La Esfera

Madrid, 1914 – 1931

Elegant, reformist, and an excellent piece of collection, this weekly deeply marked the panorama of the Spanish magazines of the first third of the 20th Century with its 889 editions published, in addition to the special issues on particular events or monographs dedicated to different cities of Spain. The 3rd of January 1914 it was launched, luxuriously edited in couché paper, thus commencing a long journey until its extinction, due to the international crisis, the 17th of January 1931.

Published by the Prensa Gráfica S.A., although it didn't form part of the group that was made up of Nuevo Mundo and Mundo Gráfico until some months later, it included the cartoonist Francisco Verdugo Landi as the manager of the editorial department, printing audacity into the design, and the photographer José Demaría López (Campúa) (1874-1936) as the responsible of the graphic part.

The front page of La Esfera was unmistakable: simple headline and classic style, and always a pictorial image in full-page all through its existence. Each edition had 40 pages and the first already published 40 photos, 4 drawings and one portrait made with pencil in the graphic section. With regards to the articles, collaborations from prestigious journalists and men of letters were encouraged. The impact of the images was extraordinary and during the first trimester they had to reprint all the editions due to the enormous success amongst the readers. Photographers and artists had found the perfect space to publish their works. It was obvious that technical quality was superior with regards to the other magazines in the market due to the details with which the images were reproduced. As a result of its larger size, the central pages came with separate illustrations that were included as supplement with the aim that the readers would collect them.

Despite of being rather higher priced, 50 cents, in comparison to the price of 20 cents of the other magazines, it consolidated quickly; from 1920 onwards it was commercialised in Mexico, as well it extended its presence in the Spanish State, strengthening its already existing network of distributors. In 1926 the headline was redesigned, for the first time the pages of the editions were numbered, the pages increased till 56 and the price was raised to 1 peseta. Despite of its undeniable quality this increase in price lead to a decrease in the sales.

[Source: Vigil, Juan Miguel (1995): La documentación fotográfica en España. Revista La Esfera (1914-1920) /doctoral thesis]