Context Matters: The Materiality of Objects in the Museum
What are the many meanings of an artwork or artifact when it is displayed in an institutional setting? Is it so important to see the “real” thing? Much has been written about the role of objects as tools for teaching, or about the museum as a kind of classroom, but what about the ontology of the object in the structured particularity of a museum context? This question has become increasingly important as the nature of what constitutes a “real” thing is constantly changing. Recent developments in technology, advances in AI, and even social movements have raised questions about how objects should be displayed and contextualized, or even what constitutes a museum.
In-person in the Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium
Free, but does not include museum admission; advance registration is required for each day’s session, see ticket links below.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5, 6:00–8:00 P.M.
Two keynote speakers will examine the rapidly changing landscape of virtual visual realities.
Day One Tickets

Gregory Warden, Mark A. Roglán Director, Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture, and Emeritus Professor of Art History, SMU

The Distributed Museum: How Objects Matter
Anne Balsamo, arts and humanities distinguished university chair, University of Texas at Dallas

The Invisible Museum: Performing Objects in Between AI and Human Brains
Maurizio Forte, William and Sue Gross Distinguished Professor of Classical Studies and of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, Duke University

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6, 10:00 A.M.–1:00 P.M.
Local experts continue the symposium, which will culminate in an open forum to provide an opportunity for lively discussion.
Day Two Tickets

Gregory Warden, Mark A. Roglán Director, Custard Institute for Spanish Art and Culture, and Emeritus Professor of Art History, SMU

The Long Road to the Transfiguration of the Museum of Art
Michael Corris, art critic and and emeritus professor of art, SMU

Virtue Ethics or Vulture Ethics? Reflections on Our Confessional Distance from Culpability in the Arts
Anthony Elia, J.S. Bridwell Foundation Endowed Librarian and director, Bridwell Library, SMU

Response and Discussion from a Panel of Experts
Amanda W. Dotseth, Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, SMU
Adam Jasienski, associate professor of art history, SMU, and member of the Custard Institute Advisory Board
Michelle Rich, Ellen and Harry S. Parker III Associate Curator of Indigenous American Art, Dallas Museum of Art



Wednesday, February 13, 5:00–7:00 p.m.
Finding a Way: Art Exchanges Between Russia and the United States

Th­is program will explore the politics of international cultural exchange since the 2011 moratorium on loans of art objects between Russian, government-owned museums and institutions in the United States. Th­e program will begin with a conversation between art museum directors Mikhail Piotrovski of the State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, and Glenn Lowry of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, followed by a discussion between diplomatic officials from Russia and the United States. Daniel T. Orlovsky, Professor and George Bouhe Research Fellow in Russian Studies, Dedman College of Humanities & Sciences, will moderate both conversations.

This program is organized by the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies at SMU, in collaboration with the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) and the Meadows Museum. For more information on this program please visit:

Free; reservations required with the Tower Center at 214.768.4716 or



Thursday, March 8, 6:00 p.m. & Friday, March 9, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Thursday, March 8, 6:00 p.m.
Consorting with the Enemy: Islamic Art in the Medieval Treasury of San Isidoro de León
Julian Raby, Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art
Free; reservations required at 214.768.8587
Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

Friday, March 9, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
The Medieval World in a Spanish Context

Ana Cabrera, Th­e Victoria & Albert Museum/Museo Nacional de Arte Decorativo, Madrid
Jordi Camps, chief curator of Romanesque art, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Heather Ecker, principal, Viridian Projects
Charles T. Little, curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Therese Martín, tenured scholar, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid
Christine Sciacca, ­ associate curator of European art, 300–1400 CE, The Walters Art Museum
Shannon Wearing, affiliate, UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Organized by Amanda W. Dotseth, the Meadows/Mellon/Prado curatorial fellow, this symposium brings together international scholars on the art of the Middle Ages to explore the breadth of objects found within the context of Spanish collections, both medieval and modern. From Islamic textiles and metalwork to North African ivory, manuscripts of varied manufacture, and Scandinavian red deer antler, the materials and production methods found in Spanish contexts reflect the diversity of the medieval world.
Free; reservations required at 214.768.8587
Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium


Friday, March 9, 10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.


