FREDERICK CATHERWOOD ARCHT by Victor Wolfgang von Hagen


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A brief biography of Frederick Catherwood, the little known, indisnct, forgotten artist-archaeologist whose lifetime was dogged by bad luck and whose lifework -- the discovery and reproduction of the Mayan civilization- has been obscured. Von Hagen, an explorer in his own right- is here ""an explorer of explorers"" as he recreates the man, patient, precise, reticent, restrained, who was in his younger years a member of the ""Keats circle"". Coming to America, his friendship with John Lloyd Stephens led to the first expedition to Central America where ""through rain, rubble and revolution"" Catherwood copied the Mayan designs- later used to illustrate Stephens' book. A second expedition was followed by his own book- and the 25 superb lithographs used there are reproduced here. And after a third trip to South America, as a surveyor for the railroads, and defeated by the climate and labor troubles, Catherwood gave up and died at sea on the return to England. Although of primary interest in artistic, archaeological fields, this life story is in itself a quixotic, ironic one. A beautiful piece of bookmaking.

Pub Date: Feb. 9th, 1950
Publisher: Oxford