Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NYC Art - Hispanic

I would not have known about the Hispanic Society of America had it not been for my friend Liz Wiltzen who visited it earlier this year. And bonus, folks, the museum is free. Joaquin Sorolla's paintings were the draw. His absolutely outstanding 14 canvases of Vision of Spain range from 12 to 14 feet in height and total 227 feet in length.

The Sorolla Room and part of the magnificent, panoramic canvases "Vision of Spain"

The society was founded in 1904 by scholar and philanthropist Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955) who from a very young age was fascinated with Spanish culture. Doors of the museum at the Beaux-Arts building in Harlem opened in 1908.

I was blown away by the Sorolla's, pleased to see famous works by the Spanish greats; El Greco, Goya and Velazquez and impressed with their other extensive collections which include Modern, Golden Age and Medieval art, plus excavated artifacts from as early as the second millennium B.C.

Detail of one of Sorolla's canvases; could this artist ever paint! Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923)

In 1911, when Huntington commissioned Sorolla's monumental work he envisioned it would depict a history of Spain, but the painter preferred the less specific "Vision of Spain" opting to feature the culture of the regions of the Iberian Peninsula. Despite the immensity of the canvases, all but one was painted en plein air. At each site models posed in local costume. By 1917 Sorolla was, by his own admission, exhausted. He completed the final panel by the middle of 1919 and suffered a stroke in 1920, while painting a portrait in his garden in Madrid. Paralyzed for over three years, he died on August 10th, 1923.

Main Court of the Museum

Although I neglected to note the artist, or the period, I was awestruck by this relief, painted carving ...

Just look at the incredible workmanship in this detail photo ...  

The Wedding at Casa, by Nicholas Correa, Mexico 

My current passion for mixed media had me marvelling over the piece above, a 1693 oil on panel encrusted with mother-of-pearl.


  1. What fabulous work, and how wonderful to be able to spend some time there! That mother-of-pearl work is truly marvellous! Win

    1. Thanks, it was wonderful ... I sure thought of you when I gazed at the mother-of-pearl!