10:30 a.m.
Membra disjecta: Seville Cathedral Choir Book Leaves in US Collections
Christine Sciacca, Associate Curator of European Art, 300–1400 CE, Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

11:00 a.m.
The Removal of the Frescos from San Baudelio de Berlanga: Antiquarians, Heritage Management and Cultural Property Law
Heather Ecker, Visiting Scholar, Art History & Archaeology, Columbia University, New York

11:30 a.m.
Medieval Iberian Textiles: From Treasuries to Museums
Ana Cabrera Lafuente, Marie S. Curie Fellow, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

12:00 p.m.
Amanda W. Dotseth, Meadows/Mellon/Prado Postdoctoral Fellow, Meadows Museum, Dallas

12:30–2:00 p.m.
Lunch break


2:00 p.m.
Consolidation as Authority: The Medieval Treasury of San Isidoro and the Development of a National Narrative
Amanda W. Dotseth, Meadows/Mellon/Prado Postdoctoral Fellow, Meadows Museum, Dallas

2:30 p.m.
The Recovery of Historical Identity: Romanesque Art in the National Art Museum of Catalonia, Past and Future
Jordi Camps, Curator of Medieval Art, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

3:00 p.m.
Art of Medieval Spain in New York: Making Sense of a Fragmented View
Charles T. Little, Curator Emeritus of Medieval Art/The Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

3:30 p.m.
Shannon Wearing, Affiliate, University of California, Los Angeles

Concluding Remarks
Therese Martin, Tenured Scholar, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Madrid

4:30–5:30 p.m.



November 14, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Jacob and his Twelve Sons: The Intersection of Arts and World Religions

Join SMU local scholars and faculty experts for a daylong symposium examining a monumental series of religious paintings by the seventeenth-century Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán. At the height of his artistic maturity and inspired by the biblical text of Genesis 49, Zurbarán and his workshop created life-size oil-on-canvas paintings of the Hebrew Patriarch and each of his twelve sons – the individuals who would become the founders of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. These vivid biblical characters are present in the foundations of the world’s three enduring monotheistic faith traditions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The morning program will engage in a conversation exploring the religious context and significance of Zurbarán’s works from the vantage points of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, while the afternoon sessions will focus on broad historical, art historical, and musical contexts.

The program will culminate in the evening with a keynote lecture and conversation on the timeless theme of faith in the arts led by the celebrated theologian and author N.T. Wright. Currently serving as a Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, N.T. Wright is the former Bishop of Durham. As the Bishop of Durham, Wright lived daily in the presence of Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons at Auckland Castle where the works have been housed since 1756.

The daytime portion of the program is free with advanced registration. To register call 214.768.8587. The keynote lecture by N. T. Wright will take place at 7:30 p.m. at Highland Park United Methodist Church in Wesley Hall across from the Meadows Museum.

Seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

9:30-10:30 a.m. – Coffee and viewing of Zurbarán: Jacob and His Twelve Sons, Paintings from Auckland Castle

10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.Presentations and panel discussion on religious contexts with speakers:

  • Shira Lander, professor of practice and director of Jewish studies, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, SMU
  • Imam Abdul Rahman Bashir, Islamic Association of Allen
  • Ted Campbell, professor of Church history, Perkins School of Theology, SMU

2:30-4:30 p.m.Presentations on historical, art historical, and musical contexts with speakers:

  • Ken Andrien, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Chair in Colonial Latin American History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, SMU
  • Adam Jasienski, assistant professor of art history, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU
  • Larry Palmer, Professor Emeritus of Harpsichord and Organ, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

7:30 p.m.Keynote lecture
Jacob and the Bishop: Where Faith and Art Meet
N.T. Wright, Research Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at St. Mary’s College, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

N.T. Wright, keynote speaker at Zurbaran symposiumBishop Richard Trevor of Durham bought Jacob and His Twelve Sons by the Spanish master Francisco de Zurbarán in 1756, and extended the Long Dining Room at Auckland Castle to provide a worthy showcase for the group. The purchase of the series was intended to communicate to the leaders of northern England the fact, which was very controversial at the time and from time to time since then, that the Jewish people and their traditions have a valued and honored place in national life. Apart from brief absences for exhibitions, the paintings have been there ever since, still conveying the same message for consideration by today’s pluralistic society. The paintings invite contemplation of the way in which art reflects back on ancient traditions and out into the wider world. They also communicate the way in which faith and art, so often polarized today, can and perhaps should inform and reinforce one another.
Highland Park United Methodist Church Wesley Hall


December 1, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Looking Below the Surface: Working Methods of Zurbarán, Velázquez, and Murillo

Claire Barry, Chief Conservator, Kimbell Art MuseumClaire Barry, director of conservation at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, joined the Kimbell in 1984. In 1992 she initiated a joint conservation program at the Kimbell Art Museum to provide care for European paintings, from about 1300-1946, as well as American paintings, from about 1800-1970, at the neighboring Amon Carter Museum. Ms. Barry examines and restores newly acquired paintings as well as works in both permanent collections, including works by Fra Angelico, Titian, Pietro da Cortona, Poussin, Raeburn, Bonington, Caravaggio, Murillo, and Velázquez. She performs technical examinations of paintings using X-radiography, autoradiography, infrared reflectography, ultraviolet fluorescence, and microscopy, and lectures regularly on artists’ painting materials and techniques. Ms. Barry was the Sherman Fairchild Paintings Conservation Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and is a graduate of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works in Cooperstown, New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Oberlin College and has taken courses at the Musée du Louvre.

