The Director of the Museu Paulista between 1917 and 1945, Afonso Taunay, considered Hercule Florence as the “Patriarch of Paulista Iconography” and regarded his drawings as documents of the nature and daily life of the Brazilian nineteenth century. In the 1920s, he commissioned several artists to produce a series of paintings for the museum, and tiles for the As a result of the agreement between the IHF and the Museu Paulista of the University of São Paulo (MP/USP), in 2019 and 2020, a working team was formed to research these commissions, which resulted in the International Seminar “Museu Paulista and the memories of the narratives of Aimé-Adrien Taunay and Hercule Florence” [Museu Paulista and the memories of the narratives of Aimé-Adrien Taunay and Hercule Florence], the E-book with the same title, the webinar “Hercule Florence, a produção de imagens e as exposições do Museu do Ipiranga e do Museu Republicano” [Museu Paulista and the narratives’ memories of Aimé-Adrien Taunay and Hercule Florence], the virtual exhibition “Cinco pintores visitam Hercule Florence” [Five painters visit Hercule Florence ], and digital entries about artists.
The result of a partnership between the Paulista Museum of the University of São Paulo (MP/USP) and the IHF, this project aimed to stop the physical degradation of the original document, and to ensure its preservation for future generations. The text was transcribed and then translated to render its content accessible. With current technology, a new avenue of research has opened up: infrared scanning techniques have enabled the handwriting in pencil that was hidden beneath the ferrogalic ink to be read, uncovering a new layer of records. This document and further information about the project are available on the site O caderno de Aimé-Adrien Taunay: histórias, descobertas e percursos [The notebook of Aimé-Adrien Taunay: stories, discoveries and paths].
Carried out in partnership with the Atlas dos Viajantes [Atlas of Travelers] of the Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin (BBM), this interactive map on the Google Earth platform shows the places visited and mentioned by Hercule Florence in the section Voyage Fluvial du Tiété à l’Amazonie [River Journey from the Tietê to the Amazon] of the document collection L’Ami des Arts Livré à Lui-Même [The Friend of the Arts Left to his Own devices]. Each place marked on the map was verified based on complementary documents, such as other travelers' accounts, maps, cartographic databases, institutional reports, and testimonials from the inhabitants of the regions. After the research, the locations were georeferenced and are available in an interactive form, in conjunction with excerpts of the travel report and images produced by Hercule Florence. Research by João Carlos Cândido Santos and Moema de Bacelar Alves.
The IHF was invited to be part of the Google Arts & Culture platform, alongside some of the most important art institutions in the world, such as the British Museum in London, the Guggenheim in New York, and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The IHF exhibits part of its collection in the platform, besides the exhibitions Cinco Pintores Visitam Hercule Florence [Five Painters Visit Hercule Florence] and O Olhar de Hercule Florence Sobre os Índios Brasileiros [Hercule Florence’s View of Brazilian Indians].
The first publishing initiative of the IHF, it is also the first complete edition of this manuscript, written by Florence between 1837 and 1859 as an illustrated compendium of his life and work. It contains, besides his autobiography, the description of his inventions and the final version of the account on the river journey undertaken by the Langsdorff Expedition (1825-1828). The physical work, presented in a silk-lined box, was printed in two volumes - the facsimile and the transcription - consists of 300 numbered copies, and is available for purchase. Both the transcription and the facsimile are also free for download.
The exhibition, held from May 6 to June 30, 2015 at the Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin (BBM), brought together drawings and watercolors by Hercule Florence, excerpts from the diary in which he recounts his experiences of the river journey, as well as photographs and works by other travelers, ethnographic pieces of the indigenous groups he portrayed and information about the situation of these ethnic groups. In 2016, the exhibition became itinerant, touring cultural centers in the interior of São Paulo – Porto Feliz, Tupã, Campinas and Ribeirão Preto. It also won an edition in the IV Brazilian Forum of Philanthropists and Social Investors (São Paulo). The IHF project, carried out by means of the Cultural Action Program (ProAC), relied on the curatorship, research, and texts of Glória Kok and Francis Melvin Lee.