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Indepth Arts News:

1999-09-17 until 1999-12-24
Americas Society Art Gallery
New York, NY, USA United States of America

The Americas Society Art Gallery is pleased to announce its Fall 1999 exhibition Talavera Poblana: Four Centuries of a Mexican Ceramic Tradition. Sixty-three examples of historic Talavera earthenware dating from as early as the seventeenth century will be presented with twenty-three contemporary works. The Americas Society Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. free of charge.

The exhibition will assemble masterpieces from one of the most important ceramic traditions of the Western Hemisphere, many on view for the first time in decades. The exhibition explores the development of the magnificent tin-glazed earthenware known throughout the Spanish-speaking world as Talavera Poblana, from the time of its introduction to the New World in Puebla, Mexico, to the present day. These distinctive ceramics synthesize forms and motifs of Spanish, Islamic, Chinese, and Italian origins to create a new, uniquely Mexican style. The contemporary works included in the exhibition were likewise created in Puebla, which remains a center of artistic creation. Objects on view will include ceramic basins, vases, bowls, drug jars, tiles and tile panels, and sculptures of various shapes and sizes. The early production of Talavera Poblana was primarily influenced by Old World traditions brought over by immigrant ceramists from various parts of Spain. In 1565, when trade opened with Asia via the Philippines and Mexico, Spain began importing Chinese porcelain in large quantities, and by the mid-seventeenth century, Puebla ceramists had succumbed to the fashion for Chinese blue-on-white porcelain. Despite the prevailing influence of Chinese porcelain throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Talavera Poblana maintained a unique style of its own, combining motifs and surface decorations from various cultural traditions. At the height of the Spanish Empire, Talavera Poblana enjoyed the widest distribution of any ceramic ware in the New World. Around the time of Mexican independence, however, the once highly formalized Talavera Poblana ceramic tradition experienced a collapse. It was not until the early twentieth century that this tradition experienced a revival and a climate was created for its resurgence. The exhibition concludes with a selection of contemporary works that display what has been called the future of Talavera. This part of the exhibition includes works by several Latin American artists commissioned by Jaime Contreras, a curator at the Museo Amparo in Puebla. Working with potters at the Puebla workshop of Talavera de la Reyna, these artists recapture the dynamism of the Talavera Poblana tradition. By bringing together important examples of colonial, modern, and contemporary ceramics from Puebla, the exhibition celebrates the continuity of a ceramic tradition that both looks back to its cultural history and reveals a renewed contemporary vision. CURATOR: The curator of Talavera Poblana: Four Centuries of a Mexican Ceramic Tradition is Margaret Connors McQuade, Assistant Curator of Ceramics and Furniture at The Hispanic Society of America in New York. EXHIBITION CATALOGUE: A catalogue illustrating a selection of works in the exhibition in both color and black-and-white will accompany the exhibition. The volume will include two essays and a bibliography. One essay, by exhibition curator Margaret Connors McQuade, will present a historic overview of the development of Talavera Poblana and incorporate the most recent scholarship on this topic. The other, by Jaime Contreras Castro, will discuss the contemporary section of the exhibition and explain how a group of well-known contemporary artists collaborated with traditional potters at the Puebla workshop of Talavera de la Reyna. WEDNESDAY EVENING PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES: To complement the exhibition, the Americas Society has organized a lecture series with The Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts. On October 6, exhibition curator Margaret Connors McQuade will present Painting with Clay: The Talavera Tiles of Puebla-a look at the history of tiles in Puebla from its roots in Muslim Spain and the distinctive Puebla style that now decorates public exterior walls and intimate interior settings. On October 27, Robin Farwell Gavin, Curator of Spanish Colonial Collections at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico, will trace styles of tin-glazed earthenware from different areas of Spain, and follow the spread of these influences to the New World, and examine the work of contemporary potters in her lecture, The Spanish Roots of Talavera Poblana. On December 1, a second lecture by exhibition curator Ms. Connors McQuade entitled The Renaissance of Talavera Poblana in the Early Twentieth Century, will discuss the reemergence of Talavera Poblana in the first quarter of the twentieth century due to the interest of prominent members of the art world such as Archer Milton Huntington, founder of The Hispanic Society of America. The December 1999 issue of The Magazine Antiques including an article by Ms. Connors McQuade on Talavera Poblana, will be provided courtesy of Brant Publications. Lectures begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Salón Simón Bolívar of the Americas Society. To register for these free lectures, please call (212) 249-8950, ext. 357. EDUCATION: The Americas Society will collaborate with its Park Avenue neighbor-The Spanish Institute-and offer free-of-charge to public school groups bilingual (Spanish and/or English) lectures, tours, and workshops. These programs are also available to adults. Please contact Rosario Tsilimparis, the Education and Outreach Coordinator of The Spanish Institute at (212) 628-0420 for more information or to schedule a visit.

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