, 1845. [2 (lithograph title)], 280, [8 (2 index, 6 Cumplido catalogue)], [final verso blank] pp., 19 lithograph plates by Cumplido after art work by Iriarte, Blanco, and Herédia (illustrated title, portrait of Morales, and 17 caricatures), a few text engravings, (one signed by Rafael), ornamental head- and tailpieces. (The number of plates in this work vary; one copy we know of has two distinct issues of the plate La Orquesta.) 8vo, original lithographed yellow wrappers with illustrations on upper and lower wrappers (not included in plate count preceding), bound in contemporary mottled Mexican sheep. Binding abraded, dry, and worn, numerous old repairs to text leaves and plates, some leaves and plates mildly waterstained, some plates slightly damaged with loss. Later ink ownership stamp of Luis Bota Sarmiento at lower margins of pp. 19 and 109.

Plates:

[Illustrated ornate title] El Gallo Pitagórico. 1845 Imprenta litog. de Cumplido.

[Portrait of author with facsimile autograph] Juan Bauta Morales [signed in image] Blanco [below portrait] Imprenta litog. de Cumplido.

Dentro de este gallo tienes el ala de Pitágoras. [below image at right] Imprenta lito. de Cumplido.

Militares. [below image at right] Imprenta lito. de Cumplido.

Diputados. [above image at left] Pag. 33. [below image at right] Litog. de Cumplido.

Un Juez y su Escribano. [signed in image] Iriarte Lit. [below image at right] Litog. de Cumplido.

Agiotista [signed in image] Iriarte Lit. [below image at right] Imprenta litog. de Cumplido.

Artesanos. La poca esperanza de medrar causa desaliento. [below image at right] Imprenta litog. de Cumplido.

Periodistas. [below image at right] Imprenta litog. de Cumplido.

Hipócritas. A rio revuelto, ganancia de bribones. [above image at right] Pag. 82. [below image at right] Litog. de Cumplido.

Ay! Ay! Que se resbala Tonchita! [above image at right] Pag. 82 [below image at right] Imprenta litog. de Cumplido.

Vieja remilgada. [above image at right] Pag. 103 [below image at right] Litog. de Cumplido.

Tenemos que andar algunas leguas en pocos minutos. [signed in image] Heredia [above image at right] Pag. 114 [below image at right] Litog. de Cumplido.

Que Jupiter con sus rayos los arrojara de cabeza al lago de Texcoco. [above image at right] Pag. 123 [below image at right] Litog. de Cumplido.

Si no andan en las campañas de Marte, sí marchan á paso redoblado á las de Venus. [above image at right] Pag. 132 [below image at right] Litog. de Cumplido.

Mortus est qui non resollat. [below image at right] Imprenta lito. de Cumplido.

Gran Orquesta. [above image at right] Pag. 114 [below image at right] Imprenta lito. de Cumplido.

Correos de Cabinete. [below image at right] Imprenta lito. de Cumplido.

Metamórfosis, El miedo convierte á dos gallos en ratones y á otro en pescado. [above image at right] Pag. 265.

Wrappers:

[Upper wrapper] El Gallo Pitagórico [four human figures at a pediment atop which is a cock crowing].

[Lower wrapper] Untitled illustration of two men observing a cock fight.

     First book edition of a classic of political literature and an outstanding Mexican lithographic work. Published in at least two numbers, the second number begins at p. 63; the last four leaves (final signature) consist of one page of index and five pages of Cumplido’s catalogue. Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 23: “The great work of Cumplido in 1845 was El Gallo Pitagórico. Combining Cumplido’s typography, Juan Bautista Morales’s political satire and the excellent lithographs of Heredia, Iriarte and newcomer Plácido Blanco, this was the first major work to be illustrated with political caricatures. Such caricatures would later become the principal subject for lithographers”; 25 (illustrating a plate); 56 (title cited in bibliography); 63 (Cumplido); 64 (Iriarte, Rafael). Palau 180849. Sabin 50499. Toussaint, La Litografía en México, p. xx & plates 25 & 26.

     Some of the fantastic lithographs evoke the nightmarish visions of Hieronymous Bosch. A brief essay entitled “Anglo-Americanos” (pp. 20-22) is bitterly critical of the U.S. as being inhabited by people whose god is money and who make their living by smuggling contraband into Mexico. The essay also laments the condition of African-Americans and Germans in the U.S. Morales (1788-1856), journalist, editor, jurist, magistrate, president of the Supreme Court, and governor of Guanajuato, lampoons the corruption and tyranny of Santa-Anna and his regime.      Cumplido (1811-1877) was the most important Mexican printer and lithographer of his day, introducing many modern machines and techniques that he discovered in Europe. He was known as a proponent of liberal causes, some of which landed him in prison, once ironically when he was director of prisons. Cumplido’s catalogue at the end is valuable documentation for the history of his firm and their offerings at the time. ($500-1,000)

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