Mexico. 1867-1873. Six volumes of "Tercero Epoca." 1867: Vol. I, nos. 1-54 (Jun. 26 - Dec. 28, 1867); 1868: Vol. I, nos. 55-106 (Jan. 2 - Jun. 27, 1868) and Vol. II, nos. 1-45 (Jul. 1 - Dec. 30, 1868); 1869: Vol. II, nos. 46-149 (Jan. 2 - Dec. 29, 1869); 1870: Vol. III, nos. 1-105 (Jan. 5 - Dec. 31, 1870); 1871: Vol. IV, nos. 1-104 (Jan. 4 - Dec. 30, 1871); 1873: Vol. VI, nos. 1-105 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 1873). Each issue 4pp., with one lithograph per issue. Folio. Contemporary half tan Mexican sheep and mottled boards, spine gilt. Some overall shelf wear, joints rubbed, text block of final volume loose in binding. In 1878 volume plate twelve has dime-size hole caused by paper flaw; and lacks No. 8, its plate, and plate 96, but has hors-series plate. 1869 volume lacks plate 118 but has added lithographed titlepage. 1871 volume lacks No. 5 and its plate. Instances of dampstaining, light foxing, a few plates wrinkled, contemporary ownership signatures on front free endpapers of first two volumes. Overall, very good. Item #WRCAM39168
A wonderful and extensive run of this 19th- century Mexican periodical, of great interest for its vast number of lithographic political cartoons. The more than 500 lithographic plates in this run of LA ORQUESTA, all of which belong to the third series and most of which were executed by master draftsmen Constantino Escalante, Vicente Riva Palacio, and Hesiquio Iriarte, represent some of the most exquisite early specimens of Mexico's nationalistic print-making art, a tradition that began with illustrations in a handful of liberal periodicals such as LA ORQUESTA, and later blossomed to influence and encompass such prolific talents as Jose Guadalupe Posada and Jose Clemente Orozco.
Popular lithography in 19th-century Mexico reached its zenith with the CARICATURAS, or political caricatures, such as those contained in LA ORQUESTA. The narrative style of the cartoons combined with biting political satire and the use of decidedly Mexican emblematic metaphors evoke the peculiar Mexican CARICATURA style. Although the lithographs reveal hints of French influence in matters of decorations, they reflect more the genesis of Mexico's own satiric genre in lithography. This view is supported by Joyce Waddell Bailey, an authority on Mexican graphic art: "Outside of [a few] circumstantial affinities to the tradition of French magazines of caricature, we find little influence of a specific nature in the prints. Rather, the Mexican lithographs show highly original themes, and styles vary from artist to artist and journal to journal. To a certain extent we can see here traces of how highly creative artists work. A new idea or image may act as a stimulus, but it is combined in the artist's own work with such agility and acuity that it becomes impossible to accurately delineate specific sources of influence" - Tyler (p.96). Indeed, Escalante and the staff of LA ORQUESTA attained an international reputation, and even attracted Europeans hoping to learn the art of satirical lithography in their Mexico City shop.
Sabin called LA ORQUESTA the Mexican PUNCH, but the themes depicted remain fully Mexican. Each issue consists of four pages plus a single full-sheet lithographic plate with a printed caption. Besides being influential examples of Mexican lithography, the plates are of much interest as documents of the French intervention period in Mexico, the reign of Emperor Maximilian, and the political turmoil of the period. "LA ORQUESTA, a periodical of political satire, established lithographic caricature as a field of its own through the excellent work of Constantino Escalante, virtual pillar of the publication until his untimely death in a railroad accident at Tlalpan in 1868" - Mathes. Manuel Toussaint, in his study of 19th-century Mexican lithography, describes the political caricatures in LA ORQUESTA as "a terrible weapon at the command of caustic satire. Two colossal humorists debut here: Vicente Riva Palacio and Constantino Escalante. They did more with their pen and pencil than many a general has with an entire army. LA ORQUESTA reveals, nay lays bare, an entire era in Mexican history." This run also contains the very last image produced by Escalante before his death in 1868 (Vol. II, No. 30) with the following issue devoted almost entirely to him.
LA ORQUESTA commenced publication in 1861 and was issued weekly through four series or EPOCAS before ceasing publication sometime in 1877. The UNION LIST OF SERIALS locates partial sets at twelve North American libraries. The style and content of LA ORQUESTA is a foundation for much of later Mexican art. Such influential graphic artists as Posada and Orozco drew directly on the images which appear here in shaping their styles, and thus LA ORQUESTA is seminal to modern Latin American art. A gold mine of Mexican lithographic art and caricature. PALAU 204579. SABIN 57650. Ron Tyler, ed., POSADA'S MEXICO, pp.94-100 and passim. MATHES, MEXICO ON STONE, p.30. GRABADOS MEXICANOS: AN HISTORICAL EXHIBITION OF MEXICAN GRAPHICS 1839-1974 (Mount Holyoke College, 1974), passim. TOUSSAINT, LA LITOGRAFIA EN MEXICO EN EL SIGLO XIX (1934), p.xxvi.