Puerto Rican/European: Francisco Oller’s Hybrid Paintings at the Brooklyn Museum

OllerAste

In her blog, CultureGrrl, Lee Rosenbaum offers a brief review of Francisco Oller’s exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum—“Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and His Transatlantic World.” Here are just a few excerpts below; see full review here.

Like the works of Archibald Motley, now featured at the Whitney Museum, the art of Puerto Rican painter Francisco Oller, subject of a concurrent retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum (to Jan. 3), inhabits two separate worlds. More than Motley, Oller often conflated those worlds on the same canvas.

Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and His Transatlantic World is one manifestation of the Brooklyn Museum’s attempt to have “more interchange with the Latino community, to increasingly diversify our audience”—an objective of former director Arnold Lehman, as described to me in a far-ranging 2010 interview.

Part of that initiative, he said then, was hiring Richard Aste, formerly associate curator of European art at Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico. Aste co-curated the Oller show with NYU art history professer Edward Sullivan, who authored the catalogue. [. . .]

Oller spent much more time in Europe (both Paris and Madrid) than Archibald Motley, and many of his works closely imitate the style and plein air execution of his French contemporaries, some of whom, especially Pissarro, became his friends. [. . .]

[. . .] European influences were so important to Oller’s oeuvre that Aste chose to liberally sprinkle the show with works by related artists (including Millet, Daubigny, Corot, Caillebotte, Monet), drawn from the Brooklyn Museum’s own collection. Additional context is provided by a smattering of works by Oller’s Latino contemporaries.

European influences were so important to Oller’s oeuvre that Aste chose to liberally sprinkle the show with works by related artists (including Millet, Daubigny, Corot, Caillebotte, Monet), drawn from the Brooklyn Museum’s own collection. Additional context is provided by a smattering of works by Oller’s Latino contemporaries.

An artistic chameleon and something of an opportunist, he adjusted his work to satisfy prevailing tastes and political exigencies. As Aste told me, Oller had to adapt to survive financially: His art was his livelihood. When in France, he “aligned himself with the Impressionist aesthetic, capturing the sunlight filtering through the trees” and using the “short dots and dabs, brilliant light effects and vibrant juxtapositions of high-keyed colors” [. . .].

[Many thanks to Marta Mabel Pérez for sharing this link.]

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