The use of X-ray, infrared reflectography, and pigment and ground analysis in conservation allows an examination beneath the skin of paint and often reveals the working processes of the artist. Claire Barry, director of conservation at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, will present her analysis of Francisco de Zurbarán’s Jacob and His Twelve Sons and discuss the artist’s studio practice and the changes that have occurred to the paintings over time. In addition to her presentation, Barry has invited esteemed colleagues in the conservation field to participate in discussing the working methods of the Sevillian masters including Velázquez and Murillo.

Presenters for this program will also include:

  • Rocío Bruquetas Galán, Department of Conservation and Restoration, Museo de América, Madrid
  • Michael Gallagher, Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge, Department of Paintings Conservation, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Zahira Véliz Bomford, senior conservator, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Free with advanced registration. To register, please call 214.768.8587. This symposium is co-sponsored by the Meadows Museum and the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at the University of Texas at Dallas.



Friday, October 7, 10 A.M.-1 P.M.
Modern Spanish Art

Eugenio Carmona, distinguished professor of art history, Universidad de Málaga
Rosario Peiró, head of collections, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
Jordana Mendelson, associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literature, New York University
Jacqueline Rattray, lecturer in modern literature, Goldsmiths University of London

This half-day symposium will provide context for Modern Spanish Art from the Asociación Colección Arte Contemporáneo on view at the Meadows Museum this fall. National and international speakers will elucidate key artists and movements in this unprecedented exhibition featuring over ninety works of modern Spanish art.

FREE; no reservations required. Seating is limited and available on a firstcome, first-served basis. For more information call 214.768.4993.
Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

10:00-10:20 am
Eugenio Carmona, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Universidad de Málaga

Welcome and Opening Remarks

10:25-11:05 am
Jordana Mendelson, Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literature, New York University

Avant-garde/Elite: Promoting New Art in the 1930s
During the 1930s in Spain, the pictorial challenges posed by new art coincided with a period of social, political, and economic reform, most significantly in the first years of the Second Republic. Among the country’s young artists and entrepreneurs, there was a shared interest in forging a community to support new art, but there was also resistance. Together, those who supported new art forged innovative means to promote, exhibit, and publicize national and international trends. Among the groups to form, Barcelona’s ADLAN (Friends of New Art) created a particularly robust series of events, exhibitions, and publications that sought to create an audience for new art. This talk highlights works from the exhibition that intersected with some of the different initiatives, which were launched by ADLAN in Barcelona but extended across Spain, to present a contextual view into the proposals and challenges of artistic modernity in early twentieth-century Spain.

11:10-11:50 pm
Jacqueline Rattray, Lecturer in Modern Literature, Department of English & Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London

Painting with Words: The Experimental Poetry of Selected Artists of the Spanish Avant-Garde
Many of the artists featured in Modern Spanish Art experimented with writing over varying periods of their artistic careers. Some, such as Picasso and Dalí, were particularly prolific, whereas others such as Miró, Planells, Palencia, and Viñes were less so. However, the commitment to seeking an alternative expression through the written word has less to do with the quantity of the output and more to do with the individual reasons for putting down the paintbrush and turning to poetry in the first place. At times the reason for turning to poetry was due to the artist undergoing an emotional crisis; at other times, it was due to immediate political events (such as the Spanish Civil War). For some artists it was due to feeling a temporary artistic block; for others, it was due to economic necessity; and for still others, it was simply a capricious indulgence. Some artists were keen for their written work to be made public, whereas others were not. But, regardless of the reasons for writing, or the quantity and aesthetic quality of their various poetic outpourings, a consideration of the poetry of these artists reveals to us another layer of understanding that lies just behind the canvas of their works.

11:55-12:35 pm
Rosario Peiró, Head of Collections, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

The New Museological Project of the Reina Sofia Collection, 2008-2016
The collection of a museum is a collective task. It involves time and individuals, artists, experts, and spectators who visit it. Undertaken in this way, as a sum of plural gazes and readings, it would be overly simplistic to conceive of a collection as a single univocal discourse, subject to the narration of history as a closed, sterile account.  Each new assembly of a collection corrects the last and awaits correction by the one that follows. It is this process of articulation that determines that a public collection should never be considered as the expression of a canon imposed by the indisputable decree of tradition, but rather as a space that is open to discussion.

