AUCTION 23

 
 

The First Large-Scale Amphibious Assault by U.S. Forces

The Beginning of the End

 
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422. [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. NEBEL, C[arl]. Bombardment of Vera=Cruz;[below image] C. Nebel fecit. | Bayot lith.; [below image] C. Nebel fecit. | Bayot lith. [New York: D. Appleton; Philadelphia: George Appleton; Paris: Plon Brothers, 1851.] Original full colored and toned lithograph on handmade paper, finished by hand applying gum arabic highlights (after art work by Nebel, printed and lithographed by Lemercier and Adolphe Jean Baptiste Bayot). Image area: 27.3 x 42.3 cm; overall sheet size: 38.7 x 51.5 cm. Except for mild browning print is fine; recto stained from old framing.

     First printing. The plate is from Kendall & Nebel’s folio book The War between the United States and Mexico Illustrated... (see Kendall herein for the complete album). Kurutz & Mathes, The Forgotten War, p. 196. Sandweiss, Stewart & Huseman, Eyewitness to War: Prints and Daguerreotypes of the Mexican War, 1846-1848, Plate 13 (p. 87), No. 115 (p. 275): “Nebel chose the naval battery as his viewpoint from which to illustrate the siege of Veracruz. Kendall explains: ‘The reasons which induced the artist to select the navy battery as the point from which to sketch his picture were numerous—among the most important its high and commanding position, the importance it had in its reduction, and to pay a compliment, well-merited, if poor, to the spirited officers and sailors of the American squadron.’ Kendall should have added another reason, namely the availability of Henry Walker’s 1848 print of the same subject, from which Nebel could borrow. There is no evidence that Nebel was present at the siege. Although he probably traveled through the city shortly after or during the latter part of the war, the lack of certain details in his print suggests that he did not make sketches for it while there.”

     The twenty-day siege of Mexico’s key beachhead seaport was the first large-scale amphibious assault by U.S. military forces and ended with the surrender and occupation of the city. Taking Veracruz would provide the U.S. a point for an advance inland. Mexican military intelligence knew in advance of U.S. plans to attack Veracruz, but internal government turmoil left them powerless. The scene shows the fine old city in the distance, U.S. flag waving at right, cannons blasting, rifles stacked at foreground, smoke all around, palm trees, etc.

($500-1,000)

Sold. Hammer: $500.00; Price Realized: $612.50.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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