BARANANO, Leonardo (1837-1858) and LAPLANTE, Edouardo (1818-1860)
Isla de Cuba Pintoresca. Collection de Vistas Generales
Havana: Santiago Martín, 1856. 8 lithographs, printed in colour and finished by hand, within ruled borders, on heavy paper. Sheet size: 20 5/8 x 31 7/8 inches.
Very rare series of large coloured lithographs of colonial Cuban towns and harbours.
The sought-after collection of Cuban prints, the majority drawn by Barañano, and lithographed by Laplante, comprises the following topographical views, with titles printed in Spanish and English: 1) [General View of Mantanzas] Vista de la Ciudad de Matanzas, Tomada desde el Monte de Cafetal de D. Vicente Guerrero. Includes inset depictions of Palacio de Gobierno, Iglesia Parroquial, Puente de Bailen, and the Hospital Militar. 2) [General View of Havana] La Habana, Vista General Tomada desde la Entrada del Puerto (after L. Barañano) 3) [General View of Trinidad] Trinidad, Vista General Tomada desde la Loma de la Vija (after E. Laplante) 4) [General View of Cardenas] Cardenas, Vista General Tomada desde la Bahia (after L. Barañano) 5) [General View of Cienfuegos] Cienfuegos, Vista General Tomada desde la Punta de Revienta-Cordeles (after L. Barañano) 6) [General View of Santiago de Cuba,] Santiago de Cuba, Vista General Tomada desde Buena-Vista (after L. Barañano) 7) [General View of Puerto-Principe] Puerto-Principe, Vista General Tomada desde El Cristo (after L. Barañano) 8) [General View of the Valley of Yumuri] El Valle del Yumuri. Vista General Tomada Desde el Potrero del Ingenio Sn. Seba (after L. Barañano) The lithographs, with exquisite hand-clouring, emphasize Cuba's scenic harbours, cities, and valleys, with some prints showing what appears to be farmers engaging in tobacco cultivation. Edouardo Laplante was born in France in 1818, and he came to Cuba in 1848. The packaging and advertising needs of Cuba's flourishing tobacco industry created a mid-19th-century boom in commercial printmaking. Within a short time Laplante established himself as the best artist lithographer in the country, travelling throughout the island and visited many sugar plantations, making valuable documentary records of the people and customs. He later edited a famous book describing the Cuban sugar mills, Libros de los Ingenios (1858).
Sabin, A Catalogue of Naval Prints, English, Colonial and Foreign Views, p.82.