AUCTION 23

 
 

Earliest Lithograph Album of Mexico Made in Mexico

“A milestone in Mexican lithography”—Mathes

 
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165. GUALDI, Pietro. Monumentos de Mejico, tomados del natural y litografiados por Pedro Gualdi pintor de perspectiva obsequio a los señores abonados. Imprenta Litografica de [Agustín] Massé y [Jean] Decaen Callejon de S. Clara No. 8. [left oval] Catedral. Plaza de So. Domingo y Aduana. Exterior de Na. Sa. de Guadalupe. Interior de la Universidad. Interior de la Mineria. Collegio de Mineria. Año [right oval] Interior de Catedral. Santuario de Na. Sa. de Guadalupe. Paseo de la Independencia. Patio del convento de Na, S. de la Merced. Camara de los Diputados. Casa Municipal. 1841. Mexico, 1841. 13 leaves of lithographs on heavy paper (including title): letterpress-woodcut-lithograph title page with ornate border, small view of Cathedral at top, panoramic view of Mexico City and surrounding region below, and a plethora of type fonts and charming decorative ornaments (verso with lithograph statement in script lettering: Acogiendose el autor á los principios y leyes que en todos los Países cultos protegen la propiedad, y considerando que la tiene en esta coleccion de Vistas formada é inventada por el solo y a solas sus espensas; protesta perseguir en juicio cualquiera nueva edicion y falsificacion que se hiciere. Mejico Enero 9 de 1841 Pedro Gualdi); and 12 lithograph plates of views in Mexico City by Massé y Decaen after art work by Gualdi. Oblong folio (41 x 58.2 cm), recent three-quarter smooth scarlet calf over brown, beige, red, and olive green marbled boards, recent marbled endpapers. One plate detached. Other than inconsequential scattered foxing, a very fine, wide-margined copy with fresh plates in excellent impressions. We trace no auction records for any edition of this work. (Our next entry is the second edition of Gualdi’s album.)

Plate list

Overall sheet size of each plate: 40.2 x 58 cm. Set out in the following plate list are brief notes comparing the plates in the first and second editions. For more details, see: Roberto L. Mayer, “Los dos álbumes de Pedro Gualdi” in Anales del Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, UNAM, No. 69, 1996, pp. 81-102.

[1]  Decorative title with view of Mexico City [lower left above neat line, in image] Vista de una parte de Megico desde los Angeles Gualdi. Border to border: 29.5 x 40 cm. See above for full transcription of title (recto and verso). A tour de force of title page design. Title varies from that of the second edition, such as the changes in the plate list.

[2]  Catedral de Méjico. [below neat line] Lito. 1. Calle S. Francisco. No. 15 P. Gualdi, Lit. [within image at lower left] Gualdi. Image including imprint: 28.7 x 40 cm; image plus line border: 27 x 40 cm. This view differs from that in the second edition.

[3]  Interior de la Catedral. [below neat line] Lito. junto al Correo. P. Gualdi. [within image at lower right] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 27.8 x 39 cm; image plus line border: 26.2 x 39 cm. This view differs from that in the second edition.

[4]  Santuario de N. S. de Guadalupe. [below neat line] Lito. 1a. Calle S. Francisco. No. 15. Se Vende en casa del Autor Calle de Donceles No. 2 P. Gualdi. [within image at lower left] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 29.1 x 40.2 cm; image plus line border: 27 x 40.2 cm. This view differs from that in the second edition.

[5]  Interior del Santuario de N. S. de Guadalupe. [below neat line] Lito. Calle S. Francisco. Gualdi. Lit. [within image at lower left] Gualdi 1840. Image including imprint and title: 27.5 x 39 cm; image plus line border: 26 x 39 cm. This view is not in the second edition.

[6]  Colegio de Minería. [below neat line] Lito. junto al Correo. P. Gualdi. [within image at lower right] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 29 x 40.3 cm; image plus line border: 27 x 39 cm. This view differs from that in the second edition.

[7]  Interior del Colegio de Mineria. [below neat line] Lito. junto al Correo. P. Gualdi. [within image at lower left center] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 28.2 x 40 cm; image plus line border: 26.5 x 40 cm. This view differs from that in the second edition.

[8]   Plaza de Sto. Domingo y Aduana. [below neat line] Imprenta Lito. de Masse y Decaen callejon Sa. Clara No. 8. P. Gualdi. [within image at lower left] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 28.5 x 40.5 cm; image plus line border: 26.5 x 40.5 cm. Same view as in second edition.