12:35-1:00 pm


Friday, December 4, 9:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.

Alba: Lives and Afterlives of a Historic Collection

Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), The Duchess of Alba in White, 1795. Oil on canvas. Colección Duques de AlbaTo coincide with the groundbreaking exhibition Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting (September 11, 2015–January 3, 2016), a public symposium at the Meadows Museum will bring together established and emerging scholars for discussion and debate on a selection of masterpieces from the collection of the Alba family.

The morning session will be devoted to three keynote lectures that will narrate a story of the life and afterlife of the Alba collection, and raise broader questions about parallel collections throughout Europe. The first lecture will examine the dispersal of the Alba collection in the nineteenth century, the second will investigate the political appropriation of the collection during the Spanish Civil War, and the third will address conservation issues pertaining to specific objects. The afternoon session will take place in the exhibition galleries where eight speakers will present “object biographies,” unfolding the stories of individual works on view in the exhibition. A break for lunch will follow the morning session, and the symposium will close with a reception for attendees.

FREE; no registration required. Space is limited and seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 214.768.4677. Alba: Lives and Afterlives of a Historic Collection is co-organized by the Meadows Museum and The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History.

Image left: Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), The Duchess of Alba in White, 1795. Oil on canvas. Colección Duques de Alba

9:00 – 9:30 a.m.
Coffee and informal viewing of the exhibition Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting

Morning Session: Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

9:30 – 9:40 a.m.
Opening Remarks

Mark Roglán (Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, SMU)
Richard Brettell (Director, Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, UTD)

9:40 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Willem de Pannemaker (Flemish, active 1535-1578), Mercury Enamored of Herse, Brussels, 1570. Gold, silver, silk and wool thread. Colección Duques de Alba9:40 – 10:20 a.m.
Richard Brettell (O’Donnell Institute, UTD)
The Alba Collection Paris Sale: Spanish Art, Tapestries, and French Taste in the early Third Republic

10:25 – 11:05 a.m.
Miriam Basilio (Assoc. Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, New York University)
“Museums for the People”: The Alba Collection and Debates about Cultural Property during the Spanish Civil War

11:10 a.m. – 11:50 p.m.
Rafael Alonso (Conservator, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid)
Preserving the Legacy of the House of Alba in the Twentieth Century

12:00 – 1:30 p.m.
Break for Lunch

Informal viewing of the exhibition Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting

Afternoon Session: Jake and Nancy Hamon Galleries

Bible of the House of Alba, early 15thcentury. Parchment Manuscript with 513 folios. Exterior finished in the Mudejar style. Biblioteca de los Duques de Alba1:30 – 3:10 p.m.
Object Biographies, Part I

1:30 – 1:50 p.m.
Shira Lander (Professor of Practice & Director of Jewish Studies, SMU)
Rabbi Mosé Arrajel and School of Toledo, Alba Family Bible, 1430

1:55 – 2:15 p.m.
Lori Diel (Assoc. Professor and Coordinator of Art History, TCU)
Decree granting coat of arms to Martín Moctezuma, 1536

2:20 – 2:40 p.m.
Mark Rosen (Assoc. Professor of Aesthetic Studies, Edith O’Donnell Institute, UTD)
Fernão Vaz Dourado, Portulano, Atlas of the World, 1568

2:45 – 3:05 p.m.
Lisa Pon (Assoc. Professor of Art History, SMU)
Willem de Pannemaker, Mercury in Love with Herse, 1570

3:10 – 3:30 p.m.
Break and Informal Discussion

3:30 – 5:10 p.m.
Object Biographies, Part II

3:30 – 3:50 p.m.
Nicole Atzbach (Curator, Meadows Museum, SMU)
Andrea Vaccaro, Penitent Magdalene, c. 1650–60

3:55 – 4:15 p.m.
Amy Freund (Asst. Professor & The Kleinheinz Family Endowment for the Arts & Education Endowed Chair in Art History, SMU)
Louis Michel van Loo, The Children of the Second Duke of Berwick, c. 1715

4:20 – 4:40 p.m.
Xavier Salomon (Peter Jay Sharp Chief Curator, Frick Collection, New York)
Francisco de Goya, The Duchess of Alba in White, 1795

4:45 – 5:05 p.m.
Mark Roglán (Meadows Museum, SMU)
Josep María Sert, Victory Comes Slowly; Defeat of the Enemy; The Book of History; Mobilization, c. 1918

