The images…are a celebration of the subjects’ pride, dignity, and endurance, and are a clear testament to Strand’s belief that the photogravure process is capable of yielding the finest results achievable in photographic printmaking.

The Aperture Foundation, 2012

Paul Strand is best know for austere cityscapes, such as Wall Street (1915), and for abstractions, such as Abstraction, Twin Lakes, Connecticut (1916), but in 1926 he traveled to New Mexico to make portraits and in the early 1930s he traveled to Mexico to photograph its architecture, landscape, folk art, and people. These trips occurred in a transitional period for Strand. He was moving away from his more austere earlier work and was using portraiture to infuse a new humanism into photography.

The result of his Mexican trip was the seminal 1940 portfolio Photographs of Mexico containing twenty photogravures. That edition, published by Virginia Stevens with gravures pulled at the now defunct New York Photogravure and Color Company, was issued in a limited edition of 250 copies. A new edition under the title The Mexican Portfolio was published twenty-six years later by the Da Capo Press with gravures pulled at the Andersen Lamb Company by Albert DeLong under Strand’s direct supervision. Strand said of this version, which used the same steel gravure plates as the original:  “[they] have been able to get even more out of these twenty beautiful plates in printing the second edition.” This second facsimile edition, of which this copy is one, is limited to 1000 copies each signed by Strand.

The acclaim accorded to Strand’s Mexican photographs has not waned and the importance of this renowned body of work continues today. It is currently the subject of a traveling exhibition organized by the Aperture Foundation in New York and can be seen at museums in New York, Texas, Florida, and Kentucky.


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