German-born Mexican photographer.
Photographs by Hugo Brehme document two episodes of the Mexican Revolution: La Decena
Trágica of 1913, the ten days of counter-revolutionary insurrections against President
Francisco Madero; and the American occupation of Veracruz in 1914. Also included are several
general views of Mexico, circa 1914-1920.
Hugo Brehme, born in Germany in 1882, arrived in Mexico in 1908 with his wife and
photographic equipment. Though he expected the visit to be relatively brief, he spent the
rest of his life in Mexico and is considered one of the founders of Mexican pictorialist
photography. His early photographs were documentary, and include views of the Mexican
Revolution that have served as source material for various 20th century Mexican artists. The
most famous of these, the portrait of Zapata in Cuernavaca, was for many years attributed to
Agustín Víctor Casasola, with whom Brehme collaborated from 1913 to1914. After the
revolution, Brehme turned to pictorialism, making impressionistic views of the Mexican
landscape and inhabitants. These photographs, taken as he wandered with cumbersome equipment
through remote, often mountainous regions, were highly acclaimed when published in his
collection México Pintoresco (1923). Brehme continued to publish photographs in magazines
such as National Geographic and Mapa, and in various books about Mexican culture and
geography, until his death in 1954. Brehme, Hugo, México pintoresco,
México D.F., 1990 (1923). Brehme, Hugo, México: una nación
persistente: fotografías, México D.F., 1995. Brehme, Hugo,
Pueblos y paisajes de México, México D.F., 1992.