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Home | Tag Archives: retablos

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El Paso Museum of Art Retablos Collection Now on Exhibit

On Thursday, officials with the El Paso Museum of Art (EPMA) invited members of the public to enjoy the exhibit Joy and Suffering: EPMA’s Collection of Mexican Retablos currently on view through May 5 in the Peter and Margaret de Wetter Gallery.

“The exhibition showcases EPMA’s stellar collection, the second-largest collection of retablos in the United States. What is most compelling about the works is its significance to El Paso, Juarez, and the surrounding regions, particularly in regard to this region as an international point of passage with a multicultural community,” said El Paso Museum of Art Director Dr. Victoria Ramirez.

Curated from the museum’s permanent collection of donations by the Hamilton, McKnight, and Roderick families, visitors will appreciate the new installation of the museum’s retablos collection.

Retablos, or small devotional paintings on tin and copper, will be complimented with the display of ex-votos, works commissioned to commemorate miracles, as well as bultos, or carved wooden sculptures.

Created in the 19th and 20th centuries, retablos were used at major pilgrimage sites in Mexico as well as homes and churches. Rural inhabitants of Mexico looked to untrained artists who utilized readily available materials like tin and copper to create modest but distinctive works.

The exhibit examines 50 retablos including images of the Virgin Mary in her many folk and formal manifestations, from the well-known Virgin de Guadalupe to the lesser-known Our Lady of Solitude.

In addition, on April 6, the museum will host an afternoon of lively art talks and curator-led tours illuminating the exhibit and the related and renowned collection of Spanish Colonial Art. Art Talks by Dr. Jorge Rivas Perez, Denver Art Museum Curator of Spanish Colonial Art, and Dr. Elizabeth Zarur, Assistant Professor of Art History, New Mexico State University, will be followed by tours of museum galleries and a reception.

“When considered together, EPMA’s retablos offer a framework for understanding the joys and sufferings in 19th and 20th century Mexico and demonstrates the continued desire, despite a lack of means, for personal devotion imagery,” says EPMA Assistant Curator Kevin Burns.

Support for this exhibition is provided by the Rogers Family and in part by a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Texas Commission on the Arts, and the El Paso Museum of Art Foundation.

The events are free and open to the public. To register and for more information, visit the El Paso Museum of Art at website.

El Paso Museum of Art celebrates donation of retablos; Now second-largest in U.S.

The retablo is an important art form in Mexican Catholicism and folk art which comes from the human need to connect with the divine.

Visitors to the El Paso Museum of Art will be able to view the most recent additions to its significant retablo collection during the Santos, Cristos y Vírgenes: Highlights from the Hamilton Collection exhibition opening on Friday, December 4, 2015. A public reception and open house will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, 2015, in the C2 Gallery. Nancy Hamilton will be in attendance to meet with guests.

This exhibition honors the significant gift of Nancy Hamilton to the El Paso Museum of Art’s permanent collection late last year. Hamilton’s gift consists of around 500 objects including retablos, bultos, prints, postcards, nichos, altar objects, and frames.

In order to showcase the majority of Ms. Hamilton’s retablo collection, this exhibition has been divided into three categories: Cristos, Vírgenes, and Santos, representing 111 different subjects through 158 retablos. The exhibition showcases the differences and similarities between the portrayals of a span of various devotional subjects.

Many times when the image of a Christ, Virgin, or Saint was brought over from Spain to the New World the images were modified and familiarized to fit Mexican folk culture. The retablos capture the individuality of each retablo artist and the subject they depict. These devotional images demonstrate how different portrayals of the same subject include similar objects and symbolism but they also reveal how the artists took the liberty to paint the subject as their own unique representation.

A special feature of this exhibition is the presence of retablos by known artists: Donaciano Aguilar, Agustin Barajas, and the “dyslexic” painter. Also included is a contemporary work by Mona Puente of Guadalajara.

The addition of retablos and ex-votos from the Hamilton gift make the EPMA the second largest retablo repository in the United States, with a collection of 900 retablos after New Mexico State University’s collection of 1700 retablos.This exhibition celebrates Ms. Hamilton’s professional contributions to the El Paso community as an important retablo collector and historian.

Over the course of 50 years, Ms. Hamilton built her collection through flea market and antique store finds as well as visits to other collectors. From August 1991 through 2002 Ms. Hamilton edited and published the Retablo Newsletter for collectors, museums, and libraries.

The existing EPMA retablo collection has come from a variety of sources, but most importantly thanks to gifts from the following major patrons: Dorrance and Olga Roderick, Frank and Sara McKnight, as well as the McKnight couple’s children, Dr. Steven McKnight, Elizabeth McKnight Manning, and Nancy McKnight Howell.

This retablo exhibition honoring Ms. Hamilton’s gift represents a continuation of this generosity within one of the most important realms of our institution’s collection and collecting mission.

For more information please call (915) 212-0300, or visit ElPasoArtMuseum.org

Author: City of El Paso

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