Ca. 1920s-1930s. Oblong Folio (ca. 27x38 cm). 22 card stock leaves, most with original tissue guards. With 197 mounted original gelatin silver photographs, including seven panoramas ca. 8x24,5 cm (3 x 9 ¾ in), and 190 photos and real photo postcards from ca. 8,5x13 cm (3 ¼ x 5 ¼ in) to ca. 5,5x7,5 cm (2x3 in). About sixty photos captioned and/or numbered and/or signed in negative (“Foto A. Müller,” “Foto A.M. Gomez,” “Ferrebus Fot.,” “Fot. Lano”); several photos bear the blind stamp “Fotografia Mirabal” on the image. Two photos with period ink inscriptions in German on the image, one photo with an ink inscription “Maracaibo, November 1932” on verso. Period light brown full cloth album fastened with a string. A dozen leaves detached and loosely inserted, several leaves with crinkles and minor tears, three photos have been previously removed from the album, a few images mildly faded, but overall a good album of strong interesting images.
Historically significant collection of original photos showing the Lake Maracaibo oil fields – mostly, La Rosa/Cabimas oil field, apparently taken by a German associate of the “Venezuelan Oil Concessions.” Formed in 1913, VOC became a subsidiary of the Royal Dutch Shell Group and discovered La Rosa field after the famous blowout of the Barroso II well in 1922 - the event that established Venezuela as a leading producer of oil in the world. By 1931 the company developed three absorption plants at La Rosa field, and a compressor plant at La Cabimas (Petroleum Refineries in Foreign Countries, 1931. Washington: US Government Printing Office, 1932, p. 42). VOC “was renamed Compania Shell de Venezuela in 1953 and 1976 became Maraven S.A., as a result of the nationalization of the oil industry” (Finol, A., Sancevic, Z.A. Subsidence in Venezuela// Subsidence due to Fluid Withdrawal/ Developments in Petroleum Science. 41. Elsevier Science, 1995, p. 346).
The album includes numerous views of the oil derricks and plants, machinery, pipelines, electric towers, three photos of the interior of a diesel engine motor plant (apparently, at an oil refinery), several photos of an oil blowout captioned “La Rosa” in negative. Seven excellent panoramic views show the town and oil facilities in Cabimas (with a separate view of the piers and oil derricks) and La Salina oil refinery. There are also numerous portraits of the company’s European workers (and apparently of the album’s compiler), posing at the oil facilities, in front of cars with signs “V.O.C.” on the doors, next to their cottages, swimming, drinking in a bar with local women; other photos show a swimming pool for the associates, an open-air cinema, and a company building in Cabimas with the sign “Parking Space” in front. Other interesting photos show the city of Maracaibo – a street with the building of the German consulate (manuscript note by the compiler), city market under construction (built in 1928-1931, now Maracaibo Art Centre), city docks, El Milagro neigbourhood, etc. At least a dozen real photo postcards show Caracas (general and street views, Plaza Republica, full fights on the Nuevo Circo bullring, Guaire River, Savanna Grande, nearby mountains); there are also views of Puerto Cabello (waterfront with the “Minna Horn” steamship passing, Hotel de los Baños, Calle Urdaneta, sunset on the beach), and El Consejo (a palm alley).
A dozen photos portray native people and villages (a family of “Indios de Guajira” from around Maracaibo, two women on a Maracaibo street, groups of people from Venezuela or possibly Aruba); photo images show a train wreck showing destroyed train cars and the bodies of the victims. Overall an important documental illustration to the pre-World War II history of the oil industry in Venezuela.
Price: $3,250.00 USD
Status: On Hold