5:10 – 6:00 p.m.
Reception for symposium attendees at the Meadows Museum

Saturday, February 7, 10 A.M.-3:30 P.M.
Curating Goya

In the words of one recent author, Francisco Goya (1746-1828) is enjoying a “pop-culture moment.” Two large-scale exhibitions devoted to him opened this fall at the Meadows Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and three more will open in Europe next year. With an oeuvre encompassing some 1,800 works, from commissioned portraits to dreamlike fantasies, Goya never ceases to intrigue and surprise viewers. At the same time, his vast and varied output presents particular challenges for its interpretation and display. In a public symposium, curators of recent and upcoming shows on Goya will discuss how different approaches to exhibiting Goya’s work invite new paths for understanding his art. There will be a lunch break. Reception to follow.

; no registration required. Space is limited and seating is based on a first-come, first served basis. For more information, call 214.768.4677. This symposium is co-organized by the Meadows Museum and the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium

Curating Goya international Symposium installation photo

10-10:10 A.M.
Opening Remarks
Mark A. Roglán, The Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, SMU
Richard R. Brettell, Ph.D., Founding Director, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair, UT Dallas

10:10-10:20 A.M
Topic Introduction
Alexandra Letvin, Meadows/Kress/Prado Curatorial Fellow, Meadows Museum

10:20 A.M.-12:30 P.M.

Frederick Ilchman, Chair, Art of Europe, and Mrs. Russell W. Baker Curator of Paintings, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
A ‘Reshuffled Retrospective’ in Boston

Xavier Bray, Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London
Goya’s Portraits: An Exhibition in the Making

Juliet Wilson-Bareau, Independent Scholar, London
Goya: A ‘Universal Language’ in all its Themes and Variations

Janis Tomlinson, Director, University Museums, University of Delaware
Goya in Perspective: Exhibitions 1974-2008

12:30-2 P.M.
Lunch Break

2:00-3:30 P.M.
Roundtable Discussion led by Alexandra Letvin

3:30-5 P.M.
Wine & cheese Reception for Symposium Attendees
Champagne toast to celebrate the arrival of Ferdinand Guillemardet (1798-99) from the Louvre.


Saturday, April 5, 2-5 PM
Bob & Jean Smith Auditorium

Collecting Sorolla in America: From the Gilded Age to Today

Free. Seating is first come, first served; no reservations required. Symposium concludes with a wine reception. PLEASE NOTE: The Museum closes promptly at 5:00 p.m. Symposium attendees wishing to visit the Sorolla and America exhibition in the upper galleries are advised to do so PRIOR to attending the symposium. Regular admission fees apply.

Joaquín Sorolla was one of the most acclaimed and celebrated artists of the early 20th century, particularly in America, where he mounted several exhibitions on the east coast, as well as in Chicago and Saint Louis, all of which broke attendance records and brought him far-reaching fame. Americans avidly collected his sun-drenched landscapes of the Valencian coast and commissioned portraits and historical paintings for museums and for their own private collections.

This symposium, made possible through a gift by Christie’s, will present two important episodes in the history of collecting Sorolla’s paintings: the purchase of one of Sorolla’s most highly awarded works, Sad Inheritance! (1899), and its journey in New York; and the acquisition of Sorolla’s first social painting, Another Marguerite! (1892) by the art museum of Washington University in Saint Louis. In addition to these historic studies, we will also learn about how Sorolla is appreciated today in the art market and the extraordinary comeback in popularity this artist has made over the last decade.

The Meadows Museum and the Center for Spain in America are preparing a book about collecting Sorolla in America, and these first two lectures will be included, along with essays by almost a dozen scholars. It is scheduled to be published in 2015.

2 PM – Introduction and Opening Remarks

Alexandra Letvin, Kress/Meadows/Prado Fellow, Meadows Museum
Sorolla and “The New St. Louis”

The story of Sorolla and America began in St. Louis, where Halsey C. Ives, founding director of the Museum of Fine Arts, sought to enrich his city’s collection with the work of contemporary European artists. As Chief of the Fine Arts Department of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893), he arranged for the purchase of Sorolla’s award-winning ¡Otra Margarita! (1892) for his new museum, furthering his vision of transforming St. Louis into a cosmopolitan cultural destination and fostering a love for Sorolla in St. Louis that would culminate in the artist’s 1911 exhibition at the City Art Museum.

