Drawing of Mexican antiquities (detail, color modified), Maximilian Franck, 1829. Trustees of the British Museum, Am2006, Drg.128

Collecting Mexican Art before 1940: A New World of American Antiquities


Friday, November 15, 2019, from 10 am - 5:30 pm

Museum Lecture Hall

Free | Advance ticket required

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This international symposium is the inaugural event associated with the Getty Research Institute's new Pre-Hispanic Art Provenance Initiative. Responding to the pressing need for preservation of ancient Mesoamerican heritage and its provenance, the initiative comprises the first systematic study of how the corpus of pre-Hispanic art took shape in North America and Europe and came to form centerpiece collections of some of the most important art museums in the world.

Speakers focus on early collections assembled between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. The year 1940—when the Museum of Modern Art hosted the groundbreaking exhibition Twenty Centuries of Mexican Art, featuring works of Mexican ancient, colonial, modern, and folk art—marks the turning point when sales of pre-Hispanic art began to boom on the international art market, in part through the commercial activities of the Stendahl Gallery in Los Angeles. This symposium presents efforts of curators and scholars to study these collections comprehensively and to investigate the broader role of pre-Hispanic art in the history of the art market and in the formation of international collections and institutions.

A public reception follows the event.

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