Visiting The Hispanic Society of America in Washington Heights

 

 

 

Sorolla Gallery, Hispanic Society of America in New York

As the Museum continues the comprehensive renovation of the Museum’s Main Building, they have started to reopen new and exciting spaces. The Museum recently inaugurated the first ever temporary exhibition space, the East Building Gallery, and have reactivated its outdoor space with exhibitions and public programs on Audubon Terrace.

Close-up in Sorolla Gallery

The East Building Gallery ~ A recently inaugurated 3,000-square-foot gallery space where thematic and collections-based exhibitions will be presented in fresh ways. We are planning exhibitions that will draw from our immensely rich collections that cover some 4,000 years of the art and culture of the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America. Exhibitions dedicated to contemporary Hispanic and Latin American artists, art which pulsates with diverse and creative narratives, will also be a major focus.

Close-up in Sorolla Gallery

Audubon Terrace, Outdoor Exhibition Space ~ This outdoor area allows us to connect directly with our community by creating a place for vibrant and inclusive experiences as well as allowing us to present outdoor exhibitions, Hispanic and Latin American music performances, and workshops for children.

Archer Milton Huntington, founder of the Hispanic Society, commissioned the paintings in 1911 for a new gallery to be built on the west side of the main building. Sorolla already had been the subject of two enormously successful traveling exhibitions in the United States organized by the Hispanic Society in 1909 and 1911. The 1909 exhibition alone attracted some 160,000 visitors to the Hispanic Society in a period of one month.

Nearly 12 feet tall and 200 feet in combined length, the canvases that comprise Vision of Spain were painted by Sorolla at various locations in Spain between 1912 and 1919. Within the gallery the viewer is surrounded by the peoples, costumes, and traditions of various regions of Spain. Both Sorolla and Huntington noted that the series represented a Spain that was already “on the point of disappearing”. Unfortunately, the paintings that Sorolla considered his greatest work were not inaugurated at the Hispanic Society until 1926, three years after the artist’s death.

The Hispanic Society of America founded in 1904. Photo credit, AFineLyne, 2012

All of the canvases were restored in 2006-2007 prior to an exhibition tour in Spain. Sorolla’s Vision of Spain was exhibited in Valencia, Seville, Málaga, Bilbao, Barcelona, and Madrid between November 2007 and February 2010. Never before on public view in Spain, Sorolla’s masterwork created a sensation that attracted over 2,000,000 visitors, making it the most visited exhibition in Spain’s history. The fully renovated Sorolla Vision of Spain Gallery was inaugurated in 2010 upon the return of the paintings.

The Hispanic Society of America was founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955) with a view toward establishing a free, public museum and reference library for the study of the art and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America and the Philippines.

Interior of Hispanic Society of America

The Society houses more than 900 paintings and 6,000 watercolors and drawings. among the works on paper, 15,000 prints afford a unique view into the graphic arts in Spain from the seventeenth to the early twentieth century. More than 175,000 photographs from 1850 through the early twentieth century document the art, culture and customs of Spain and Latin America.

The Library at Hispanic Society of America

The Library offers unrivaled resources for researchers interested in the history and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines, with more than 300,000 books and periodicals, including 15,000 volumes printed before 1701, along with over 250,000 manuscripts, letters, and documents dating from the 11th century to the present.

The Hispanic Society of America on Audubon Terrace

The Hispanic Society often holds free concerts. Check their calendar of events for upcoming dates. While you’re there, walk by the American Academy of Arts and Letters (image below) located at 633 West 155th Street, NYC

American Academy of Arts & Letters

The Hispanic Society of America is located at 613 West 155th Street, Audubon Terrace, NYC.

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Read more about its founder, Archer Milton Huntington.