Mariposas en Patyenaro

With the lucrative growth of tourism in 20th century, stereotypical and processed images of Mexico have often been marketed to the American imagination. In them, "South of the Border" becomes a sunny pre-modern place of vacations, trinkets, and convenient lawlessness. But contrasting and complex images of Mexico have pervaded the American imagination since well before the Civil War. Mexico, itself defined by cultural and racial exchange, has historically represented a starkly different social order to most Americans. A country with cheap land and labor and bountiful mineral and agricultural resources offered economic opportunities to many Americans, from white financiers and mercenaries to black oil workers and baseball players. Mexico was also a refuge for many American artists, of Mexican descent or otherwise, who imagined Mexico in different ways. Some artists sought inspiration from its ancient history, and others came looking for a pristine and exotic landscape. This lithograph, titled Mariposas at Patyenaro was drawn by Alan Crane in 1943. It depicts the picturesque, butterfly-shaped nets of Mexican fisherman paddling their canoes on a lake. Alan Horton Crane (1901–1969) was a Brooklyn-born illustrator best known for his landscapes and genre scenes of life in Mexico and New England. Similar prints by Crane showing scenes of idyllic Mexico are housed in the Graphic Arts Collection of the National Museum of American History.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Crane, Alan
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 31.9 cm x 40.8 cm; 12 9/16 in x 16 1/16 in
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Country Scenes
Cultures & Communities
Mexican America
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Graphic Arts
Mexican America
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Mariposas at Patyenaro

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