Nicole Aztbach, Curator, Meadows Museum
Sad Inheritance! and its Secret Philanthropist

After its inclusion at the Universal Exposition in Paris in 1900 and at the National Exhibition in Madrid in 1901—at which it was awarded the Grand Prix and a medal of honor respectively—Sad Inheritance! (1899), Joaquín Sorolla’s masterpiece of social realism, made its way in 1902 to New York City. It would thereafter remain for over seventy years at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village. The quiet American existence of the monumental canvas—a depiction of Christian charity-finds parallel in that of its former owner, coal baron John E. Berwind (1854-1928), whose numerous and substantial acts of philanthropy were made discreetly. An early American patron of Sorolla, Berwind also owned several other works by the Spanish painter.


Deborah Coy, Vice President and Head of 19th Century European Art Department, Christie’s
The Sorolla Market in the Americas

Coy will discuss how Sorolla is appreciated today in the art market and the extraordinary comeback in popularity this artist has made over the last decade.

5 PM – Wine reception

Saturday, February 8, 2-5 PM
Sorolla and America

This international symposium was held in conjunction with the exhibition Sorolla and America. The program was moderated by the exhibition curator and artist’s great-granddaughter Blanca Pons-Sorolla, and guest speakers included Alisa Luxenberg, Professor of 18th- and 19th-Century European Art, University of Georgia, and Lucía Martínez, conservator at the Prado Museum.
Bob and Jean Smith Auditorium, Meadows Museum

2 PM
Blanca Pons-Sorolla, Exhibition Curator,
Introduction and Opening Remarks

2:15 PM
The Right Time and the Right Place: Sorolla and The Hispanic Society

Marcus Burke, Senior Curator, Museum Department, The Hispanic Society of America
Joaquín Sorolla first came to the notice of North American collectors in the early 1890s, and his work must surely have been known to Archer Milton Huntington, founder of The Hispanic Society of America, from at least 1900, when Huntington attended the Exposition Universelle at Paris where Sorolla won a Grand Prix. However, it was not until his visit to Sorolla’s 1908 exhibition in London that Huntington began acquiring works by the artist. The initial encounter led to preparations for an exhibition of Sorolla’s works at The Hispanic Society in New York in February 1909 – an astonishing success with nearly 160,000 visitors in four weeks – and a subsequent itinerant exhibition in 1911. With sales from the exhibitions, portrait commissions, and Huntington’s 1911 commission for the series of large mural canvases called Vision of Spain (1912-19), Sorolla not only became a wealthy man, but arguably the best-known Spanish artist of his time internationally. This lecture will outline the history of Sorolla’s connections with the The Hispanic Society and attempt to answer a series of questions: What was the secret of Sorolla’s success in America? What attracted Archer Huntington and many American critics and collectors to Sorolla’s art? What was Sorolla’s impact on American art, on Huntington, and on The Hispanic Society itself?

3 PM
 Sorolla and la españolada: In Search of the Authentic Spain

Alisa Luxenberg, Professor of 18th- and 19th-Century European Art, University of Georgia
This talk will explore Sorolla’s ambivalence toward certain stereotypes of Spain, what he called la españolada. If he declared his intent to avoid it in his art, he nevertheless chose to depict figures and customs common to standardized imagery of his native land, such as bulls, flamenco, mantillas, and Catholic ritual. Comparing his treatment of such subjects to that by Spanish, French, and American contemporaries can help us discern why Sorolla’s imagery of Spain was perceived as honest, healthy and modern. The fundamental issue, for Sorolla as well as his critics, seems to have been authenticity: who had the right or insight to identify and represent the “authentic” Spain to others.

3:45 PM
 The Restoration of Masterworks by Joaquín Sorolla: The Rediscovery of Light

Lucía Martínez Valverde, Conservator, Museo Nacional del Prado
Sorolla’s ability to capture the excitement of the Valencian light is extraordinary, as is his ability to grasp the mystery of a darkened room or reflections of an Andalusian patio at sunset. He describes some of his works as “a feeling of light” achieved with clean, almost pure colors. This talk will address the details of the restoration performed on a selection of Sorolla’s masterpieces and will provide an in-depth understanding of the way in which original images have been liberated from layers of dirt or previous restorations that were poorly executed. A discussion of
painting materials and techniques will also enable us to step into Sorolla’s shoes and see through his eyes, helping us to understand the artist’s creative process.

4:30 PM – Q&A

5 PM – Wine and cheese reception


May 1-2
From the Other Shore: Narratives and Perspectives on Spanish & Latin American Art

Crum Auditorium
James M. Collins Executive Education Center
SMU Cox School of Business
3150 Binkley Avenue, Dallas TX

The purpose of the above symposium was to analyze the various ways in which ideas and perceptions about Spanish and Latin American Art have evolved in the last decades, dramatically increasing their international visibility and relevance. To address the implications of shaping a new canon for such problematic categories as Spanish and Latin American art in the context of general art history, the symposium relied on prestigious museum professionals and university professors.


