In Pictures: How American Artists Captured the Allures of Spain and Portugal in Breezy Watercolors a Century Ago

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Here’s a treat for people dreaming of summer sojourns abroad: the Hispanic Society’s new exhibition, “American Travelers,” a delightfully breezy suite of watercolor paintings capturing the sights of Spain, Mexico, and Portugal.

Perhaps the most famous artist in the show is U.S. Impressionist Childe Hassam. In fact, the inspiration of the show was the Hispanic Society’s participation in the 2004 Childe Hassam retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which stressed the importance of Spain to the American artist. A work like Hassam’s captures the woozy romanticism of the view on the Iberian nation from across the Atlantic.

As the catalogue for “American Travelers” explains:

The story of American artists’ engagement with Spain and by extension with Portugal and Latin America is part of a larger history of nineteenth-century fascination on the part of northern Europeans and North Americans with what they perceived, on the one hand, as the exotic otherness of popular Spanish ethnic culture and, on the other, with the notable achievements of old master Spanish painting.

Less famous than Hassam are other watercolorists featured its in the show, though each brings something fresh. Among the highlights are delightful images of the Alhambra by George Wharton Edwards (1859–1950); a colorful port scene from Orville Houghton Peets (1884–1968); and the Edenic garden from Florence Vincent Robinson (1874–1937). To bridge the show into the present, “American Traveler” presents a fresh spin on the tradition by contemporary painter Timothy J. Clark.

Enjoy some views of “American Travelers” below.

American Travelers at the Hispanic Society

“American Travelers: A Watercolor Journey Through Spain, Portugal, and Mexico. Featuring the Contemporary Works of Timothy J. Clark” at the Hispanic Society Museum & Society. Photo courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Society.

Childe Hassam, Outer Gate (Puerta del Sol), Toledo

Childe Hassam, Outer Gate (Puerta del Sol), Toledo (1910). Image courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

Florence Vincent Robinson, Generalife Garden

Florence Vincent Robinson, Generalife Garden, Alhambra (ca. 1920-22). Image courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

Ernest C. Peixotto, Ávila

Ernest C. Peixotto, Ávila (1915). Image courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

George Wharton Edwards, Fountain and Patio of the Lions

George Wharton Edwards, Fountain and Patio of the Lions,
Alhambra, Granada
(ca. 1924). Image courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

Milan Petrovic, Toledo Cathedral Tower Seen from a Cloister

Milan Petrovic, Toledo Cathedral Tower Seen
from a Cloister
(1927). Image courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

Orville Houghton Peet, Winter Evening, Lisbon

Orville Houghton Peet, Winter Evening, Lisbon (ca. 1918-1921). Image courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

Timothy J. Clark, Gryphons, Azores

Timothy J. Clark, Gryphons, Azores (2005). Image courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Library.

American Travelers at the Hispanic Society

“American Travelers: A Watercolor Journey Through Spain, Portugal, and Mexico. Featuring the Contemporary Works of Timothy J. Clark” at the Hispanic Society Museum & Society. Photo courtesy Hispanic Society Museum & Society.

 

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