By: Miguel Covarrubias
Date: 1942 (published) New York
Original Size: 25 x 36.25 inches (63.5 x 92 cm)
This is a marvelous reproduction of a map of the United States with parts of Canada and Mexico, by the famous illustrator Miguel Covarrubias in his characteristic pictorial cartographic style. The map is illustrated with natural features such as mountain ranges, trees, and agricultural products. Flora and fauna of various regions such as a crab in Maryland, a flamingo in Florida, and cacti in the desert Southwest are depicted. Skyscrapers and landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty are shown, along with oil wells in Texas and factories in the East and Midwest.
America's indigenous peoples along with their tepees are in place. Traditions such as dancing and religious ceremonies of different tribes are painstakingly detailed. Farmers, ranchers and cowboys generously populate the map along with their produce. Industrial areas pictorially reflect the industries of the day.
In Canada a Royal Canadian Mountie is shown with a criminal in tow, and Canada's boreal forests (aka taiga) are clearly depicted, with wildlife included. Mexico features such easily identifiable icons as a vaquero galloping with rope looped and poised at the ready, a classical work of pottery from indigenous peoples at the border between the countries, a burro, and cotton in full bloom.
All manner of sea creatures from fish to hard shell people the oceans, which are further embellished with myriad seagoing vessels.The decorative title cartouche features an American eagle shield surmounted by a ribbon banner. The outer border of the map is a coordinate degree scale.
Miguel Covarrubias — artist, author, ethnologist, and anthropologist — was born in Mexico City in 1904. In 1923 he moved to New York City where he became a popular and well-known illustrator, working for such prestigious publications as Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. He traveled the world became interested in ethnography and anthropology, which he integrated with his artistic talents in his maps, which he produced for publication and as murals. He developed a recognizable style that was aligned with that of Mexican mural painters such as Diego Rivera, whom he knew personally.
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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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