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AUCTION 22

The Alpha Nineteenth-Century Plate Book on Mexico

A Beautiful Copy of Carl Nebel’s Voyage Pittoresque et Archéologique


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435.     NEBEL, C[arl]. Voyage pittoresque et archéologique dans la partie la plus intéressante du Mexique par C. Nebel, Architecte. 50 Planches Lithographiées avec texte explicatif. Paris: Chez M. Moench, Cité Bergère, N. 14.-M. Gau, Rue Poissonnière, N. 46. Imprimé chez Paul Renouard rue Garancière, n. 5, 1836. 41 leaves of text including errata (some printed on thin, fine paper), 50 lithographs (Mexican costumes, types, and activities; city views and rural scenery; archaeology and pre-Cortesian artifacts; plan), by Miehle, Lassalle, Bernard, Arnout, Lemercier, Cuvillier, Dandiran, Courtin, Villaneuve, Lehnert, et al., after original art work by Nebel: 20 hand-colored (highlighted with gum arabic), 30 in grey tones (except plan); see plate list below. Folio (57.4 x 39 cm), three-quarter contemporary brown leather over dark purple boards, spine lettered in gilt (professionally re-backed, original spine retained). Spinal extremities worn with minor chipping, moderately shelf worn, corners bumped, boards with slight rubbing (occasional minor loss of paper covering). Overall, binding is very good. Binder’s ticket of “Binant, Md. Papetier, No. 7, Rue de Cléry, A Paris.” Text with scattered light to moderate foxing. For individual condition reports on each plate, see below. In general, all of the plates are very good to fine. The colored plates are especially bright and fresh, the gum arabic undisturbed and in original condition. Overall this copy is fine and complete, the best we have seen. Complete copies of Nebel’s Paris 1836 work with all fifty plates are exceedingly rare. Since 1975 only two complete copies have sold at auction. The later plagiarizations are equally rare.

With the book is Nebel’s signed presentation holograph letter (3 pp. plus integral address leaf, stationer’s embossure Weynen, 12mo), to Messieurs Vestur Frères, Architects, Rue Hauteville N. 2, Paris, dated at Paris, October 8, 1839. He warmly thanks them for allowing him to work in their studios and hereby presents to them this copy of the book, which he says he published at Paris some time before and of which he is the only author. He requests that the recipients view the book with indulgence but realize that it is an accurate portrayal of the country depicted. He closes by apologizing that he will not be able to pay them another visit because he is leaving Paris very soon.

Plate list:

Listed dimensions are neat line to neat line, except for a few exceptions in which neat lines are not present. In these cases approximate dimensions for images (rather than sheet size) are provided.

Veracruz [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Imprimé par Benard | Arnout lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 20 x 34.3 cm. Beautifully lit view of Veracruz Plaza with carts, riders, and figures; background with ocean and ships. Slight spotting at upper left, not affecting image; light offsetting from adjacent text page, generally fine.

Rancheros [in image at lower left] 1834. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 30 x 42.4 cm. Costume group with one rider and three other men at right; superb details on costume and equestrian equipage. A few light fox marks, overall very fine.

Bahía de Acapulco [below neat line] Ch. Nebel del. | I Lith. de Lemercier | Villeneuve Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 23 x 33.6 cm. Ships and canoe in bay, town of Acapulco in distance. Scattered light foxing, affecting mainly blank margins, overall very good.

Templo Antiguo de los Totonacos in [sic] Tusapan [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Mialhe Fes. r St. Honoré 357 | P. Mialhe lithog. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 24.4 x 34.5 cm. Archaeological site in lush tropical forest, two figures at left with guns stalking a jaguar at right. Scattered light foxing affecting mainly blank margins, generally good.

La Pirámide de Papantla | (Llamado el Tajín.) [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Lith. de Lemercier | F. Mialhe lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 25.2 x 36.3 cm. Archaeological site with two seated figures in foreground. Light scattered foxing, mostly in blank margins, overall very good.

Poblanos [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier | E. Lassalle Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 27.9 x 37.8 cm. Costume group set in doorway with three pretty ladies decked out in china poblana, smoking cigarettes, and one holding a big Mexican spur; man to left in fancy vaquero garb and spurs, saddle on ground at right. This is perhaps the most enduring image of Nebel’s Mexico, quickly copied by George W. Kendall (see Item 245 herein) and a host of other recyclers. Other than light offsetting, superb.