May 1, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

  • 9:00 a.m. – Welcome. Roberto Tejada, Endowed Professor of Art History, Southern Methodist University, Dallas
  • 9:15 a.m. – Introductory Remarks: María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco, Professor of Art History, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
    Eugenio Carmona, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Universidad de Málaga, and Head of the Research Project “Narraciones de lo Moderno”


Session One
Shaping Narratives of Spanish and Latin-American Art—Museums and Collections


  • 9:45 a.m. – Introduction


  • Video icon 10:00 a.m. – Manuel Borja-Villel, Director of the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain
    Local Versus Global Spanish Art and Latin-American Art in the Permanent Collection and Exhibitions of the Museo Reina Sofía
    History has ceased to be written as though it were made up of large continents, to become a kind of archipelago. The author thereby enters into tension, seeking to reflect and relate at once with his or her community and with the world. Art seeks at once the absolute and its opposite—that is, writing and orality. There is no longer a single voice issuing its narrative from a privileged platform; instead, we are immersed in a multiplicity of micro-narratives that has produced a new cartography of art. New York can no longer be said to have stolen the idea of modern art from Paris, because the idea emerges in multiple places and because there is nothing to steal, just relations to establish and render visible.


  • 10:40 a.m. COFFEE BREAK


  • Video icon11:00 a.m. – Mark Roglán, The Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist UniversityFrom a Collection of Spanish Art to a Center for Spanish Culture
    The Meadows Museum houses one of the greatest collections of Spanish art in the world and is part of one of the top universities in the United States. With its national and international presence, as well as growing number of acquisitions, exhibitions, projects, programs, publications, technological updates, and educational initiatives, the Meadows is positioned to become the center for the study of Spanish art in the United States, a platform from which everyone interested in Spanish art will benefit.


  • Video icon 11:40 a.m. – Ángel Kalenberg, former Director of the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales de Montevideo, Uruguay
    Narratives of Latin-American Art: From Montevideo to Mainstream Art History
    Kalenberg has termed one of the most powerful and important artistic currents in Latin America as “Organic Constructivism.” Abandoning the European Constructivist movement, Latin-American artists were successful in creating an “organic construction,” which means an abstract art with material support that is sensitive and organic. This current originated from Torres Garcia’s work, rather than Mondrian’s, and therefore began in Latin America instead of Europe.


  • 12:20 p.m. – Q&A


  • 12:40 p.m. – LUNCH in the Hillcrest Foundation Commons in the James M. Collins Executive Education Center.


Session Two
About Narratives in Modern Art History – Constructing Stories/Making Art History


  • Video icon 1:40 p.m. – Eugenio Carmona, Distinguished Professor of Art History, Universidad de Málaga, Spain, and Head of the Research Project “Narraciones de lo Moderno”
    Narratology and Modern Art. Selected Examples from the Meadows Museum Collection: Juan Gris, Picasso, María Blanchard and Julio Gonzalez
    Perhaps one can affirm that works of art are not simply the works themselves but rather an accumulation of all that has been said or recounted about them. More than a century after its birth, Modern Art is not only a collection of diverse, contrasted contributions; it is also a series of accounts and critical narratives about its history and development. By tacit agreement among historians, critics and museologists, some critical narratives on Modern Art were favored over others. From then on, rather than the narrative adapting to the works of art, the works of art are being evaluated, not in the proper sense of their contribution, but for their adaptation to a previously devised narrative. Many narratives on Modern Art are structured on the basis of Cubism. The main or orthodox narrative created on Cubism is so widely accepted that it appears perfectly natural and emanating from the Cubists’ own experience, when in fact it was not like this. It happened because one critical construct, out of many other critical constructs, favored specific visions and specific options. Doubtless this was a valuable critical construct but today we can contemplate many works and propositions that we identify as Cubist and which, although we find them particularly interesting, fit uncomfortably in the dominant narratives on Cubism and its contribution. This happens not only with the contributions of artists considered “minor,” it also happens with works of Picasso and Juan Gris. We shall consider this supported by several of the most important works at the Meadows Museum, and we shall associate our considerations with the singular contribution of the sculptor Julio Gonzalez, and thus, with considerations on one of the most decisive concepts of modern sculpture.


  • Video icon 2:20 p.m. – Diana Wechsler, Director of the Institute for Research in Art and Culture at the National University of Tres de Febrero, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    ‘Realism’ in the Fabric of Modern Debate between Europe and the Americas
    A common assertion about the historiography of Latin-American art is that the agenda of modern art in our major capitals has been met with delay. Currently under debate, this issue, based on a concept of homogeneous historical time, is still alive and well. In this regard, the processes that take place in the 1920s and 30s can be seen as evidence to develop other working hypotheses which not only reveal new aspects of Latin-American art and culture, but also shed light on the larger narrative of modern art. On the basis of this premise, this presentation will suggest a critical revision of this stretch of the narratives of modernism.


