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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical / Historical Note
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Hugo Brehme views of the Mexican Revolution
    Dates: 1913-1920
    Collection number: 98.R.5
    Creator: Brehme, Hugo
    Extent: 108 photographs (1 box)
    Repository: Getty Research Institute
    Research Libary
    Special Collections and Visual Resources
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles, CA 90049-1688
    Abstract: German-born Mexican photographer. Photographs by Hugo Brehme document two episodes of the Mexican Revolution: La Decena Trágica of 1913, the ten days of counter-revolutionary insurrections against President Francisco Madero; and the American occupation of Veracruz in 1914. Also included are several general views of Mexico, circa 1914-1920.
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    Language: Collection material is in German and Spanish.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Hugo Brehme views of the Mexican Revolution, 1913-1920, Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Accession no. 98.R.5

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired in 1998.

    Processing History

    Annette Leddy researched and processed the photographs and wrote this finding aid in Fall 1998. Beth Ann Guynn revised the finding aid in Spring 2007.

    Biographical / Historical Note

    Hugo Brehme, born in Germany in 1882, arrived in Mexico in 1908 with his wife and photographic equipment. Though he expected the visit to be relatively brief, he spent the rest of his life in Mexico and is considered one of the founders of Mexican pictorialist photography. His early photographs were documentary, and include views of the Mexican Revolution that have served as source material for various 20th century Mexican artists. The most famous of these, the portrait of Zapata in Cuernavaca, was for many years attributed to Agustín Víctor Casasola, with whom Brehme collaborated from 1913 to1914. After the revolution, Brehme turned to pictorialism, making impressionistic views of the Mexican landscape and inhabitants. These photographs, taken as he wandered with cumbersome equipment through remote, often mountainous regions, were highly acclaimed when published in his collection México Pintoresco (1923). Brehme continued to publish photographs in magazines such as National Geographic and Mapa, and in various books about Mexican culture and geography, until his death in 1954. Brehme, Hugo, México pintoresco, México D.F. , 1990 (1923). Brehme, Hugo, México: una nación persistente: fotografías, México D.F. , 1995. Brehme, Hugo, Pueblos y paisajes de México, México D.F. , 1992.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The collection documents two significant episodes of the Mexican Revolution: La Decena Trágica of 1913, the ten days of counter-revolutionary insurrections against President Francisco Madero, culminating in Madero's arrest and betrayal by Victoriana Huerta; and the American occupation of Veracruz in 1914, Woodrow Wilson's effort to oust Huerta and thereby correct the Taft administration's collusion in Madero's defeat and assassination. The twenty-nine images taken in Mexico City in February 1913 show cannon-bombed buildings, groups of Maderistas, and scenes at the Ciudadela, which was held by the Felicistas. Sixty-three images of U.S. forces in Veracruz depict battleships and the fieldcamp where American soldiers lived during the occupation. There are also four photographs related to Emilio Zapata's entry into Cuernavaca in 1911 following the resignation of President Porfirio Díaz. The general views of Mexico offer a sample of the pictorialism for which Brehme is known; these include landscapes and local color images, with some photographs related to developments in the Revolution after 1914.
    Annotations on versos are in German and Spanish. German annotations are in the hand of Wilhelm Weber, Brehme's partner. Numbers at the beginning of the annotations may refer to negative and/or file numbers.


    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Names

    Zapata, Emiliano, 1879-1919--Portraits
    Zapata, Eufemio, 1873-1919--Portraits
    Zapata, Josefa Espejo--Portraits
    United States--Army

    Subjects - Topics

    Battleships--United States
    Military camps--Veracruz (Veracruz-Llave, Mexico)
    Pictorialism (Photography movement)--Mexico

    Subjects - Places

    Mexico--Description and travel
    Mexico--History--Decena Tr´gica, 1913
    Mexico--History--Revolution, 1910-1920
    Mexico City (Mexico)
    Veracruz-Llave (Mexico : State)
    Veracruz (Veracruz-Llave, Mexico)--History--American occupation, 1914

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Gelatin silver prints-Mexico-20th century
    Photographs, Original


    Weber, Wilhelm