The United States of America
Pictorial Map by Miguel Covarrubias

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The United States of America
The United States of America detail The United States of America detail
Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) (after)
The United States of America
Color process print
American Associated Artists, New York: c. 1942
25 x 36.25 inches, overall
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Bird's-eye view map of the United States with parts of Canada and Mexico, by the famous illustrator Miguel Covarrubias in his characteristic pictorial cartographic style. The map is illustrated with natural features such as mountain ranges, trees, agricultural products from melons and carrots to pigs and cattle, and the flora and fauna of various regions such as a crab in Maryland, a flamingo in Florida, and cacti in the desert Southwest. Skycrapers of the big cities and landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty are shown, along with oil wells in Texas and factories in the East and Midwest. A Canadian Mountie, Native Americans and cowboys are depicted in the regions they are associated with. Ships and fishes embellish the oceans. The decorative cartouche features an American eagle shield surmounted by a ribbon banner with the title of the map. The outer border of the map is a degrees scale.

Covarrubias — artist, author, ethnologist, and anthropologist — was born in Mexico City in 1904. He moved to New York City in 1923, and became a popular illustrator, known in particular for his Vanity Fair covers, New Yorker illustrations and his caricatures, which he also published in book form. He traveled the world and became fascinated with Balinese art and culture. He returned there in 1933 on a Guggenheim Fellowship, and wrote a well-received book about Balinese art and culture. Covarrubias integrated his studies in ethnography and anthropology with his artistic talents in his maps, which he produced for publication and as murals. He developed a recognizable style integrating cartography and pictorial images that was aligned with that of Mexican mural painters such as Diego Rivera, whom he knew. Among his best known works are a set of six mural-size maps of the Pacific region which he executed for the Pacific House at the San Francisco World's Fair.

References:

"Miguel Covarrubias." AskArt.com. http://www.askart.com (28 January 2003).

"Sala Miguel Covarrubias." Museo Virtual, Biblioteca Universidad de las Americas-Puebla. http://biblio.pue.udlap.mx/museo/cova.html (28 January 2003).