Interior de México [below neat line] Ch. Nebel del. | Imp. par Benard | Arnout lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 23.3 x 34.5 cm. Plaza of Mexico with cathedral at left, coaches, riders, muleteer with team kicking up dust, carriers and pedestrians, mountains in background. Very fine.

Vista de Jalapa [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier | Émile Lassalle Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 24.4 x 34 cm. View of Jalapa from a distance, foreground with Native trudging up a hill, figures in middle ground. Light foxing and mild staining mainly confined to margins, generally good.

Ruinas De La Piramide De Xochicalco [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Lith. de Lemercier | F. Mialhe Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 23.5 x 33 cm. Archaeological scene (partially overgrown pyramid at Xochicalco with four figures in foreground). Light foxing mostly confined to margins, overall very good.

Restauración De La Pirámide De Xochicalco [below neat line] C. Nebel invt. | Lith. de Lemercier | F. Mialhe lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 25 x 35.7 cm. Archaeological scene (front view of pyramid at Xochicalco with scale below). Except for light, scattered, mostly marginal foxing, fine.

El Hacendero Y Su Mayordomo [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Imp. Lith. de Lemercier | Émile Lassalle lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 28 x 44.1 cm. Costume group with magnificent horses and splendid equestrian equipage; four lavishly attired riders (the owner, his daughter, his servant, and the majordomo). Exceptionally fine.

Tampico de Tamaulipas [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Imprimé chez Mialhe Frères, rue St Honoré, N[o] 357. | Fes Mialhe Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 26.1 x 37.3 cm. View across the river with ships in middle ground, town in background, two people and lean-to structure in foreground. Very fine.

Vista De Puebla De Los Ángeles [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. Mialhe Fes, r. St. Honoré 357. | Deroy Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 22.5 x 33.6 cm. City and volcanoes in distance, foreground with people, cart and horse on road. Light offsetting and foxing (mostly confined to blank margins), overall very good.

Plan De Las Ruinas De La Quemada | Cerca de Villa nueva [below neat line] Nebel delt. | Lith. de Benard. | Gravé par L. Bouffard, r. du Regard 11. Uncolored lithograph map of archaeological site. Neat line to neat line: 17.7 x 26 cm. Light foxing confined to blank margins, otherwise very good.

Interior Del Templo A II Del Plan | de las ruinas de la Quemada [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier, rue de Seine S.G. 55 | Émile Lassalle Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 23.2 x 35.4 cm. Archaeological site. Except for a few minor fox marks in blank margins, fine.

La Mantilla | Traje por la mañana [below neat line] C. Nebel delt. | Lith. de Lemercier r. de Seine S.G. No. 55. | É. Lassalle Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 27.5 x 37.6 cm. Costume group in street scene with well-dressed threesome (man wearing cloak and hat, two women in fancy black dresses and mantillas), woman in balcony above, two peasants in humble attire sitting on street curb, cathedral in background. Very fine.

Interior De Zacatecas [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Imp. par Benard. | Arnout lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 23.4 x 34.1 cm. View of plaza and cathedral at Zacatecas with vendors, strollers, and horses. Very fine.

Vista De La Mina De Veta Grande, | Cerca de Zacatecas [below neat line] Ch. Nebel del. | Lith. de Benard | Arnout lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 23.1 x 34.2 cm. Landscape with mining town and mountains in distance. Light, scattered foxing mostly in margins, else very good.

Vista General De Las Ruinas De La Quemada [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier | Fck. Mialhe lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 24.1 x 35.7 cm. Archaeology in landscape scene with river and pedestrian and equestrian figures in foreground. Moderate foxing, otherwise good.

Pirámide De Cholula [below neat line] C. Nebel delt. | Imp. Lith. de Lemercier | Émile Lassale Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 23.6 x 35 cm. Ethereal landscape with road leading up to Cholula in the distance. Light foxing in margins, otherwise fine.

Indios De La Cierra de Guauchinango [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Imp. Lith. de Lemercier, À Paris | Lehnert Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 30.6 x 39.6 cm. Native costume group with four barefoot figures lounging in foreground (two women, a child, and a man), middle ground with crowd observing Totonac “voladores,” city in far distance. Fine.

