Auctioneer Press Release Morton Subastas

The War Between the United States and Mexico - Books and Documents at Morton Subastas

Feb 26,2020 | 11:00 EST By Morton Subastas

On Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 Morton Subastas will host its Auction of Books and Documents on the Wars of Intervention in Mexico, where several unique lots will be featured, such as Lot 32, “The War Between the United States and Mexico” by architect, engineer, and Costumbrist artist, Carl Nebel, which includes eleven lithographic prints through which Nebel was able to accurately depict the most important battle scenes between the United States and Mexican Armies during the war that took place between 1846 and 1848. Additionally, he captured the landscapes and characteristics of the locations where these historical events took place, as he had the opportunity to do so while being physically present in the aforementioned locations. Because of this, in terms of representation of the land, the capture of the landscape, and the correction of the works and buildings depicted, Nebel’s work can be considered strictly reliable.

Lot 32, Nebel, Carl - Kendall, George Wilkins. The War Between the United States and Mexico Illustrated. New York,1851. 10 Nebel Lithographs.

Representing the climax of the confluence of journalism and lithography in the 19th century, Nebel's images are eyewitness representations against which all other depictions of the war must be compared. However, Nebel also provided idyllic images of the strife; in many cases, he did not report the horrors of war, thus differing from other sources in terms of the time of battle, the weather, as well as the number of casualties. In many instances, his representation of historical fact is influenced the importance he gave to visual composition. Despite this, the artist managed to correctly balance in all lithographic prints the romantic scene with the historical one. For the accompanying text, journalist George Wilkins Kendall turned to the official reports of the various commanders and their subordinates. In some cases, he was also present in many of the battles and personally examined the terrain on which they were fought, with the notable exception of the Battle of Buena Vista. 

“The War Between the United States and Mexico...” is an eyewitness account that reports on the battles between Mexico and the United States, in which Mexican national troops suffered the defeats that allowed the Americans to reach the country’s very capital. 

Lot 309, Bolaños, Joaquín. La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte, Emperatriz de los Sepulcros... México, 1792. 18 engravings by Francisco Agüera.

Another extraordinary lot featured in this auction is lot 309, the work of Joaquín Bolaños, “La Portentosa Vida de la Muerte...” (“The Portentous Life of Death”), a rare edition considered "one of the first works to portray death in Mexican literature". With regards to the documents of the War of Independence, also notable is the invitation signed by Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla addressed to Mr. Coronel Narciso de la Canal to be a part of the armed movement on October 4th, 1810. 

The end of the Second Empire is surrounded by different interpretations and controversies; a central character in this development was the Colonel of the Cavalry of the Empress, Miguel López; lot 124 consists of provisions and correspondence from mid-1866 to mid-1867, sent and signed by characters such as Marshal Bazaine, Almonte, and Leonardo Marquez. 

By Morton Subastas