[9]  Claustro del Convento de Na. Sa. de la Merced. [below neat line] Impa. Lito. Masse y Decaen, callejon Sa. Clara, No. 8. P. Gualdi. [within image at lower center] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 28.5 x 40 cm; image plus line border: 27 x 40 cm. Same view as in second edition.

[10]  Casa Municipal. [below neat line] Lito. junto al Correo P. Gualdi. [within image at lower center] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 28.5 x 39.5 cm; image plus line border: 26.5 x 39.5 cm. This view differs from that in the second edition.

[11]  Interior de la Universidad de Mexico. [below neat line] P. Gualdi Lito. Lito. frente al Correo No. 5. Within image at lower left: Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 28.5 x 39.5 cm; image plus line border: 26 x 39.5 cm. This view differs from that in the second edition.

[12]  Paseo de la Independencia. [below neat line] Impta. Lito. de Masse y Decaen, Callejon S. Clara No. 8. P. Gualdi. [within image at lower center] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 28.9 x 40 cm; image plus line border: 26.7 x 40 cm. Same view as in second edition.

[13]  Camara de los Diputados. [below neat line] Impa. Lito. de Masse y Decaen Callejon de Sa. Clara No. 8. P. Gualdi. [within image at lower center] Gualdi. Image including imprint and title: 28.6 x 38.8 cm; image plus line border: 27 x 38.8 cm. Same view as in second edition.

     First edition of one of the earliest Mexican lithograph view books, and the first view book devoted to any Mexican city, recording now-lost perspectives of Mexico City itself. Earlier plate books on Mexico were produced in Europe. Some points of the first edition are: penultimate line on title page: “obsequio a los señores abonados”; table of contents statements on title differ; verso of lithograph title with copyright dated January 9, 1841, and Gualdi’s facsimile statement. Banco de México, Imágenes de México, pp. 960-985. Mathes, Mexico on Stone, pp. 21: “A milestone in Mexican lithography was reached in 1841 with the publication of Monumentos de México...lithographed by Massé and Decaen, with illustrations by Pedro Gualdi”; 55 (cited in bibliography); p. 64 (Massé y Decaen). Mayer, México ilustrado, p. 182 (illustrated). Museo Nacional de Arte, Nación de imágenes: La Litografía mexicana del siglo XIX, pp. 340, 358. Palau 109364 (no mention of text): “Bellas litografías” (noting he has seen individual plates sold for 50 francs). Sabin 29048. Toussaint, La Litografía en México, pp. xvii-xviii (Plate 13): “En el mismo año de 1840 se disolvió la compañia de Baudouin y Decaen y este último se asoció con Agustín Massé. Fué entonces cuando se comenzó a publicar la famosa serie de libros ilustrados de que goza la bibliografía mexicana...la más importante que salió de sus prensas fué la obra, hoy rarísima: Monumentos de Méjico... Esta álbum que parece un anticipo del México y sus alrededores, encierra vistas que, aparte del interés documental que presentan, pues nos guardan aspectos del México desparecido, tienen cierto mérito como obra artística, bastante estimable.”

     Palmquist, Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide, pp. 291-292:

Pietro (Pedro) Gualdi (1808-1857). Panorama painter, architect, artist, lithographer; active Mexico City 1838-ca. 1851; New Orleans ca. 1851-1857. Pietro Gualdi was born in Carpi in the province of Modena, Italy, on July 22, 1808. He was evidently a scene painter at La Scala in Milan before studying perspective, painting, and theater design at the Milan Academy of Arts around 1834-1835. As a scene painter, Gualdi accompanied an Italian opera company to Mexico around 1838, and he remained in that country for over a decade. Under the name of Pedro Gualdi he was a prolific sketcher and painter of the architecture, landmarks, and scenery of Mexico City. His album of lithographs, Monumentos de Méjico...was printed by Massé y Decaen in Mexico City in 1841. Gualdi also published individual lithographs. Gualdi taught perspective at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City in 1850.

He may have moved to New Orleans by December 1851. In that city in March 1854, Gualdi exhibited his panorama of New Orleans. The work, an oil painting, measured 20 by 128 feet and was exhibited in a “new temporary octagon building” of Gualdi’s own design at the corner of St. Charles and Poydras Streets. He had sketched the scene from the tower of St. Patrick’s Church from January to March 1853. A newspaper reported that the panorama depicted “nearly ten miles of the surrounding country...in all directions” and represented the buildings of the city “with wonderful accuracy.” The First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans hired Gualdi as its artist in 1855. His last known work was the design for a circular marble tomb for the Italian Mutual Benevolent Society in St. Louis Cemetery I, New Orleans. Although the 1857 New Orleans city directory listed Gualdi as an artist residing at 62 Marais, he died in that city on January 4, 1857. Gualdi was the first to be interred in the monumental tomb that he designed.