Interior De Aguas Calientes [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Ad. Cuvillier lit. fig. par Lehnert. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 20 x 33.6 cm. Main plaza of Aguascalientes with people, horses, mule team, and coach. Very fine.

Papantla. Pueblo de Indios Totonacos | C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier À Paris. | Monthelier lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 23.9 x 35.7 cm. Village with busy foreground scene and cabana with man in hammock and other persons milling around, structures in background. Moderate marginal foxing, otherwise good.

Bajo-Relievo De La Pirámide De Xochicalco [below image] Nebel del. | Arnout lith. | Lith de Benard et Frey. Lithograph in grey tones. Image area: 21 x 24.2 cm. Archaeological detail of Xochicalco showing a seated figure. Moderate foxing, overall good.

Bajo-Relievo De La Pirámide De Xachicalco [sic]. [below image] Nebel del. | Arnout lith. | Lith de Benard et Frey. Lithograph in grey tones. Image area: 21.2 x 24.2 35 cm. Archaeological detail of Xochicalco showing a seated figure and an animal. Light offsetting and foxing, overall very good.

Gente De Tierra Caliente | entre Papantla y Misantla. [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Lith. de Lemercier à Paris | Lehnert Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 26.6 x 34.7 cm. Costume group of indigenous people in foreground (barefoot woman and man in white clothing, another man on horseback, cathedral in background). Very mild offsetting, otherwise very fine.

México | Visto desde el Arsobisbado de Tacubaya [below neat line] C. Nebel, del. | Lith. de Mialhe, Fes. rue St. Honoré, No. 357. | Fck. Mialhe, Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 24.6 x 35.9 cm. View of Mexico City from Tacubaya, two men in foreground (one on horseback, the other man standing and wearing a serape). Except for light offsetting, very fine.

Vista General De Zacatecas [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Mialhe, Fes. r. St. Honoré, 357. | Ad. Cuvillier Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 23.1 x 35.9 cm. View of Zacatecas, foreground with three giant magueys and a man harvesting. Light to moderate foxing, otherwise good.

Fuente Entre Las Ruinas De Tusapan [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. Mialhe Frs. Rue St. Honoré, 357. | F. Mialhe lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 25.3 x 33.7 cm. Archaeological site with ruined sculpture in foreground and two figures behind, mountainous landscape in background. Light foxing (mainly confined to blank margins), else very good.

Piedra En El Monte De Mapilca [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. Mialhe, r. St. Honoré 357. | Fk. Mialhe Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 25.8 x 35.2 cm. Archaeological site with two indigenous people working. Light foxing (mostly marginal), otherwise very good.

Arrieros [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier À Paris. | Lehnert lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 31 x 42 cm. Costume group: three muleteers valiantly attempt to move a heavily loaded mule as the rest of the team proceeds in background. Very fine.

Plaza Mayor De Guonajuato [sic] [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Lith. de Lemercier, rue de Seine S.G. 55 | A. Cuvillier Lith. Fig. par Lehnert. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 22.5 x 34 cm. Main Plaza at Guanajuato with coach, riders, and people milling about; in left foreground is a fashionably attired couple sitting on a shaded balcony, the lady with a fan and wearing a mantilla. Light offsetting, else very fine.

Vista General de Guanajuato [below neat line] C. Nebel delt. | Lith. de Lemercier, Paris. | Lassalle Lith. Fig. par Lehnert. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 29.4 x 40 cm. In foreground are five mules and one rider wending their way down a steep road with an embankment toward the city of Guanajuato in the middle ground and mountains in distance. Moderate overall foxing, otherwise good.

Figuras De Piedra Y De Barro Del Tiempo De Los Indios Antiguos [below neat line] Nebel del. | Lith. de Benard et Frey | Arnout Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Image area: 39 x 29.3 cm. Mesoamerican sculpture of five figures. Light overall foxing, otherwise very good.

Plan De La Piedra De Sacrificio Y Figuras De Barro [below neat line] Nebel del. | Lith. de Benard et Frey. | Arnout lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 30.7 x 43.9 cm. Archaeological artifacts relating to Sacrificial Stone. Light scattered foxing, very good.

