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Efrain Barradas Mexican and Cuban Film Poster Collection

 Collection
Identifier: UFBarradas

Scope and Content

The Efrain Barradas Mexican and Cuban Film Poster Collection, collected and donated by Dr. Ramón A. Figueroa, consists of 432 film posters (mostly 27 x 36 inch one sheets, but also including the larger 3 sheet poster format), lobby cards and window cards representing a time frame from 1939 to 2007. Mexico and Cuba are the main focus of the collection, but related posters, lobby cards and window cards, produced in Puerto Rico, Belgium, Italy, Poland and the United States, are also represented.

The collection spotlights the work of many of the great stars and performers (Maria Felix, Pedro Infante, Pedro Armendariz, Ricardo Montalban, Tin-Tan, Alicia Alonzo, Carlos Cruz, Jorge Martinez etc), the revolutionary film directors (Luis Bunuel, Miguel M. Delgado, Joaquin Pardave, Juan Orol, Leopoldo Laborde, Daniel Diaz Torres, Luis Felipe Bernaza, Mario Rivas, Enrique Pineda Barnet, etc.) and the dynamic poster artists (Alberto Vargas, Eduardo Munoz Bachs, Josep Renau, Ernesto Garcia Cabral, Leopoldo Mendoza, Antonio Fernandez Reboiro, etc.). The names of the memorable and the long- forgotten are included in this colorful collection of promotional material representing so much of the groundbreaking history of the Latin American film industry.

The posters are filed alphabetically by title (each letter of the alphabet is represented by a separate folder) and each poster is numbered. When requesting a poster, the researcher should list the film title and the letter of the alphabet and poster number (Example: "Amor de Locura - A-13" or "Mercedes Sosa - M-24", etc.). The size of the poster, duplicate poster information, the country in which the film and poster were produced, the year of the film's release, alternate film titles, cast, directors, screenwriters, and poster artists (if known) are included in this description of the collection (Example: "Familia Perez, La - 27 x 36 inch Mexican film poster promoting the 1949 Mexican film directed by Gilberto Martinez Solares and starring Joaquin Pardave, Sara Garcia, Manuel Fabregas, Beatriz Aguirre, Jose Elias Moreno, Alma Rose Aguirre, Lilia Prado, Felipe de Alba, Conchita Carracedo, Ana Maria Villasenor, Celia Duarte, Isaac Norton, Eduardo Noriega, etc. Screenplay by Gilberto Martinez Solares and Joaquin Pardave. Poster artist: Espert"). Digital images of each poster are also available online, but the hard copy of each poster is still available to the researcher.

Since the original acquisition, both Dr. Ramón A. Figueroa and Dr. Efrain Barradas have added additional posters, from their personal collections, to supplement and enhance the existing holdings. These gifts have been scanned and added to the online digital image collection and the finding guide. In some instances, a special dedication (per the request of the donor) has been added to the finding guide and these honors are visible in bold type font at the end of the descriptive record (Example: Lecuona - 20 x 30 inch Cuban film poster promoting the 1983 Cuban documentary film directed by Oscar Valdes. Screenplay by Oscar Valdes. Poster artist: Niko 83. GIFT OF EFRAIN BARRADAS IN HONOR OF INAKI RODENO, UF CENTER FOR LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES).

Dates

  • 1939-2007

Creator

Access

The posters may be reviewed as online digital images, but the original posters have been preserved in Mylar and are available to patrons in the Special and Area Studies Research Room. The posters do not circulate beyond the Research Room.

Biographical/Historical Note

Born in the Dominican Republic, Ramón Figueroa moved to Mexico in 1989 and immediately "fell in love" with the culture of his new home. He took advantage of the "incredible variety and beauty" that Mexico offered and his interest in "all things Mexico" became a great source of enjoyment and excitement. He was moved by the "degree of sophistication" evident in Mexican popular culture and, in a letter, Ramón Figueroa pinpointed this period as the "start of my collecting" at first acquiring Mexican masks and pottery until 1994 "...when I moved to posters."

He made almost all of his poster purchases on EBay and, through this service, made contact with collectors ("...wonderful people who appreciate this art form for more than monetary reasons...") around the globe. Dr. Figueroa describes his collection as "... a great expression of a time when Mexico made an investment in popular culture as a way to promote the values and virtues that would unify society and consolidate the power of the system..." and he believes "...there is research to be done on the Mexican poster as an example of the aesthetic cohesiveness of government sponsored art in Mexico before the sixties."

The initial Mexican poster collection grew to include Cuban film posters as a response to "the same influences I experienced growing up" in the Dominican Republic. Dr. Figueroa writes: "After the revolution, Cuba became a social model for the people of my generation, and Cuban culture, which has always been a great force in my country, grew even more dominant. As was the case in Mexico before 1960, the Cuban revolutionary government became a great sponsor of popular culture for propagandistic reasons. The power of the cultural products of the Cuban revolution in Latin America is undeniable"

Dr. Figueroa has made a presentation at Millsaps College, in Jackson, Mississippi, addressing the subject of state-sponsored art (comparing the Mexican and Cuban posters in this collection). He summarized by saying: "It is very interesting that as different as the Mexican and Cuban posters are visually, their images are indicative of similar sociopolitical forces."

