courtesy photoPre-revolutionary Mexico comes to life in postcards on view at the Main Library.

courtesy photoPre-revolutionary Mexico comes to life in postcards on view at the Main Library.

Postcards send a message from Mexico in early 1900s

“A Little Piece of Mexico: The Postcards of Celebrated Photographers Guillermo Kahlo and his Contemporaries,” a show drawn from the personal collection of San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia, is truly extraordinary.

On view through Dec. 29 in the Jewett Gallery at the San Francisco Public Library’s main branch, the exhibit of more than 200 historical postcards from the early 1900s is varied and rich, boasting images of diverse people and their customs, war and conflict, generals and traitors, and nature and architecture.

In addition to works by Willhelm Kahlo, a German photographer (who changed his name to Guillermo) and the father of famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, the exhibit also includes photos by Abel Briquet of France, F. Leon and Felix Miret of Mexico, Caecilie Seler of Germany and CB Waite of the United States.

Sold at bookstores, tourist areas, transit stations, cafes and restaurants, the postcards offer a vibrant view of life in Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, before the country’s revolution in 1910.

Kahlo’s artistry is particularly remarkable. But his images, with their environmental sensibility and folk-art quality, do not necessarily seem commercial, as exemplified by “Indio Cargando Totomostle,” a picture of a worker carrying bananas.

Some of the postcards are accompanied by large reproductions. The poster-sized “Plaza con la Cathedral” shows a large public park, with rich greenery and a plaza in the foreground. In the background, but also dominating the photograph, is the cathedral, detailed and dramatic.

The show is presented by the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco, the Office of Research and sponsored programs of San Francisco State University and the City Lights Foundation.

IF YOU GO

A Little Piece of Mexico

Where: Jewett Gallery, Main Library, 100 Larkin St. S.F.

When: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, noon to 5:30 p.m. Fridays, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sundays; closes Dec. 29

Admission: Free

Contact: (415) 557-4400, websiteA Little Piece of MexicoAlejandro MurguiaArt & MuseumsartsGuillermo Kahlo

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City has struggled to conduct outreach in some neighborhoods as it works to expand Slow Streets — such as this section of Page Street in the Lower Haight — to underserved neighborhoods. <ins>(Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
SFMTA delays vote on Bayview Slow Streets, approves five others in ‘underserved’ areas

SFMTA struggles to conduct outreach in neighborhoods with lower internet access

Stern Grove Festival organizers are planning to bring back the popular summer concert series — The Isley Brothers show in 2019 is pictured — with limited audience capacity. (Ming Vong/S.F. Examiner)
Indoor shows won’t be flooding SF stages soon but Stern Grove might be back in June

While San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that live performances may resume… Continue reading

San Francisco Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto  (47) started on Opening Day against the Colorado Rockies at Oracle Park on April 9, 2021. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Giants welcome fans back with strong performance by Cueto

By Ethan Kassel Special to S.F. Examiner ORACLE PARK — The first… Continue reading

James Harbor appears in court after he was arrested on charges in the July 4th shooting death of 6-year-old Jace Young on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Murder case heads to trial over killing of 6-year-old Jace Young

Hearing reveals new details in ‘horrific’ Fourth of July shooting

BART passengers may see more frequent service by this fall. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
BART service increases possible as soon as September

Proposal would double weekday, daytime trains and extend system operating hours

Most Read