Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Receives Gift of Colonial Latin American Art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Supporting Continued Effort to Expand Definition of Art of the Americas

BOSTON (June 16, 2017)—The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has received a gift of nine works of colonial Venezuelan and Brazilian art from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC), a leading collection of Latin American art. These include the MFA’s first Venezuelan oil painting and first work of colonial Brazilian silver, as well as seven Venezuelan decorative arts objects from the 17th to the 19th centuries. The MFA is among five institutions to receive gifts from the CPPC’s collection of colonial art, along with the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; Denver Art Museum, Colorado; The Hispanic Society of America, New York; and the Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), Peru. At the MFA, the donation supports a continued effort to offer a more diverse and inclusive definition of the art of the Americas that encompasses works from North, Central and South America.

“This remarkable gift both enhances the MFA’s growing collection of Latin American art, and provides a significant opportunity for the Museum to showcase important examples of Spanish colonial art and place them in a productive dialogue with works from the Americas in our galleries,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director. “It serves as a fitting tribute to the collectors Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Gustavo Cisneros for their longstanding leadership as philanthropists and their efforts to preserve, study and celebrate the extraordinary artistic legacy of their native Venezuela.”

The gift includes Nuestra Señora de Guía (Our Lady of Guidance) (about 1762) by Juan Pedro López, an important Venezuelan religious painting in its original gilt frame, and an 18th-century silver naveta, or incense boat, from Brazil. Additionally, a carved-and-gilt ceiling ornament (late 18th century) attributed to Venezuelan carver Francisco José Cardozo, and an inlaid corner shelf (about 1800) by Serafín Antonio Almeida will build upon the Museum’s collection of neoclassical American furniture.

Five of the Venezuelan decorative arts objects included in the gift have been on loan to the MFA since the opening of the Art of the Americas Wing in 2010. An elaborately carved armchair (about 1740) attributed to Antonio Mateo de los Reyes; a mahogany bookcase (about 1770–80) attributed to the Canary Islands-trained carver Domingo Gutiérrez; a frailero, or leather-upholstered armchair (17th century); a rococo side chair (1750–1800); and a silver two-handled drinking cup (tachuela) (about 1800–14) are currently on view in the William J. Fitzgerald Spanish Colonial Gallery.

“The CPPC has placed a number of colonial works on long-term loan to the MFA since the opening of the new Art of the Americas Wing in 2010, and we have been delighted with the stimulating dialogue the museum has created with art and artifacts from across the Americas,” said Patricia Phelps de Cisneros. “The MFA has taken the lead in expanding our understanding of the complex artistic dialogue between North and South America, and we are delighted to support this mission with our gift.”

Since its founding in 1870, the MFA has collected the art of North, Central and South America from all time periods. Its diverse holdings rank among the most significant in the nation and feature masterpieces ranging from gold of the Ancient Americas, Maya ceramics and Native American (prehistoric to contemporary) objects, to one of the finest collections of art of the United States from colonial through modern times. More than 5,000 objects from the Museum’s collection of works from the Americas are on view in the 53 galleries of the Art of the Americas Wing, designed by Foster + Partners.

“We made an ambitious statement with the opening of the Art of the Americas Wing in 2010, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome these important gifts from the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros that help fulfill our mandate to reflect the greatest breadth of artistic expression in the Americas,” said Elliot Bostwick Davis, John Moors Cabot Chair, Art of the Americas.

About the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros

Founded in the 1970s by Patricia Phelps de Cisneros and Gustavo A. Cisneros, the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC) is one of the core cultural and educational initiatives of the Fundación Cisneros. Based in New York City and Caracas, Venezuela, the CPPC’s mission is to enhance appreciation of the diversity, sophistication and range of art from Latin America; advance scholarship of Latin American art; and promote excellence in visual-arts education. The CPPC achieves these goals through the preservation, presentation and study of the material culture of the Ibero-American world—ranging from the ethnographic to the contemporary. The CPPC´s activities include exhibitions, public programs, publications, grants for scholarly research and artistic production, and a website that was created to offer a platform for debate concerning the immense contributions of Latin America to the world of art and culture.

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), is recognized for the quality and scope of its collection, representing all cultures and time periods. The Museum has more than 140 galleries displaying its encyclopedic collection, which includes Art of the Americas; Art of Europe; Contemporary Art; Art of Asia; Art of Africa and Oceania; Art of the Ancient World; Prints and Drawings; Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments. Open seven days a week, the MFA’s hours are Saturday through Tuesday, 10 am–5 pm; and Wednesday through Friday, 10 am–10 pm. Admission (which includes one repeat visit within 10 days) is $25 for adults and $23 for seniors and students age 18 and older, and includes entry to all galleries and special exhibitions. Admission is free for University Members and youths age 17 and younger. Wednesday nights after 4 pm admission is by voluntary contribution (suggested donation $25), while five Open Houses offer the opportunity to visit the Museum for free. The Museum’s mobile MFA Guide is available at ticket desks and the Sharf Visitor Center for $5, members; $6, non-members; and $4, youths. The Museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Patriots’ Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The MFA is located on the Avenue of the Arts at 465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. For more information, call 617.267.9300, visit mfa.org or follow the MFA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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