Ramón Figueroa was studying for his Bachelor of Arts degree when he first met Dr. Efrain Barradas at University of Massachusetts-Boston. Dr. Barradas was a faculty member at UMass Boston and Dr. Figueroa recalls the impression and impact his teacher had on his future as an educator, collector and historian. After seeing the beauty of Dr. Barradas' personal collection of Puerto Rican posters and witnessing his passion for collecting, Ramón Figueroa realized "Collecting could be more than the marvelous pieces he had on his wall."

The possibility of acquiring this impressive collection of Mexican and Cuban film posters for the University of Florida Department of Special and Area Studies was first proposed by Dr. Efrain Barradas to Richard Phillips (Head Librarian in the Latin American Collection) and James Liversidge (Curator of Popular Culture Collections) in the summer of 2006. He imparted the wishes of his former student and current teaching colleague, Ramón Figueroa, to find a worthy home for this large collection where it would remain intact and well-preserved. Dr. Barradas negotiated the transaction between Gainesville, Florida and Jackson, Mississippi and the collection was gratefully accepted, by the University of Florida, in the summer of 2008.

The Efrain Barradas Mexican and Cuban film Collection is named in honor of (in the words of Ramón A. Figueroa) "a professor who not only taught me about academics, but also helped me expand and refine my interests in popular culture."

Extent

60 Linear feet (432 film posters)

Language of Materials

Spanish; Castilian

Abstract

Dr. Ramón A. Figueroa, Associate Professor of Spanish at Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi (2002 - Present) began collecting Mexican film posters in 1994 as a hobby. The collection grew to one of the great private Spanish Language poster collections in the world, (including a secondary collecting interest in Cuban film posters). Dr. Figueroa credits his former teacher, Dr. Efrain Barradas (Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Florida Center for Latin American Studies), as his mentor and inspiration and, for this reason, requested that the collection be named in his honor. Through the efforts of Dr. Efrain Barradas, this world-class collection is now preserved and housed in the Popular Culture Collections of the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections at the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

Efrain Barradas donated the Mexican and Cuban Film Poster Collection of Dr. Ramón Figueroa to the University of Florida in 2008.

Alternate Form of Material

Digital reproductions of the posters in the Efrain Barradas Mexican and Cuban Film Poster Collection are available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

Related Material

In a letter to the George A. Smathers Development Office, Dr. Efrain Barradas wrote the following: "In order to understand the true value of this collection one has to keep in mind three factors. First, Cuba and Mexico are the two most important centers of the Latin American film industry. Second, since the 1960s Cuban posters have been considered a major contribution to Latin American graphic arts. (See, for example, Susan Sontag's book on Cuban posters [1970].) In recent times Mexican movie posters have been studied by scholars and they are now appreciated as another major contribution to the development of Latin American graphics. (See Rogelio Agrasanchez's major study on the subject published in 1997.) Third and most important, in the 1980s the Mexican cinema archives in Mexico City burned down and the collection of movie posters in that country was lost. Today the Agrasanchez (Los Angeles) collection of Mexican movie posters is the largest in the world. It is still in private hands. Dr. Figueroa's collection is thus the largest in any public institution in the United States. I cannot speak about the collection of Cuban posters, but still, it is substantial."

Processing Notes

When the Efrain Barradas Mexican and Cuban Film Poster Collection of Dr. Ramón Figueroa was accepted by the University of Florida in 2008, the curators realized this vintage and fragile material would need preservation attention (cosmetic repairs and encapsulation) in order to be offered for research use and handling by patrons. In December, 2008, Richard Phillips, Head Librarian for the Latin American Collection, submitted a detailed proposal and was awarded a George A. Smathers Libraries "Mini Grant" to provide funding to "better organize, digitize and conserve" the film poster holdings. John Freund, Conservation Unit Head for the George A. Smathers Libraries, reviewed the material and made the necessary repairs in preparation for online digitization. The posters were sent to the Digital Library Center (DLC - headed by Director, Dr. Laurie Taylor) and the digitization project began under the supervision of Operations and Digital Project Manager, Randall Renner. Following this step, the posters were returned to the Library Conservation Unit where John Freund and his staff encapsulated each individual poster in Mylar for preservation and handling purposes.

Meanwhile, the Curator of Popular Culture Collections, James Liversidge, began processing the poster holdings (cataloging, storing the collection in folders and housing of the complete hard-copy collection in a protective poster cabinet) and creating a corresponding collection description for patron research and easy retrieval. Richard Phillips added metadata information to the digitized color poster images.

The Digital Library Center Conservation Unit Head, Lourdes Santamaria-Wheeler, created an informative and entertaining PowerPoint presentation in preparation for the official dedication of the Efrain Barradas Mexican and Cuban Film Poster Collection and Exhibit (Prepared by Richard Phillips and James Liversidge) which took place in the Smathers Library Exhibit Gallery on January 22, 2010.

Title
A Guide to the Efrain Barradas Mexican and Cuban Film Poster Collection
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid created by Jim Liversidge
Date
January 2010
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

Contact:
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America
352-273-2755