Borget’s Rare Album with Tinted Lithograph Views of his Voyage around the World

New York City, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, China, Hawaii, Bolivia, Philippines & India

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52. BORGET, Auguste (artist & lithographer). Fragments d’un Voyage Autour du Monde.... Moulins, [France]: C. Desrosiers, Imprimeur-Éditeur, n.d. [ca. 1842-1850]. [2, lithograph pictorial title], [12 leaves of letterpress text printed on rectos only], 12 lithograph plates on original tinted grounds (see plate list below). 4to (24 x 31 cm), publisher’s original rose cloth over original tan paper boards with black lettering (Fragments | d’un Voyage Autour du Monde | Vve. Magnin & Fils | 7. Rue Honoré-Chevalier, 7 | Paris), affixed to upper cover is a full-color chromolithograph of seascape with four persons pulling a small boat to shore against a backdrop of ships and the sea (including a steamboat). Boards faded and with some water spotting, very minor wear to edges of fragile boards. Slight evidence of label removals from text leaves opposite Plates 5 and 9. Very occasional minor spotting to interior, but overall the text and plates are very fine and bright, original tissue guards present. Endpapers and hinges professionally repaired. This work is difficult to find complete and in decent condition.

Pictorial Title & Plate List

[Unnumbered lithograph title] Fragments d’un Voyage Autour du Monde. Par Augte. Borget Arbre sacré des Hindous Moulins C. Desrosiers, Imprimeur-Éditeur. Pictorial title displaying a shrine in India near Calcutta.

Note: Below images at lower left: A. Borget, del. et lith. At right below each image: Imp. C. Desrosiers, Moulins. With the exception of Plates 4 and 6, artist’s initials “AB” in each lithograph image. Plates with tinted line border, title below border, plate numbers at top right between image and line border. Overall sheet size of each plate: 23.3 x 30 cm. Measurements below are line border to line border.

1. Moulin à vent sur les Bords de l’Hudson, en face New-York. 16.2 x 21.7 cm. Ochre tinted ground.Windmill on the banks of the Hudson River in New Jersey, opposite New York. Borget was in New York and Hoboken in December 1836. See Deák’s description below.

2. Notre-Dame de gloire (à Rio de Janeiro). 16.4 x 21.5 cm. Saffron and pale blue tinted ground. Harbor of Rio de Janeiro with church at left in middle ground and people in foreground. Borget visited Rio de Janeiro in April 1837.

3. Une Rue de Buenos-Ayres. 16 x 21.5 cm. Yellow tinted ground. Busy street scene with architecture and many people people milling about. Borget was in Buenos Aires in May 1837.

4. Habitation d’un Fakir (sur les bords du Gange). 22 x 17.5 cm. Pale beige-grey tinted ground. Bower home of a Fakir on the banks of the Ganges River, behind which is a minaret, boat in foreground, another boat and architecture in distance. In accompanying letterpress text the date of 1840 is given.

5. Une Rue à Lima (Pérou). 16.3 x 21.6 cm. Buff tinted ground. Street scene with colonial architecture and people, including a beggar and a man riding a donkey. Borget visited Lima in April 1837.

6. Halte de Chiliens dans la Plaine de Santiago (Chili). 16 x 21.5 cm. Saffron tinted ground. Wonderful group of about a dozen gauchos in traditional dress and accoutrements, at rest around a fire, three men on horseback, snow-covered mountains in distance. The artist travelled in this region in 1837 and 1838. The image is outstanding and complements Borget’s narrative, which praises the Chilean gauchos as civilized and amiable. He remarks that he spent much time with them and always felt at ease. He concludes by remarking that if he ever left France again, he would live in Chile. Overall, this is a quite Romantic depiction.

7. Un Abreuvoir à Aréquipa (Pérou). 16.3 x 21.4 cm. Saffron tinted ground. In the foreground a few natives with two horses rest at a handsome architectural spouting fountain with arches, more figures are in the mid-ground and the skyline of the town. In the distance a high mountain. Borget visited Aréquipa in spring 1837.

8. Rue et Marché à Canton (Chine). 15.7 x 21.8 cm. Pale yellow tinted ground. Close-up urban street scene with people engaged in games or gambling, letter-writing, hair care, selling goods, etc.

