A Moment in Time: The Odyssey of the Segesser Hides

Segesser II, depicting a 1720s expedition to root out French raiders. Photo by Blair Clark, NM/DCA.


Historian Thomas E. Chávez speaks about and signs copies of his new book, A Moment in Time: The Odyssey of New Mexico’s Segesser Hide Paintings (Rio Grande Books, 2012), an anthology that includes 14 articles by prominent scholars, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, in the New Mexico History Museum Auditorium in Santa Fe.

The event is free with admission; Sundays free to New Mexico residents.

Contributors to A Moment in Time include Fray Angélico Chávez; Joe S. Sando; Thomas J. Steele, S.J.; Donna L. Pierce; and Kelly T. Donahue. The book describes the paintings and their historical context.

Chávez is a former director of the Palace of the Governors and the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
He has published many articles, book reviews and seven books: Conflict and Acculturation; Manuel Alvarez’s 1842 Memorial; Manuel Alvarez, 1794-1856: A Southwestern Biography; Quest for Quivera: Spanish Exploration on the Plains; An Illustrated History of New Mexico; Wake for a Fat Vicar: Father Juan Felipe Ortiz; Archbishop Lamy and the New Mexican Catholic Church in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century (co-authored with Fray Angelico Chávez); and An Intrinsic Gift: Spain and the Independence of the United States.
Painted in New Mexico sometime in the first half of the 18th century, the two large works of art that have become known as the Segesser Hide Paintings were acquired by a Jesuit missionary who sent them to his family home in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1758.
Rediscovered after World War II by a Swiss ethno-historian, the paintings returned to New Mexico in 1986 and are on display in the Palace of the Governors.
Both artworks and historical documents, they tell stories of battles that reveal some of the inner-workings of New Mexico’s colonial history

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