Five-Foot Long Panoramic Photograph of Lima


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458.     [PHOTOGRAPHY]. [LIMA, PERU]. [COURRET, Eugenio (attributed photographer)]. Panoramic photograph of Lima, Peru. Five individual albumen prints, forming a continuous panoramic image, affixed to cardstock and joined with cloth tape on versos. Image: 25.4 x 153 cm; overall: 30.6 x 155.6 cm. N.p., n.d. [Lima, ca. 187?, Library of Congress attribution]. Chip measuring 6 x 1 cm at leftmost image panel, small tears in leftmost margin and upper margin of second panel from left, extending approximately 1 to 2 cm into image, a few scattered fox marks and spots to image and cardstock margins, lightened areas in center and rightmost panels, line of staining on second panel from left (possible acid migration from tape joining panels), blank card edges chipped. Despite these flaws, a rare survival of a fragile artifact and a wonderful exhibit item.

     This panoramic view shows the city of Lima, Peru, ca. 1870s, from a low height to the north of the city, looking generally to the south and centering on the Plaza De Acho. The image is possibly the work of Eugenio Courret, French photographer, who with his brother Aquiles achieved prominence in Lima under the studio name “Courret Hermanos” during the mid- to late-nineteenth century. The Courrets produced a large number of views of Lima’s architecture and landscape, including Eugenio Courret’s 1886 "Gran vista panorámica de la ciudad de Lima," which shows the city from approximately the same direction but at a greater height. An apparently identical copy of this view, unattributed, is located at the Library of Congress and featured on their web site, where it is remarked: “Although the history of photography in South America is only beginning to be written, it is clear that in the nineteenth century there were relatively few practitioners of such distinction as the Lima firm of Courret Hermanos. During its four or so decades of operation, the firm maintained a high standard of work and won numerous European competitions.” See John Hannavy, Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography (New York: Taylor & Francis Group, 2008), p. 1064.

     The firm was founded in 1863 when Eugene and Aquiles Courret opened their own studio, which quickly became a large force in Lima photography because of their abilities as both photographers and businessmen. They soon took over several other photographic studios. In 1869 and 1872, they won gold medals at the Lima Industrial Expositions, along with some exclusive photographic rights. In 1873 Eugene became the firm’s sole proprietor. Their work included images of other South American countries, such as Chile and Argentina, and encompassed all forms and genres of photography. The present panorama is among the most important nineteenth-century images of Lima.


Sold. Hammer: $4,000.00; Price Realized: $4,800.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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