Nebel’s Monterrey - Never Has Battle Looked So Beautiful

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423. [MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR]. NEBEL, C[arl]. Capture of Monterey; [below image] C. Nebel fecit. | Bayot lith; [lower left in image within oval] Entered according to act of Congress. [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: 27.5 x 42.5 cm; overall sheet size: 40.5 x 55.7 cm. Mild to moderate foxing, otherwise very good.

     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 7 (p. 81), No. 16 (p. 129): “The capture of Monterrey offered artists many choices for a vantage point, since it actually consisted of several different battles and smaller struggles fought over several days in a variety of picturesque terrain. George Wilkins Kendall had gone to Monterrey with McCulloch’s Texas Rangers to report firsthand for the Picayune.... Nebel apparently reconstructed the scene in his studio after the war, and no doubt his best source must have been Kendall’s own account. Topographical accuracy would have been one of the most difficult aspects of such a reconstruction. Kendall could provide Nebel with numerous eyewitness descriptions of Monterrey from the north from contemporary books and newspapers.... Nebel evidently used his sources carefully. The mortar being fired in the center of the view, for example, is thoroughly documented as being to the right of the fork in the road on September 21.... The activities of the figures in the foreground demonstrate not only Nebel’s knowledge of American uniforms and military operations, but his superior technical skills.”

     This was the first battle in which the San Patricios participated. The Texan volunteers taught the U.S. regulars new techniques, such as urban fighting, rooting out Mexican soldiers hiding on rooftops and inside the thick, adobe-walled houses of northern Mexico. In the aftermath, the armistice signed between Taylor and Ampudia had major effects upon the outcome of the war, including disenchantment by many Mexican soldiers, but the armistice was not well received at home by President Polk, who insisted that the U.S. Army had no authority to negotiate truces.


Sold. Hammer: $400.00; Price Realized: $490.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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