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Mexican carte-de-visite portrait album from the era of Maximilian and Napoleon IIII, between 1854 and 1870

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Mexican carte-de-visite portrait album from the era of Maximilian and Napoleon III

Scope and Content of Collection

The album of 112 albumen cartes-de-visite and one cabinet card features portraits of Emperor Maximilian, Empress Carlota, and Napoleon III, as well as other key figures in the period known as the French intervention in Mexico (1861-1867) when the French invaded Mexico and ultimately installed Ferdinand Maximilian Archduke of Austria as Maximilian I Emperor of Mexico. Many portraits are of French and Mexican political and military leaders such as General Élie Frédéric Forey, the original commanding general of the French expeditionary corps to Mexico and his successor, Marshall Achille Bazaine; and Generals Miguel Negrete, a hero of the first Battle of Puebla and Jesús González Ortega, who played a key role in the second battle of Puebla.

Mexican heads of state depicted include Agustín de Iturbide I, Emperor of Mexico and seven presidents: Antonio López de Santa Anna; José Mariano de Salas; Mariano Arista; Juan Álvarez; Ignacio Commonfort; Miguel Miramón; and Benito Juárez. Photographic reproductions of portraits of figures related to the first Mexican Empire and the Mexican War of Independence include Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla; Agustín de Iturbide; José María Morelos; and Vicente Guerrero.

Other portraits are of diplomats to Mexico from Austria, England, Spain, and Belgium. Members of the Maximilan's court and Mexican elites are also represented. Portraits of cultural figures include novelist and poet Ignacio Manuel Altamirano and journalist and political and military leader V. Riva Palacio.

A group of photographs by François Aubert taken at Querétaro, a posed group portrait of the firing squad taken after Maximilian's execution, and three images of Maximilian's bullet-riddled clothing (one of his jacket and two of his vest). There is a portrait of Colonel Miguel López, the Mexican officer and courtier who betrayed Maximilian at Querétaro, and one of General Miguel Miramón, was executed along with Maximilian and General Tomás Mejía. Several views of Querétaro and other sites are also included.

Photographers represented in the album include: G. Malovich; Pierre-Louis Pierson; Agustín Peraire; L. Lebert; Augustin-Aimé- Joseph Le Jeune; Serge Lvovich Levitsky; François Aubert; G. Jägermayer; André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri; and Robert J. Bingham.

The album is bound in black leather album with a silver clasp and cover shield; five cabinet card openings are empty. Titles for the individual images are from the French captions written below the images, unless otherwise noted. The information on the versos of the mounts, or under the openings is not recorded, as access to it is obscured.

Sources consulted:

Debroise, Olivier. Mexican Suite: A History of Photography in Mexico. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001.

Planteaux, Serge. "Agustin Peraire: Documenting the Execution of Emperor Maximilian." Weekly transmisison 43-2017.

Wilson-Bareau, J. et al. Manet: The Execution of Maximilian: Painting, Politics and Censorship. London: The National Gallery, 1992.


The collection is arranged in a single series:
Series I. Mexican carte-de-visite portrait album from the era of Maximilian and Napoleon IIII, between 1854 and 1870.

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