Center for the History of Collecting Hosts an Event that Celebrates Recent Publications Devoted to Spanish and Latin American Art

cover of the publication The Americans Revealed

On Thursday, March 29, the Frick’s Center for the History of Collecting will host an evening event to celebrate the recent publication of several books on Spanish and Latin American topics. Among them are two books that evolved from symposia organized by the Center: El Greco Comes to America: The Discovery of a Modern Old Master and The Americas Revealed: Collecting Colonial and Modern Latin American Art in the United States. From an exhibition standpoint, it has been a very Spanish-infused year. The museum presented two acclaimed shows on seventeenth-century masters for which catalogues were produced: Zurbarán's Jacob and His Twelve Sons: Paintings from Auckland Castle (on view through April 22) and last fall, Murillo: The Self Portraits (currently on view at London’s National Gallery). The reception, which begins at 6:00 p.m., will offer an opportunity to view the Zurbarán exhibition, and includes remarks by authors, José Luis Colomer, Director of the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, Madrid and Director of the Center for Spain in America; Susan Grace Galassi, Senior Curator, The Frick Collection; Xavier F. Salomon, Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, The Frick Collection; and Edward J. Sullivan, the Helen Gould Sheppard Professor of the History of Art, New York University. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Visit frick.org/programs/library to sign up.

About the Publications

A result of the symposium presented by the Center for the History of Collection in January 2015, El Greco Comes to America: The Discovery of a Modern Old Master celebrates the superlative examples of the artist’s work in American collections. El Greco’s idiosyncratic style emanated a kind of modernism that resonated with collectors in the New World, resulting in American museums owning many of his finest works outside Spain. Eleven scholars address topics that focus on individual collectors including Arabella Huntington, Louisine Havemeyer, Henry Clay Frick, Peter Widener, and Duncan Phillips, while also addressing the impact of exhibitions and the role of artist-advisers such as Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent, and Roger Fry. Basing their observations on a wealth of archival material, much of it never previously published, the authors of this volume bring to light how strenuously American collectors competed for works by El Greco and how prominently they displayed the artist’s paintings in their homes, often thoughtfully positioned near works by more modern masters such as Degas or Manet. In doing so, and in promoting the acquisition of El Greco’s paintings by public institutions, these collectors enhanced the international reputation of the artist, ensuring an appreciation of his unique style into the twenty-first century.

Edited by Inge Reist, Director for the Center for the History of Collection, and José Luis Colomer, the book was published in 2017 by The Frick Collection in association with the CEEH and the CSA. Essays are written by Ronni Baer, William and Ann Elfers Senior Curator of European Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Jonathan Brown, Carroll and Milton Petrie Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; Marcus B. Burke, Senior Curator, The Hispanic Society Museum and Library; José Luis Colomer; Susan Grace Galassi, Richard L. Kagan, Academy Professor and Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor Emeritus of History John Hopkins; Rebecca J. Long, Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Associate Curator European Painting and Sculpture before 1750, Art Institute of Chicago; Ellen Prokop, Associate Head of Research, Frick Art Reference Library; Amaya Alzaga Ruiz, Professor, History of Art, The National University of Distance Education, Madrid; and Xavier F. Salomon.

The Americas Revealed: Collecting Colonial and Modern Latin American Art in the United States, explores the formation of public and private collections in the United States, of art from Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Americas. The authors trace the major milestones and emerging approaches to collecting and presenting Spanish Colonial and modern Latin American art by museums, galleries, private collectors, and corporations from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century. In chronicling the roles played by determined collectors from New York to San Francisco, the essays examine a range of subjects from MoMA’s mid-twentieth-century acquisition strategies to the growing taste on the West Coast for the work of Diego Rivera. They consider the impact of various political shifts on art collecting, from reactions against the “American exceptionalism” of the Monroe Doctrine to the aesthetic biases of government-sponsored art academies in Mexico, Rio de Janeiro, and Havana. The final three chapters focus on living collectors including Roberta and Richard Huber, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, and Estrellita B. Brodsky, giving a rare glimpse into the practice of collecting from the collectors’ points of view.

The book derives from the scholarship produced for the May 2014 symposium. It will be published in June 2018, but will be available for purchase at the March 29 event. Edited by Edward J. Sullivan, the forward was written by Inge Reist, with contributions by Miriam Margarita Basilio, Associate Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, New York University; Estrellita B. Brodsky, New York-based curator, collector, and philanthropist; Vanessa K. Davidson, Shawn and Joe Lampe Curator of Latin American Art, Phoenix Art Museum; Anna Indych-López, Professor of 20th-Century Latin American Art, City College of New York; Ronda Kasl, Curator of Latin American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, Director and Chief Curator, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros; Berit Potter, independent scholar; Mari Carmen Ramírez, Curator of Latin American Art, founding Director of the International Center for the Arts of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Joseph Rishel, Curator Emeritus, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Delia Solomons, Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art, Latin American Art, Drexel University; and Suzanne Stratton-Pruitt, independent scholar and curator.

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