Ponce Art Museum receives important donations of artwork

Here is a translation of “Museo de Arte de Ponce recibe importantes donaciones de obras” (El Nuevo Día). It features new additions to the prized collections of the Ponce Museum of Art, in ponce, Puerto Rico.

With the latent pandemic in the background, the Museo de Arte de Ponce [Ponce Art Museum] saw the closure of its galleries due to the January 7 earthquake. However, the institution maintained its operations and has continued its efforts to support the community through art.

Month by month, digital programming has offered the public a variety of activities that have allowed them to enjoy and participate from home, but the museum staff has also continued their work behind the scenes with the mission of promoting the care and knowledge of the collections.

As 2020 draws to a close, the renowned institution announced the arrival of two generous donations, which come to complement and enlarge its collections of European and Latin American art. “A group of 30 objects from the personal collection of the Puerto Rican writer Rosario Ferré Ramírez de Arellano (1938 – 2016), daughter of the museum’s founder, was accepted as a donation at the beginning of the year. Doña Rosario was closely linked to the island’s artistic world and maintained a close relationship with the museum, donating a total of 58 works to the institution during her lifetime; now, her contribution continues posthumously,” informed Helena Gómez de Córdoba, curator of the museum.

The donation contains works produced by artists from various Latin American and Caribbean countries, such as Mexico, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, as well as several works by European authors, which together contribute to the growth of various areas in the collection, including contemporary Latin American and European art. The rich history of engraving in Puerto Rico is represented in the serigraphs of renowned Puerto Rican artists such as Lorenzo Homar (1913-2004), Myrna Báez (1931- 2018), Consuelo Gotay (1949-) and Antonio Martorell (1939-).

The painting “La mesa de mi madre” (2003) will complement Báez’s work in the collection, while the figurative work of Brazilian muralist Reynaldo Fonseca (1925-) and that of the multifaceted Mexican artist, writer, and anthropologist Miguel Covarrubias (1904 – 1957) will expand the representation of schools and styles within the Latin American art collection. Additionally, a group of carvings of saints are added to the almost 100 objects of popular imagery that are already part of the permanent collection. “The variety of media, themes and styles represented in this donation is testimony to the encyclopedic and inclusive interest of Doña Rosario as a collector,” highlighted Gómez de Córdoba.

“The second donation this year came from a private collector in the United Kingdom. It is the ‘Portrait of Mrs. Hawkins with her children’ (ca. 1778), a work by British painter George Romney (1734 – 1802), one of the most successful portraitists of his time and whose popularity among the aristocracy rivaled that of Joshua Reynolds (1723 – 1792), author of the ‘Portrait of Colonel Vernon,’ which is also in the collection. With his work, Romney made a substantial contribution to the art of portraiture in 18th-century England and, thanks to this new donation, the Ponce Art Museum now includes two of his portraits,” the curator explained.

Acquired by the Museum in 1965, the “Portrait of Brudenell, Earl of Cardigan” (1781) is distinguished by its simplicity and austerity. James Brudenell (1715-1811), portrayed at an angle against a dark background, held several important positions at court and also served as the representative of the Conservative party in the chamber. In a gray velvet coat with a ruffled collar and lace, Brudenell appears cool and dignified, very much in tune with his official position. Contrasting in size, format and color palette with Brudenell’s image, this recent acquisition shows Ms. Hawkins and her children in a relaxed family portrait. Mrs. Hawkins was the wife of Charles Hawkins (1749-1817), the general medical practitioner to King George III. Here, Romney shows her sitting in front of an outdoor balcony, accompanied by her two children, [featuring] Caesar, who in a gesture of brotherly love offers berries to his little sister, Louise Anne. Begun in 1776, just a few years before Brudenell’s portrait, the “Portrait of Mrs. Hawkins with her Children” is possibly one of the first group family paintings that Romney did after returning from Italy. However, Mrs. Hawkins’ numerous visits to the artist’s studio, with additional appointments for the two children, show the lengthy period of time it took to produce the painting; finally, Romney received payment for the commission in 1781.

Translated by Ivette Romero. For original article (in Spanish), see https://www.elnuevodia.com/entretenimiento/cultura/notas/museo-de-arte-de-ponce-recibe-importantes-donaciones-de-obras/

[Shown above: First, Myrna Báez’s “La mesa de mi madre” (2003); second, George Romney’s “Portrait of Mrs. Hawkins with her children” (ca. 1778).]

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