Exhibition | Journeys to New Worlds: Spanish and Portuguese Art

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on February 28, 2013

Now on at the Philadelphia Museum of Art:

Journeys to New Worlds: Spanish and Portuguese
Colonial Art from the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 16 February — 19 May 2013

Curated by Mark A. Castro and Joseph J. Rishel

Saint John of NepomukGaspar Miguel de Berrío (Bolivian, 1706 - after 1764)1760Oil on canvas40 9/16 x 32 5/16 inches (103 x 82 cm)Promised gift of the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection

Gaspar Miguel de Berrío, Saint John of Nepomuk, 1760, oil on canvas, 40 x 32 inches (103 x 82 cm)

With a rare group of paintings, decorative arts, and sculptures from the collection of Roberta and Richard Huber, Journeys to New Worlds explores the artistic exchanges between Spain and Portugal and their colonies in the Americas and Asia during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This unique combination of rich visual traditions offers viewers a glimpse into the fascinating history and global influence of Iberian colonial art.

The exhibition includes paintings by Melchor Pérez Holguín (c. 1665–after 1724) and Gaspar Miguel de Berrío (1706–after 1764), two prolific artists from the city of Potosí, Bolivia. Berrío’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel with Bishop Saints of 1764 displays the artist’s ability to present European imagery in a new regional style, emphasizing sumptuous textiles and lush colors. Other paintings on view feature objects of popular devotion, among them the anonymously painted Our Lady of Pomata, which depicts a dressed sculpture of the Virgin Mary housed in a sanctuary on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Peru.

Screen shot 2013-02-26 at 3.42.00 PM

Coquera (Coca Box), Bolivia, first half of the eighteenth century; silver, repoussé, chased and burnished, 9  x 11  x 10 inches (23 x 29 x 26 cm) Roberta and Richard Huber Collection

Potosí sits at the foot of the Cerro Rico (Rich Hill), known for its abundant silver mines, which funded the Spanish empire for many years. The mines also fueled a great metalworking tradition that produced decorative objects for church, public, and domestic use. Among the silver works included in this show are an eighteenth-century coquera (a box used for storing coca leaves) and an elaborately decorated altar plaque.

Sophisticated ivory sculptures created in the Iberian colonies in Asia (the Portuguese colonies of Goa, on the western shores of India, and Ceylon, the modern nation of Sri Lanka; as well as the Spanish-controlled Philippines) are another integral part of the Huber collection. These carved works depict Catholic themes, yet the refined, Asiatic features of the figures show the direct influence of native artistic traditions.

Roberta and Richard Huber began collecting in the 1970s, when the study of Iberian colonial art was in its infancy in the United States. They have purchased works over the years based on their own changing interests, enjoying the thrill of discovering new objects as much as the works themselves. Embodying the passionate interests of two individuals, their collection is one of a handful focused on this material in the country. Journeys to New Worlds celebrates their enthusiasm and reflects the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s continuing commitment to promoting the arts of Latin America.

The exhibition is generously supported by The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Exhibitions, the Arlin and Neysa Adams Endowment, Paul K. Kania, and Mr. and Mrs. Reinaldo Herrera. The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Curated by Mark A. Castro, Exhibition Coordinator, and Joseph J. Rishel, The Gisela and Dennis Alter Senior Curator of European Painting before 1900, and Senior Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection and the Rodin Museum.

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From Yale UP:

Edited by Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt, with Mark A. Castro, Journeys to New Worlds: Spanish and Portuguese Colonial Art in the Roberta and Richard Huber Collection (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 204 pages, ISBN: 978-0300191769, $60.

Contributions by Luisa Elena Alcalá, David L. Barquist, Mark A. Castro, Margarita M. Estella Marcos, Enrique Quispe Cueva, Joseph J. Rishel, Jorge F. Rivas P., and Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt

9780300191769This beautifully illustrated catalogue showcases 120 Spanish and Portuguese artworks from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, all highlights from the dazzling collection of Roberta and Richard Huber. Featuring works in a variety of mediums and from far-flung places, including paintings, silver, and furniture from South America and sculptures in ivory from the Spanish Philippines and from Portuguese territories in India. Distinguished experts shed light on these significant objects, many of which have not been previously published and which illustrate the unparalleled artistic exchanges between and within these colonial empires. The Andean painters Melchor Pérez Holguín and Gaspar Miguel de Berrío inventively interpreted European iconographies, while similar adaptations took place in Asia, where native craftsmen, carved Christian images in ivory. These works traveled along the trade routes connecting Europe to Asia and the Americas, thus influencing the development of a new visual culture.

Suzanne L. Stratton-Pruitt is an independent scholar specializing in Spanish and Spanish colonial art. Mark A. Castro is an Exhibition Coordinator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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