     According to Julio Romo Michaud, descendant of publisher Julio Michaud, Gualdi collaborated with Agustín Massé, J. Decaen, and Michaud on the ca. 1851 Album Pintoresco de la República Mexicana. Gualdi’s work was also used by some U.S. publishers during the Mexican-American War. For example, see Sandweiss, Stewart & Huseman, Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848, pp. 338-339, Entry 154, illustrated p. 339. The 1847 Currier & Ives print of the Military College at Chapultepec includes in the imprint: “From a Sketch by Gualdi, and forwarded by Lieut. Larkin Smith, U.S.A. / 554.” Sandweiss et al (p. 356) also note that John R. Kenly’s Memoirs of a Maryland Volunteer... (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1873) includes a bird’s-eye view of the Zócalo of Mexico City. The great Casimiro Castro (see Castro herein) studied at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico under Gualdi’S tutelage.

     Erica Segre, Intersected Identities: Strategies of Visualisation in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Mexico (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007), pp. 37-38:

The growing number of guides, illustrated travel albums and memoirs on Mexico that were being published in Europe and America, by foreign artists and diplomats, such as Karl Nebel, Fredrick de Waldeck, John Phillips, and Pietro Gualdi, and which had gained a wider currency in Mexico through reproductions and local editions, as well as through circulation of the originals and the presence of the artists themselves, prompted a creative riposte from Mexican artists, writers, and publishers intent on emancipatory self-definition. Undoubtedly, Pietro Gualdi’s architectural vistas with genre details contributed disproportionately to the prominence that such elements acquired in the development of nationalist iconography during this period; although it could also be argued that his work inserted itself seamlessly in an already existing pictorial tradition in Mexico, dating back to the seventeenth century, which employed topographical vistas of Mexico City as theatrical allegories of viceregal power. In a not dissimilar vein, panoramic vistas of the republican capital tended to idealise the degree of symmetry and order of its layout precisely during the period in which its citizens were subject to the effects and daily spectacle of crisis and degradation. Gualdi’s collection of urban scenes Monumentos de Méjico, first published in Mexico City by Massé and Decaen in 1839-41, proved so popular that a revised edition was published in 1841-42. The depiction of the administrative heart of the republic seen from rooftops or bell towers served to reinforce an image of orderly government during the calamitous dictatorship of General Santa Anna, a period which saw the occupation of those same consecrated spaces by the victorious U.S. Army.

     María Esther Pérez Salas, Costumbrismo y litografía en México: Un nuevo modo de ver (Mexico: UNAM, Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas, Monografías de Arte #29, 2005), p. 153.

Por su parate, el escenógrafo Pietro Gualdi, autor de Monumentos de México publicado en nuestro país en 1841, seleccionó como objetivo central de su álbum la arquitectura de nuestra ciudad. Captó en todo su esplendor los edificios más importantes, barrocos o neoclásicos, dando así otro tema más a ya la larga iconografía relativa a México. Este álbum presenta las construcciones civiles y religiosas más sobresalientes de la capital y algunos de sus centros importantes de reunión, como la Alameda, la Plaza Mayor o la Plaza de Santo Domingo, donde el tratamiento de los espacios abiertos desmerece frente a la importancia y monumentalidad otorgada a la arquitectura que los delimita. Asimismo, la disposición de las figuras quedó relegado a un segundo término, como elementos subordinados que sólo sirven para dar escala a la plaza o a los edificios representados. Para el trabajo litográfico, Gualdi se valió de los talleres de Massé y Decaen que para 1840 contaban con gran prestigio en la ciudad, lo que dio como resultado uno de los primeros álbumes impresos en México, cuyo tema fue la propria ciudad.

No obstante esta tratamiento escenográfico de las figuras, se alcanzan a distinguir en sus litografías varios tipos que pululaban por las principales plazas de la capital: cargadores, arrieros, aguadores, clérigos y militares en la plaza de San Domingo; rancheros, clérigos y estudiantes en la plaza de Volador, frente a la Universidad; cargadores, tlachiqueros y indígenas en los alrededores del Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

($15,000-$30,000)

Sold. Hammer: $15,000.00; Price Realized: $18,375.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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