A Book Signed by the Author Whose Work Inspired John Steinbeck’s The Pearl

Signed by Dr. Atl

Item: 20096
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ATL, DR. (GERARDO MURILLO CORNADO, 1875-1964). Mexican artist and art historian who helped establish Mexico’s modern artistic identity. Signed book. (“Dr. Atl”).162pp. 8vo. Mexico, October 22, 1951 [?]. In Spanish. A signed copy of his book Un Grito en la Atlantida (A Scream in Atlantis), published March 12, 1947 in Mexico City by Ediciones Botas. Inscribed in Spanish on the title page in blue ink to My wise friend, Jaime Delgado, allow me to dedicate this copy to you with the keen desire that you will accompany me to search for Atlantis this coming year…”

Cornado’s artistic abilities were recognized by Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, who awarded him a stipend to study in Europe. While studying in Rome and Paris he became interested in socialism and chose the pseudonym Atl, meaning “water” in Aztec, as a way to connect with his indigenous roots. Upon returning home, he issued a manifesto calling for the creation of a public art movement and later became involved in the muralist movement and an associate of Diego Rivera who called him, “one of the most curious personalities born to the modern New World—his story is the most picturesque of all the painters, impossible to recount in fewer than several volumes,” (Homenaje del pueblo y del gobierno de Jalisco al pintor Gerardo Murillo, “Dr. Atl,” en el primer aniversario de su fallecimiento).

A prolific landscape painter, Atl’s favorite subject was volcanoes, and he designed a stained glass curtain for the Institute of Fine Arts featuring two volcanoes and executed by Tiffany. A supporter of the Mexican Revolution, he served as Director of the Academy of San Carlos and published a government-funded survey of indigenous art in 1922 entitled Folk Arts in Mexico. Atl later headed Mexico’s Department of Archaeological Monuments.

His own writings include Cuentos de todos los colores (“Stories of All Colors”) which documents the Mexican Revolution and La Perla (“The Pearl”), the inspiration of Steinbeck’s eponymous novella. In fact, Atl’s literary output is exceedingly eclectic, including “four volumes of short stories, an autobiographic novel, a collection of prose poems about Mexican volcanoes, an unclassifiable philosophical science-fiction novel, a book on petroleum and another on gold, an eccentric, rabidly anticlerical novel populated with an eclectic mélange of historical characters, … [a] speculative tract on Atlantis [our volume], two studies of volcanoes, catalogue essays on popular Mexican arts and colonial architecture, an essay on landscape painting, and numerous political writings,” (“The Artist as Volcano,” Cabinet Magazine, Lerner). Our inscribed book, Un grito en la Atlántida, “advances the thesis that the inhabitants of Atlantis spoke Nahuatl,” the language spoken by the Aztecs, (ibid.).

The recipient of our book is possibly Spanish scholar of Latin American studies and prolific author Jamie Delgado Martín (1923-1993), who later held a position in Francisco Franco’s Ministry of Information and Tourism.

In the original yellow paper wrappers. With some wear and staining. In overall very good condition and uncommon.

A Book Signed by the Author Whose Work Inspired John Steinbeck’s The Pearl

Signed by Dr. Atl

$400 • item #20096

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