Exuberant Landscape or Jungle (1935) by Miguel CovarrubiasMALBA – Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires
While Miguel Covarrubias was famous for his work for North American magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue, he also did many illustrations for books.
The gouache and watercolor painting Paisaje exuberante is reminiscent of the images the artist painted for the cover of William H. Hudson’s novel Green Mansions (1936)
This books tells the story of a young man in the jungles of Guyana.
Both images may well be fruit of Covarrubias’s travels in Bali during those years (he and his wife lived there for nine months) or other jungle landscapes he visited in the Pacific, such as the isthmus of Tehuantepec.
In this work in particular, there is reason to believe that the inspiration was the jungles of Mexico: The work features a tree from the cecropia genus and flowers from the heliconia genus, both of which are native to the American tropics.
In Covarrubias’s art, like that of other Latin American artists of the time, the jungle theme is recurring, often as a symbol for the Americas. In art produced after the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920), the landscape is frequently a symbol for the nation.