Exhibition | Nuestra Casa

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on February 22, 2022

Installation view of Nuestra Casa: Rediscovering the Treasures of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library (2022). Shown is Francisco de Goya’s The Duchess of Alba, 1796–97.

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From the press release for the exhibition (with dates listed for variations of the exhibition in other locations). . .

Nuestra Casa: Rediscovering the Treasures of The Hispanic Society Museum & Library
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 4 April — 10 September 2017
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, 25 June — 25 September 2018
Albuquerque Museum, 10 November 2018 — 31 March 2019
Cincinnati Art Museum, 25 October 2019 — 19 January 2020
Museum of Fine Arts Houston, 1 March 2020 — 3 January 2021
The Hispanic Society Museum & Library, New York, 17 February — 17 April 2022
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 8 June — 10 October 2022
Royal Academy of Arts, London, 21 January — 10 April 2023

Curated by Madeleine Haddon

The Hispanic Society Museum & Library (HSM&L) is pleased to present Nuestra Casa: Rediscovering the Treasures of The Hispanic Society Museum & Library, revealing hidden gems from the expansive, permanent collection of the museum that includes more than 750,000 objects. Curated by Dr. Madeleine Haddon, the exhibition is on view from 17 February until 17 April 2022. The objects featured in Nuestra Casa help to illuminate the wide array of arts, literature, and history of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America from antiquity to modern day. During the museum’s recent renovation, a selection of these works toured the world, from the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid and the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City to the Albuquerque Museum, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and most recently the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Now, with the opening of the HSM&L’s newly renovated exhibition space in the East Building Gallery, these objects will come home for the first time in five years before many of them continue on to the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Academy of Art in London.

The return of these objects to the HSM&L has prompted a re-examination of the works within the collection that have been historically defined as its masterpieces. The exhibition comes during a moment in which it is necessary for our traditional art historical and aesthetic hierarchies to be reassessed in order to make way for a new art history that fully incorporates the diverse populations to whom our public institutions belong. Nuestra Casa: Rediscovering the Treasures of The Hispanic Society Museum & Library shows that the HSML’s collection extends much beyond the artwork of El Greco, Goya, and Sorolla, for which it has historically been known, to masterpieces within a range of mediums by relatively unknown Latin American artists, at times still unidentified, who have previously received little recognition.

To evaluate and present these works through a new lens, the HSM&L brought on a guest curator for this exhibition, Dr. Madeleine Haddon has also written essays for the forthcoming exhibition catalogues Murillo: From Heaven to Earth (2022) at the Kimbell Art Museum and Travel, Respond, Assemble: Isabella Stewart Gardner (2023) at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Prior to MoMA, she was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dr. Haddon completed her PhD at Princeton University where her dissertation, “Local Color: Race, Gender, and Spanishness in European Painting, 1855–1927,” focused on the preoccupation with the intersection between race and color in 19th- and early 20th-century Spanish and French painting. Dr. Haddon received a Fulbright Award in support of her dissertation research in Madrid at the Museo del Prado and Museo Reina Sofia.

Nuestra Casa only scratches the surface in terms the breadth of treasures that visitors will be able to come to the HSM&L to see once the museum fully reopens it doors, says Dr. Haddon. “Visitors will leave with an understanding of the HSM&L as the most significant collection in the United States in which to encounter and learn about the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking world.”

The works featured in Nuestra Casa—many of which have previously not been featured regularly at the Museum—range in origin from Spain and Mexico to Puerto Rico, Peru, and beyond, all in chronology from the 10th to 20th centuries. These works include the 19th-century watercolors of Pancho Fierro and Miguel Viladrich Vilá’s The Man from Montevideo (1923–25), which represent people of color and the racial diversity of colonial Latin America. Additionally, the exhibition will showcase works that have always been considered among HSM&L’s masterpieces, such as Francisco de Goya’s Duchess of Alba (1797) and Diego Velázquez’s Portrait of a Little Girl (c. 1638–42).

Nuestra Casa shows that the HSM&L is itself as a treasure to be discovered within New York City’s vibrant Washington Heights neighborhood. The exhibition will leave visitors with a better understanding of the museum and its unparalleled collection that addresses nearly every aspect of cultures in Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines, while also providing a rare opportunity to encounter and learn about the rich, diverse cultural heritage of the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world through art and object.

Gloria de España: Tesoros del museo y la biblioteca de la Hispanic Society

Tesoros de la Hispanic Society of America (Madrid: Museo Nacional del Prado, 2017), 448 pages, ISBN: 978 -8484804079, 35€.

Mitchell Codding, Treasures From the Hispanic Society Museum & Library (Madrid: Ediciones El Viso, 2019), 376 pages, ISBN: 978-0875351643, £50 / $65.

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