9. La Plage d’Honoloulou à Oahou (Iles Sandwich). 16.7 x 21.6 cm. Pale blue tinted ground. “A bucolic scene along the Honolulu waterfront at approximately today’s Queen and Bishop Streets, with coconut palms and canoes in the foreground and Diamond Head in the distance” (David Forbes; see his other comments below). Borget visited Honolulu in 1839.

10. Balsas (Bateaux de Pêche) sur la Côte de Bolivie. 14.2 x 22.5 cm. Pale yellow tinted ground. Atmospheric scene of Bolivians fishing from canoes.

11. Pont et Village de Passig à 6 lieues de Manille (Iles Philippines). 16.5 x 21 cm. Buff printed ground. View of the town of Passig near Manila in the Philippine Islands. Foreground with heavily loaded boat and old bridge with archways, town view in background. Borget visited Manila in July and August of 1839.

12. Rue de Clives à Calcutta. 16.1 x 21.5 cm. Pale yellow printed ground. Crowded street scene with two- and three-story buildings from which hang laundry. Clives Street paralleled the river, and in the foreground people are washing clothing.

     First edition. Berger, Rio de Janeiro, p. 40. Borba de Moraes I, p. 112. This album is very rare and little known.” Not in Palau, Sabin, etc. See also Sophie Cazé, Cécile Debray & Loïc Stavrides, Auguste Borget peintre-voyaguer autour du monde (Issoudun: Musée de l’hospice Saint-Roch, 1999).

     Deák, Picturing America 454 (citing & illustrating the plate of New York, Moulin à vent sur les Bords de l’Hudson, en face New-York):

This lithograph of the Jersey shore, featuring a windmill at close range, is a companion view to the profile of Jersey City shown in the preceding entry [Deak 453, original drawing]. Both were drawn by the French artist Auguste Borget, who must have found the windmill on the Hudson River waterfront a familiar and appealing subject. Most of the compositional elements—the fishermen, the boats, the shoreline, and the windmill—are rendered with a discernible European character. Faintly outlined along the Hudson are the Palisades.

Borget’s delicate, tonal style of drawing (manifest, too, in entry 453) has been given a more robust tonal quality in the lithograph, which the artist handled himself. (He carefully put his initials on the stone.) The print is of particular interest as an early example of a tinted lithography, a graphic art innovation conceived not long after the introduction of lithography itself. To produce a tinted impression requires the printing of an image from two stones, one on which the artist made the drawing, and a second that provides a tinted background as a way of approaching tonal subtleties achieved in a watercolor. One method used for developing a tint was to spread powder crayon on a lithographic stone that had been slightly warmed; the powder was then worked with either a brush or a dabber to form a tint. Such a method was particularly useful for skies and water. ‘No simple description could possibly cover all the methods used by French artists and printers from about 1830 onwards in their attempts to find quicker and more spontaneous tonal techniques for lithography,’ writes Michael Twyman. ‘Chalk hatching was too slow, while the various imitation wash processes, though quicker, all suffered from the disadvantage that the artist could not easily see how his work was progressing. The methods of drawing on stone evolved by the printer Lemercier [see Nebel herein] and the artist Tudot were attempts to find a more convenient tonal technique for the printer, and one more in keeping with his normal method of working’ (Lithography, 1800-1850, p. 159). Tinted stones were nearly always printed in a rather warm buff color.

[From Deák’s entry for 453 for Borget’s drawing] Born in 1809 in Issoudun, France, Borget visited the United States as a young man in 1836, at which time he drew the two New Jersey views in [the Stokes] collection. Earlier that year he had made his artistic debut at the Paris Salon. He traveled widely (to India, Australia, China, and America).... His oeuvre, represented both lithographs and in wood engravings, appears in several books, including his Fragments d’un voyage autour du Monde.

