Lot 26: Miguel Covarrubias Mexico inscribed with sketches
12th February 2017
Covarrubias, Miguel, Mexico South: The Isthmus of Tehuantepec - inscribed with original sketches, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1946. Eight color plates from paintings by Covarrubias, including a folding map. 92 additional line drawings reproduced in text. (8vo) original two-tone cloth, pictorial dust jacket. First Edition. Inscribed by Covarrubias on the front flyleaf to ballerina and actress Tamara Geva and her husband, actor John Emery: "with fondest regards from Rosa and Miguel Covarrubias, Mexico, March 3, 1947." Covarrubias has added marvelous caricatures of both himself and his wife Rosa to the inscription. After emigrating to the United States in 1923 from his native Mexico, and becoming a celebrated "Smart Set" artist, book illustrator, and caricaturist for Vanity Fair Magazine, Covarrubias' interest increasingly turned to ethnography, which he pursued in North Africa, Bali, and throughout the Americas. This brilliant study of the life, art, and customs of the indigenous Zapotec people of Tehuantepec, the narrow neck of Mexico that separates the Pacific Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico, coincided with some of the earliest archaeological findings of the ancient Olmec culture by American archaeologist Matthew Stirling (1890-1975). Actively involved with the Olmec excavations during the course of writing this book, Covarrubias immersed himself in the study of Olmec sculpture and artifacts, and concluded that the Olmec culture preceded the Aztec and Mayan, a controversial theory that subsequent discoveries have validated. Condition: Jacket yellowed and with some spotting, short closed tear at tope edge of rear panel; spine leaning, edges rubbed, some fading and soiling to cloth, hinges repaired; very good.
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