Almost the entire western half of the United States used to be a Spanish colony, although it was not as well developed as Spanish colonies in Central and South America. This geography gives Denver a unique advantage for art collection: while the city itself was not founded by Spanish colonizers,...
Almost the entire western half of the United States used to be a Spanish colony, although it was not as well developed as Spanish colonies in Central and South America. This geography gives Denver a unique advantage for art collection: while the city itself was not founded by Spanish colonizers, it nevertheless is about dead center of the former colony. As such, it has brought in a great deal of unique art, which is the subject of Donna Pierce's book.
The Companion contextualizes many of the famous pieces in this collection. It helps viewers to better understand the artist's life, works, time period, and location. For those who are unfamiliar with many aspects of Spanish colonial art, or even art history in the first place, the Companion discusses styles, transitions, themes, and use of light or color.
The book is set up to approach artistic movements rather than time periods. Over one hundred different pieces are referenced, some from the Spanish colonization of the southwestern US and some from other parts of the (much larger) Spanish Empire.
If you're like me, when you hear "Spanish Colonial art," the first city you think of is not Denver.
Shows what we know: the Denver Art Museum is home to one of the biggest and most comprehensive Spanish Colonial art collections in the world.
Donna Pierce's book Companion to Spanish Colonial Art at the Denver Art Museum is a guide to the museum's collection, which began in 1936 and now contains over three thousand objects from all across South America, Central America, and the American Southwest.
As the collection's curator, Pierce knows her stuff. Rather than presenting a chronological timeline of the collection's highlights and dropping a string of dates, she organizes her book by theme. The dawn of global trade and its influence on art figures prominently into the collection, for example. Pierce uses this thematic structure to provide context for the sculptures, silver, furniture, ceramics, jewelry, paintings, and other objects of art that make up the museum's collection.
Donna Pierce’s book Companion to Spanish Colonial Art at the Denver Art Museum focuses on the museum’s collection of Spanish art. This collection began in 1936. It now contains over 3,000 objects and is regarded as the finest collection of Spanish art in the United States. The Spanish Colonial galleries at this museum contain paintings, furniture, silver, and decorative art.
This book is the first book to focus solely on this museum’s Spanish Colonial collection. This book is organized by theme, and it has pictures of over one hundred items from Spanish America and the southwestern part of the United States. Various subjects are covered in this book including native traditions, church art, everyday-life art, and the styles of the region.
Donna Pierce’s book Companion to Spanish Colonial Art at the Denver Art Museum is a guide to the museum’s extensive collection of Spanish colonial art, spanning works from Spanish America and the southwestern United States. Pierce was the former curator of this art collection. The museum initiated the collection in 1936, and it has since grown to include more than 3,000 pieces, arguably the most comprehensive collection of artworks of this era and region.
Pierce’s book features photographs of more than 100 objects, including paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver, and other decorative arts. Rather than being arranged chronologically, the volume organizes artworks thematically. Pierce illustrates the continuity of native traditions, despite Spanish colonial dominance. She features church and mission art, showing the religious influence of Spain along with native features. The book also discusses hybrid art forms, regional artistic styles, and art that emerged from aspects of everyday life.
Companion to Spanish Colonial Art also discusses cultural interaction beyond just Spanish colonists and Native American people. For example, the book discusses the use of folding screens used as room dividers, which is a decorative style borrowed from Asian culture. The screen featured in the book (Garden Party on the Terrace of a Country Home) is the only screen of its kind in an American museum.