Las Tortilleras [below neat line] C. Nebel delt. | Lith. de Lemercier, à Paris | Lehenert [sic] Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 30 x 43.6 cm. Costume group: interior of palapa in which two beautiful women (one en dishabille) prepare tortillas over an open fire; two men in background; through an opening at left, a gorgeous tropical sky and palm tree are visible. Classic image, to be repeated in myriad permutations by later illustrators. Moderate foxing along lower portion; otherwise, excellent color.

St. Luis-Potosí [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Benard et Frey | Arnout Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 22 x 33 cm. Landscape with indigenous people resting on rocks near stand of cacti in foreground, San Luis Potosí and mountains in background. Moderate overall foxing, mainly visible in blank margins; very good overall.

Monte Virgen [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier à Paris | A. Joly lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 27.6 x 40 cm. Landscape scene with riders crossing a river in a lush tropical forest. Moderate foxing at bottom (mainly affecting margin), very good.

Bajo Relieve De La Piedra De Sacrificio [below neat line] Nebel del. | Arnout lith. | Lith. de Benard et Frey. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 26.5 x 37.3 cm. Two sections of friezes from Sacrificial Stone. Fine.

Grupo De La Piedra De Sacrificio, De Tamaño Medio Natural [below image]: Nebel del. | L. de Benard et Frey. | Arnout lith. Lithograph in tones of grey. [Image area] 41.3 x 28.7 cm. Archaeological: details from Sacrificial Stone showing two figures and frieze. Light overall foxing, else very good.

Indias De La Sierra Al S.E. De México [below neat line] C. Nebel pinxt. | Lit. de Lemercier. À Paris | Lehnert Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 29.2 x 39.5 cm. Costume group with four women in intricately embroidered Native clothing and one child in foreground; background with mountains and body of water. Fine except for two small spots in lower and upper blank margins and small section of upper blank edge, expertly infilled.

Plaza Mayor De Guadalajara [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier rue de Seine S.G. 55 | Courtin Lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 21.2 x 35.2 cm. Main Plaza of Guadalajara with prominent fountain and people milling about. Overall light darkening, generally very good.

Vista Sobre Los Vulcanes De México | desde el pueblo de Tacubaya [below neat line] C. Nebel del | Lit. Mialhe F. r St. Honoré 357. | Fck. Mialhe Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 24.5 x 35.5 cm. View of Mexico from rooftop on which lounge several figures; volcanoes in background. Except for scattered light foxing, very good.

Idolos Y Ornamentos De Barro [below neat line] Nebel del | Lassalle lith. | Lith. de Benard & Frey. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 29.5 x 39 cm. Mesoamerican sculpture, group of three figures and various ornaments. Except for light foxing, very good.

Instrumentos De Música [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Imprim. Lithog. de Lemercier, à Paris. | Dandiran lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 26 x 37.1 cm. Grouping of seven musical instruments. Except for scattered foxing, very good.

Indios Carboneros | y la buradores [sic] de la vecin dad [sic] de México [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier à Paris | Lehnert lith. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 29 x 39 cm. Costume group: three barefoot peasants, woman with child on her back and two men (carrier and another in grass cape), mule with burden at right. Very fine.

Paseo De La Viga En México [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Imp. de Lemercier à Paris | Dandiran Lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 25.2 x 36.6 cm. Lively social scene with coaches, riders, and milling crowd on far side of canal; foreground with two boats carrying passengers and musicians. Moderate scattered foxing, otherwise good.

Plaza Mayor de México [below neat line] C. Nebel del. | Lith. de Lemercier à Paris. | Lith. par Cuvillier Fig. par Lehnert. Hand-colored lithograph highlighted with gum arabic. Neat line to neat line: 24 x 34 cm. Plaza of Mexico: cathedral at center, vinoteria at left, row of coaches, many riders, flock of turkeys, troops on review, large mule team, many strollers. Very fine.

El Zodiaco [below neat line] Nebel del. | Arnout lith. | Lith. de Benard et Frey. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 30.8 x 41.7 cm. Archaeological: Calendar Stone surrounded by various figure heads. Except for light foxing, very good.

