The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830-1930 at Americas Society, through June 30, 2018

The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830-1930 is an exhibition that explores the impact that a century of accelerated urbanization as well as political and social transformations had on the architectural landscapes of six Latin American capitals: Buenos Aires, Havana, Lima, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago de Chile. The exhibition features rare maps, engravings, drawings, photographs, books, and videos that range from Hernán Cortés’ map of Tenochtitlán (1524) to Le Corbusier’s sketches made during his visit to Buenos Aires (1929).

“The juncture that followed the processes of independence from Mexico to Argentina triggered a myriad of local initiatives that led to the re-organization of the cities from the newly freed republics to the nation-states before the Second World War,” explained Americas Society Visual Arts Director and Chief Curator Gabriela Rangel. “Metropolis is an effort that reveals the importance of archival research within a period that have been mostly overseen in the U.S. scholarship on Latin America. After Americas Society’s exploration of the emergence of mid-century modern design through our 2015 exhibition MODERNO: Design for Living in Brazil, Mexico, and Venezuela 1940-1978, we aim to present a previous step in the configuration of modern impulses and projects for the urban environment in small cities and big capitals.” 

“During the almost four centuries of colonial rule, town planning was a key tool to build cities that had to be commercially functional and militarily strategic,” commented exhibition curator and The Getty Research Institute’s Associate Curator of Latin American Collections Idurre Alonso. “This exhibition traces the changes of six major capitals as independence, industrialization, and exchange of ideas altered their built environments and eventually transformed them into monumental, modern metropolises.”

Isaak Tirion (Dutch, 1705–1765). Platte Grond van Lima, de Hoofdstad van Peru (Plan of Lima, Capital of Peru), ca. 1760, engraving, 8 1/4 x 12 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Eduardo Laplante (French, 1818–1860). La Habana: Panorama general de la ciudad y su bahía (Havana: Panorama of the City and Bay), ca. mid-1850s, lithograph, 22 1/2 x 34 1/4 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Marc Ferrez (Brazilian, 1843–1923). Vue Prise de Santa Thereza, Rio de Janeiro (View from Santa Theresa), ca. 1890s, albumen print, 7 x 13 3/4 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Unknown photographer. Avenue de Mayo, Buenos Aires, 1914, gelatin silver prints in “Travel Albums from Paul Fleury’s Trips to Switzerland, the Middle East, India, Asia, and South America,” 1896–1918. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Unknown photographer. Avenue de Mayo, Buenos Aires, 1914, gelatin silver prints in “Travel Albums from Paul Fleury’s Trips to Switzerland, the Middle East, India, Asia, and South America,” 1896–1918. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Charles Betts Waite (American, 1861–1927) photographer. Francisco Jiménez (Mexican), architect. Miguel Noreña (Mexican, 1839–1894), sculptor. Cuauhtémoc Statue, City of Mexico, ca. 1907, gelatin silver print, 8 1/8 x 5 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Nathaniel Currier (American, 1813–1888). La Alameda de Mexico – The Public Park of Mexico, 1848, hand-colored lithograph, 10 x 14 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Augusto Cesar de Malta Campos (Brazilian, 1864–1957).P. Mal [Praça Marechal] Floriano, Rio-Brasil (Marechal Floriano Square, Rio de Janeiro), 1927 , gelatin silver print, 7 x 9 1/4 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Unknown photographer. View on Santa Lucía Hill, Santiago de Chile, ca. 1870–1890, albumen print, 11 1/8 x 13 3/4 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Unknown photographer. Dock Sud, Buenos Aires, 1906, gelatin silver prints, 6 3/4 x 27 1/2 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Charles Betts Waite (American, 1861–1927). Raymond Special on the Metlac Bridge, Mexico City-Veracruz, ca. 1897, gelatin silver print, 7 3/4 x 9 1/2 in. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

N. D. Photo (French studio, active 1870s–1880s). Pavilion of Mexico, Paris, albumen print in Eugene Bigot, “L’architecture a l’Exposition Universelle de 1889: Principales constructions du Champ-de-Mars et de l’Esplanade des Invalides,” ca. 1889, Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Francisco Mujica (Mexican, 1899–1979). The City of the Future: Hundred Story City in Neo-American Style, offset lithograph in History of the Skyscraper (Paris: Archaeology & Architecture Press, 1929), pl. 134. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

Alfred Donat Agache (French, 1875–1959). Perspectiva da praça do Castello idealisada pelo professor Alfred Agache como centro principal dos negocios, Rio de Janeiro (Perspective View of the Castle Square Designed by Professor Alfred Agache as the Main Business Center), chromolithograph in Cidade do Rio de Janeiro: Remodelação-Extensão e Embellezamento (Paris: Foyer Brésilien, 1930), pp. 176–177. Los Angeles, Getty Research Institute

The Metropolis in Latin America, 1830-1930 has been organized by The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, and was previously on view as part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA at the Getty Center. Curated by Idurre Alonso and Maristella Casciato.

Images courtesy Americas Society.