First Lithographic Portrait Album of Mexicans

Special Copy with Eighteen Extra Colored Plates

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

452. [MEXICAN PORTRAITS]. PRUDHOMME, C.L. (editor). [Album méjicano. Tributo de gratitud al civismo nacional. Retratos de las personages ilustres de la primera y segunda época de la independencia Mejicana y notabilidades de la presente. Mexico: C.L. Prudhomme, editor, 2a. Calle de los Plateros No. 12, 1843 (i.e., Paris: Thierry Frères, 1843).] 39 leaves of lithograph plates (each with 4 portraits per leaf, together 156 portraits) almost all attributed to Thierry Frères in Paris (21 uncolored sheets of lithographs, with 18 duplicated with original hand coloring). First plate entitled “Heroes que Proclamaron La Independencia.” Folio, new dark brown half calf over dark brown cloth, red leather gilt-lettered spine label. Wants title page, “Advertencia,” and index page, moderately foxed and stained, some leaves slightly chipped. Title from scholarly facsimile reprint entitled Album Méjicano (Mexico, 1974). A special copy with 18 duplicate plates in color. Rare in commerce. No copies at auction in over thirty years. The album is difficult to find with all 21 plates.

     First edition of the first Mexican lithographic portrait gallery, and among the fairly early entirely lithographed books. These images are iconic, and versions of them were used for decades afterwards and even to the present. The album contributed toward a Mexican identity, in both Mexico and Europe. Kelsey, Engraved Prints of Texas, 1554-1900 listing portraits of those important to Texas history (Filisola, Ramos Arizpe, Iturbide, Santa-Anna, Mier y Terán, Zavala). Palau 5398. Porrúa (1949) 5841 (noting that his copy with twenty-one leaves is one of the few complete copies he ever handled). Sabin 48260. Stevens, Historical Nuggets 1902. Universal Catalogue of Books on Art, Vol. II, p. 1362.

     This album is one of the genuinely rare lithograph plate books on Mexico, and among the earliest lithographic albums devoted exclusively to Mexican subjects. The work is a gallery of portraits of Mexican independence leaders, political figures, men of letters, and clergy. Many of these images were reused and reworked through the nineteenth century (both in Mexico and abroad), making them an indelible part of Mexican iconography. Among the portraits are some of Texas interest, such as Filisola, Zavala, Mier y Terán, Ramos Arizpe, and Santa-Anna. Filisola is shown as a jolly, plump fellow, which goes against the mental image we had of him cleaning up Santa Anna's messes and fighting in Texas and in the Mexican-American War.
    Comparison of this original with the reprint indicates that there were at least two issues of some of the leaves—some lithographed by Thierry and others by Nicolas-Eustache Maurin (1799-1850), also of Paris (see Bénézit). Our copy has all plates by Thierry, and two copies of a plate with four portraits that does not appear in the reprint (General. Paredes-General Tornel-Fray Antonio Alcalde-Pedro Escobedo). In some cases portraits are substituted and in other cases reworked. In either case, it seems clear that the two issues both contained twenty-one uncolored plate leaves. The “Advertencia” promises in mutilated Spanish that more plates will be forthcoming, but we have not located any copy with more than twenty-one plate leaves.


Sold. Hammer: $2,000.00; Price Realized: $2,450.00.

Auction 23 Abstracts

Click thumbnails to open zoomable images.

DSRB Home | e-mail: