The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collections contain an extraordinary set of pieces which may be less known than the other works in them, yet they tell an essential part of the story of visuality in the Americas: the fascination and curiosity that European and US visitors felt when faced with the exuberance of Latin American landscapes.
Moreover, until the 'national schools' were launched in Latin America in the late 19th century, it could be claimed that these travelling artists were the ones who reported on that American image which would spark imaginations, from the expeditions in which the Baroque painter Frans Post participated, two of whose precious landscapes are part of the Cisneros collection, to the voyages of Alexander von Humboldt.
The beautiful set of works which will be displayedincluding around 150 paintings, drawings, prints, maps, books and photographsthus reflects the curiosity and even perplexity which the volcanoes, jungles, vegetation and different customs aroused in European eyes trained in the rigour of academicist painting, who aspired to construct a world in order, precisely the opposite of that powerful, unexpected nature. Despite everything, the artists transferred the major aesthetic categories established in the 18th century to their depictions of these 'exotic' scenes and landscapes seen for the first time.
Curator: Estrella de Diego, Art History professor at the UCM and San Fernando Fine Arts Academy scholar
In the image:
Auguste Morisot (1857‐1951), France
Caribe ou Pirania dorée, May 2, 1886
Watercolor and graphite on paper. 23 x 30 cm
Patricia Phelps de Cisneros collection