Teoyaomiqui [below neat line] Nebel del. | Lith. de Benard et Frey | Arnout lith. Lithograph in grey tones. Neat line to neat line: 51.1 x 35.1 cm. Archaeological (Goddess of Death). Some moderate foxing, generally confined to top of image; otherwise good.

     First edition (followed by various editions and plagiarizations, e.g., title in Spanish, alterations to plate titles, imprint dates including 1839, undated, etc.). Bernal 1820 (citing an edition printed in Mexico in 1840 with 56 pages and plates, noting that the first edition was in French and published in Paris in 1836). Brunet IV:28, #21069 (citing the 1836 French edition, noting that it appeared in fourteen parts with four plates in each; calling for fifty plates without setting out how many were colored, tinted, or uncolored; no mention of text). Colas II:2184. Lipperheide 1623. Palau 188866 (calls for fifty plates without mentioning color and noting that some Paris editions are undated). Sabin 52177: “A beautiful volume, now scarce” (fifty plates, not mentioning color, and statement: “Some copies have a title-page in Spanish” followed by a transcription of the 1839 edition in Spanish). See also: Porrúa 1963 reprint with introduction by Justino Fernández (reproducing what is said to be the 1839 Mexico & Paris edition). Porrúa-Robredo Catalogue 4498 (offering a Paris & Mexico edition, dated 1840, with plate list of forty-nine plates, indicating nineteen colored and remainder uncolored, lacking one plate). For reproductions of selected illustrations, see Mayer, México ilustrado, pp. 192-193, 198, 219; also Mayer, Poblaciones mexicanas, planos y panoramas, siglos XVI al XIX, pp. 201 & 339 (illustrated).

     In his introduction to the 1994 Texas State Historical Association reprint of the Kendall-Nebel portfolio on the Mexican-American War, Ron Tyler suggests that the Spanish edition may have been published by Nebel as part of an effort to stop García Torres from copying his original work and publishing it in Mexico. According to Banco de México, Imágenes de México, Colección de grabados y litografias del Banco de México, other plagiarizations by Lara and Cumplido appeared in Mexico. The volume offered here is the first edition, upon which all other versions relied.

     Nebel (1805-1855), German artist and architect, traveled in Mexico from 1829 to 1834, having been inspired by the work of the great savant Humboldt, who wrote the introduction to the present work. The most spectacular result of Nebel’s journey to Mexico was the iconography found in the present album, which incorporated new technical innovations perfected by his French lithographer, Lemercier. These lithographs are at once highly artistic, amazingly accurate, and incredibly valuable as documentation.

     Nebel recorded the ruins of indigenous civilizations as he found them, and in at least one instance (Tajín), his drawings were the first of an archaeological site. Nebel’s urban views, through a combination of his academic understanding of the history of Mexico, which he translated into an interesting text, and his superb skill as an artist, created for his European audience a sense of Mexican cities that was at once both realistic and romanticized. His work portrayed a Mexico of order, urbanity, architectural interest, and beauty.

     Perhaps Nebel’s greatest achievement was his authentic rendering of the peoples of different classes and regions of Mexico and their clothing, accoutrements, material culture, and customs. Nebel’s images of costume groups in Mexico are considered the very best of the era, leaving an indelible record of the rich tapestry and vibrant color of Mexican life. What Humboldt did for the cartography and archaeology of Mexico, Nebel achieved in his iconographic documentation of the social life of Mexico.

     Nebel’s depiction of horses and elaborate Mexican equestrian equipage is exemplary. His plates of mounted Mexican groups (El Haciendado y su Mayordomo and Rancheros) were as influential in establishing the stereotypical ranching iconography as English artist Smyth’s well-known engraving of Californianos throwing the lasso. (El Paso artist José Cisneros commented that of all the illustrators of horses and equipage, he judged Nebel’s the most accurate and beautiful.) Nebel’s lively images, such as a female tortillera in a state of dishabille and pretty senoritas smoking in a doorway, were compelling, to say the very least. Nebel’s images were widely copied for decades, most often without attribution, by illustrators from all parts of the world. A study of the evolution of Nebel’s elegant images and their transmutations in the work of other illustrators of the nineteenth century would make an interesting research project and exhibit.

($40,000-80,000)

Sold. Hammer: $55,000.00; Price Realized: $66,000.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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