New Britain, CT
Vistas del Sur features more than 150 rarely seen paintings, photographs, works on paper, and books dating from 1638 to 1887, that trace the evolution of Latin American landscapes by artists from Europe and the Americas. This presentation represents the NBMAA’s first collaboration with the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, and is a variation of the acclaimed exhibition, Boundless Reality, which premiered in New York City at the Americas Society Art Gallery and the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Gallery at Hunter College in 2015. Spanning the Museum’s Stitzer Family Gallery, Robert and Dorothy Vance Gallery, and Richard and Virginia McKernan Gallery, the exhibition will occupy the largest footprint of an NBMAA exhibition to date, and will be the first bilingual presentation at the Museum, offering text in English and Spanish.
Derived from the collection Traveler Artists to Latin America, which Gustavo Cisneros and Patricia Phelps de Cisneros began in 1997, Vistas del Sur features artists such as Frederic Edwin Church, Martin Johnson Heade, Frans Post, Auguste Morisot, Camille Pissarro, José María Velasco, and Marc Ferrez, among others, whose depictions of the New World range from romanticized scenes based on Western conventions; to directly observed illustrations of travel and expeditions; and scientific records of botanical, zoological, and ethnographic phenomena. The works attest to the ways in which traveler artists experienced Latin America, and the challenges they faced in reconciling preconceived ideals with the aesthetic realities they encountered.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Traveler Artists: Landscapes of Latin America from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, contributes new scholarship to this burgeoning field and offers original research on 52 artworks by such key figures as Frans Post, Frederick Edwin Church, José María Velasco and Auguste Morisot, many of which are reproduced here for the first time. In the 19th century, European and North American travelers illustrated narratives of their explorations in the New World that were published in Europe. Europeans imagined the tropics as a site for cultural imperialism and fantasies of self-realization. Traveler artists often authenticated this perception by presenting the landscape as an enchanted land. Later in the century, native artists began to pick up the European landscape tradition and reflect on their own culture through a different lens.