Forbes, Hawaiian National Bibliography, Vol. II, 1766:

This is a very rare album of handsome and romantic views, from drawings made by the artist during his travels. Borget, a talented artist well known for his lithographed views of China, visited Honolulu briefly in 1839. Plate 9, La Plage d’Honoloulou a Oahu (Iles Sandwich), depicts a bucolic scene along the Honolulu waterfront at approximately today’s Queen and Bishop Streets with coconut palms and canoes in the foreground and Diamond Head in the distance. The letterpress text describes the scene further and has general remarks on the artist’s impressions of Hawaii.... This book appears to have been produced in a very limited edition and in a somewhat haphazard manner. Both the Kahn copy and another example offered by Hordern House lack the letterpress descriptive sheet for Plate 10, Balsas (Bateaux de pêche) sur la Côte de Bolivie. Neither copy appears ever to have had this sheet, and it may well be that it was never issued.

See also Forbes’ “Encounters with Paradise: Views of Hawaii and its People, 1778-1941,” Honolulu Academy of Arts, 1992, pp. 90-110.

     The work was published with a varying number of text leaves and plates, and apparently Plate 10 is often missing. Forbes remarks that the text leaf for Plate 10 may never have been issued (but it is present here). Plate 4 in this copy is the Fakir’s habitation; in some copies it is Un ravin dans la Sierra de Cordova. In the present copy the binding is tan paper over boards to which is affixed a chromolithograph of a scene of sea and shore. In other instances, the covers are cream paper over boards which have been printed with the illustration used as the pictorial title in this copy (Yale and Antiquariaat Forum copies). Regarding the chromolithograph scene affixed to our variant binding, as Peter C. Marzio notes, in the early phase of chromolithograph, the medium was perceived as vehicle for reproducing fine art (see Chromolithography 1840-1900 The Democratic Art). It is possible that the plates were issued both colored and uncolored (we know of one separate plate in full color). Only two copies of the album are in OCLC, and both have tinted rather than full color plates: Yale and Bibliothèque nationale de France (BNF missing one plate). Copies traced in commerce have tinted plates.

     Artist and world traveller, Auguste Borget (1808-1877), moved in a circle that included Honoré de Balzac and Charles Baudelaire, the former of whom praised Borget’s artistic talent in the Salon of 1846 (“He has a bright color, easy, and his tones are fresh and pure”) and the latter of whom remarked that “Borget has a style with a little bit of sweet malice that seasons the tale and makes it amusing.” Balzac dedicated “The Atheist’s Mass” to Borget. The travelling painter began his world tour in 1836 visiting the Americans, Hawaiian Islands, Asia, the Philippines, China, and India. Many of his paintings and drawings are extant. Borget periodically exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1836 to 1859. The masterful, elegant, natural style of Borget’s marvelous images is perfectly complemented by his text.

     Borget presents a superb view and description of gauchos of Chile, but his account and image are little known to early and more modern scholars who wrote on those first intrepid hunters and herders of wild cattle in the Americas, active by the end of the sixteenth century—long before such activities in Texas and the West. About the only work to fully explore this facet of Borget’s work is David James in En las Pampas y los Andes. 33 dibujos y textos sobre Argentina, Chile y Perú (Buenos Aires: Pardo-Emecé, 1960). Borget certainly was an early booster of New York, which he found deserted because of the plague. He thus went to New Jersey, specifically to Hoboken, where he found the charming windmill he illustrates in the present book and which he describes in some detail, with considerable admiration for its construction. Despite finding New York deserted, Borget praises Manhattan highly, calling it one of the most beautiful, well built, and richest cities on earth.

     Auguste Borget certainly followed the nineteenth-century propensity of many artists to be a child of Humboldt in art and travel literature. Tom L. Martinson discusses this context in “Interrelationships between Landscape Art and Geography in Latin America” (Proceedings of the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, Vol. 8, Geographic Research on Latin America: Benchmark 1980, pp. 347-356):

There is a long tradition of artistic feeling in geography. For decades, geographers have emphasized the usefulness of landscape painting in the study of places. Alexander von Humboldt was motivated by this sense when he persuaded artists to travel to Latin America in the nineteenth century. More recently, John Leighly (1937) remarked that art provides the largest body of instructive material available to the student of cultural landscapes. Meinig (1972) reiterates this theme in his appeal for a humane geography of environmental appreciation. And, as Ronald Rees (1973) has stated: “Landscape paintings, if cautiously interpreted, are an invaluable source for the historical geographer, and one that ought to be tapped more consistently.”


Sold. Hammer: $5,000.00; Price Realized: $6,125.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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