  • Video icon 3:00 p.m. – María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco, Professor of Art History, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain
    Narrating Modern Spanish Art: A Foreign Affair? James Johnson Sweeney’s Views on Spanish Art and its Influence
    In the fall 1941, the Museum of Modern Art celebrated the exhibition Joan Miró curated by James Johnson Sweeney. Only two months earlier he had published the article “Picasso and Iberian Sculpture,” challenging some views on Les Demoiselles d’Avignon as formulated by Alfred H. Barr, Jr. in his 1939 MoMa catalogue Picasso, Forty Years of His Art. During the 1950s, as the director of the Guggenheim Museum, he payed special attention to young Spanish abstract artists and, in 1960, he curated a major exhibition of Spanish avant-garde: Before Picasso-After Miró. The purpose of this presentation is to explore James Johnson Sweeney’s views on Spanish modern art during the forties and fifties and its impact on its international reception.


  • 3:40 p.m. – Q&A


  • 4:00 p.m. – End of program


  • 4:30 p.m – WINE AND CHEESE RECEPTION at the Meadows Museum until 6:30 p.m.



May 2, 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Session Three
New perspectives on Spanish and Latin-American Art in Scholarship, Museum, and Exhibition Practices

  • 10:00 a.m. – Introduction


  • Video icon 10:15 a.m. – Mari Carmen Ramírez, Wortham Curator of Latin-American Art, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and Director, International Center for the Arts of the Americas (ICAA)
    Resisting Categories: Latin American and/or Latino?
    This talk will analyze how the categories of Latin-American and Latino art evolved throughout the last few decades through exhibitions organized in the United States. An underlying premise is that, in the absence of academic art history programs, the history of Latin-American and Latino art in this country has been researched and written through exhibitions and their accompanying publications. The talk will also consider how this phenomenon conflicts or overlaps with parallel accounts emerging from various countries in Latin America.


  • Video icon 10:55 a.m. – Miriam Basilio, Assistant Professor of Art History and Museum Studies, New York University
    The Evolving Latin-American Canon
    This lecture will examine the following questions: How do Western museums re-think modernist art historical canons today? How can modern museums frame global contemporary art within a modernist context that does not represent modernities outside the U.S./Eurocentric art historical narrative? The goal is to shed light on an as-yet unstudied aspect of Alfred Barr’s preeminent role in establishing the definition of the problematic term “Latin-American art” in the United States through his inclusion of works by Latin-American artists in his collection displays at The Museum of Modern Art. In examining Barr’s shifting categorization of these works according to stylistic and geographic taxonomies, we gain a greater understanding of his articulation of the Modernist canon during the 1940s and 1950s. In the late 1960s, curator Elaine L. Johnson sought to revive Barr’s interest in this area of the collection, yet her contributions are unknown today. Barr’s inclusive international collection display groupings and Johnson’s proposals to fill gaps in collecting by creating a geographically specific curatorial area within MoMA prefigure strategies employed by museums in the United States and Europe today.


  • Video icon 11:35 a.m. – Q&A


  • 12:00 p.m. – LUNCH in the Hillcrest Foundation Commons in the James M. Collins Executive Education Center


  • Video icon 1:30 p.m. – Dore Ashton, author and critic, New York
    The Place of Spanish Art in Modern Experience
    It is impossible to talk about modern art without talking about Spanish art. And this is especially so for American art. With Velázquez, Goya, and Greco as venerable ancestors, and Picasso, Miró, and Juan Gris, as modern references, Spanish art has epitomized artistic freedom to American artists of several generations.


  • 2:30 p.m. – Panel discussion with all symposium speakers


  • 3:00 p.m. – Closing remarks and farewell


  • 3:30 p.m – END OF PROGRAM

Universidad Complutense de Madrid logo    Universidad de Malaga logo Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero logo

This program is organized by The Meadows Museum in collaboration with the University of Málaga, Spain, the University Complutense, Madrid, and the University Tres de Febrero, Buenos Aires. It is part of a research project titled “Narratives on Modern Art” (HAR 2009-13658/ARTE), funded by the Spanish government and the European Community and directed by Dr. Eugenio Carmona. This symposium has been underwritten thanks to a gift by the Meadows Foundation, and facilities are generously provided by SMU’s Edwin L. Cox School of Business.