Lot 144
  • 144

ANONYMOUS PHOTOGRAPHER | Fountain of La India in the Paseo de Isabel II

10,000 - 15,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Anonymous photographer
  • Fountain of La India in the Paseo de Isabel II 
  • The whole 3¼ by 6¾ in. (8.3 by 17.1 cm.)
stereoscopic daguerreotype, gilt-bordered black passe-partout and modern seal and backing, 1840s

Catalogue Note

‘The Paseo de Ysabel Segunda crosses the city in a straight line from bay to ocean…It is between three or four hundred feet wide, and about a mile long; different parts of it being known by different names…It is ornamented with fine trees, shrubbery, flowers, glorietas, statues, and fountains, -- the finest of the latter being of Carrara marble, the gift of a patriotic citizen, and known as La Fuente de la India’ (W. M. L. Jay, My Winter in Cuba, New York, 1871, pp. 45-6). The daguerreotype offered here is believed to depict La Fuente de la India, designed by sculptor Giuseppe Gaggini and imported from Italy circa 1836.  Atop the fountain is the statue of the Noble Habana who holds in one hand a shield with the arms of the city and in the other hand a cornucopia representing Cuban agriculture.    

News of photography reached Havana as early as 1839 when a local newspaper reprinted an article on Daguerre’s invention.  The 1840s and early 1850s saw an influx of artists to Havana advertising photographic services, from Cuban-born Francisco Serrano to the New York-based Charles DeForest Fredericks.  Italian Antonio Rezzonico traveled from New York to Havana in 1841 and, in addition to portraits, his studio produced city views which may have been the basis for early published volumes of lithographic views of Havana.  The present view of the La Fuente de La India and the Paseo de Isabel was immortalized in an often reproduced lithograph by Pierre Toussaint Frédéric Mialhe, who produced magnificent views of Cuba from 1839 to 1854.