Published by AAA; edition of 148. Signed in pencil lower right: “Irwin D. Hoffman; titled in pencil lower left: “Pastoral – Puerto Rico -” Signed and dated in plate lower left: “Irwin D. Hoffman 1938”. A fine impression in fine condition with full margins. Accompanied by AAA label.
“This is one of the nice ones I think I did. You know, the Volga porters have this chant, and not the one you hear in the ‘Volga Boatmen,’ but a chant where they lift up these enormous weights to their backs–and struggle bowlegged to carry the load. In Puerto Rico they have a chant in which the leader and the men behind him move along to the chant as they hoe the tobacco. And they go right through the field; you could hear them chanting and moving, chanting and moving.” (commentary by Irwin D. Hoffman in “Irwin D. Hoffman: An Artist’s Life,” Boston Public Library 1982.)
TOBACCO. The rise of the tobacco industry has fluctuated. Since the time of the Spanish sovereignty, Puerto Rican tobacco has enjoyed a reputation for good quality, a fact which allowed it to sell in competition with the best grades of Cuban tobacco. The American sovereignty opened new and better markets to the industry. Several American companies opened cigar and cigarette factories in Puerto Rico and purchased some of the best lands in order to grow their own leaf. They also purchased the bulk of the Island crop. Tobacco in Puerto Rico is grown mainly in the mountainous region of the interior, east from Utuado to San Lorenzo. Most of it is of the cigarfiller type, but until 1926 much was used as a wrapper. Chewing tobacco is grown in the northern and southern regions. Exports of leaf tobacco, mainly to the United States, increased from $1,232,058 in 1907 to a little less than $3,000,000 in 1914 and nearly $14,000,000 in 1921. Between 1922 and 1926, exports fluctuated between $9,000,000 and $14,000,000. In 1927 Puerto Rico exported tobacco valued at nearly $21,000,000. In 1939-40 exported tobacco was valued at $7,464,394. In exports, tobacco occupies third place among Puerto Rican products.