Australia 1900 – United States of America 1982
United States from 1919
On the road to Toluca
gelatin silver photograph
image 26.8 (h) x 34.2 (w) cm
Gift of American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia, Inc., New York, NY, USA, made possible with the generous support of Anton Bruehl Jr, 2006.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
On the road to Toluca was the final image of Photographs of Mexico, and the only landscape. Although the cactus, along with the sombrero, had become a somewhat clichéd symbol of the country – often seen with a sleeping peon in paintings and tourist ware – here it becomes a powerful, majestic and appropriate ending to Bruehl’s sombre depiction of Mexico. Backlit, in a desolate mountainous region on the way to Toluca, a popular tourist destination southwest of Mexico City, and shot from a low vantage point, the plant cannot be contained in Bruehl’s ground glass and instead breaks free at the top of the picture plane.