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Austin’s Blanton Museum adds 119 gems to Latin American Collection

Michael Barnes
Portrait of Rosa de Salazar y Gabino, Countess of Monteblanco and Montemar (c. 1764-1771) attributed to Peruvian Cristobal Lozano. [Contributed]

The Blanton Museum of Art, already a leader in the area of Latin American art, has picked up 119 works of art from the Portuguese and Spanish Americas. The collection of Roberta and Richard Huber includes sculptures and paintings as well as design artifacts, some in finely rendered silver, from countries such as Peru, Brazil and Ecuador going back to the 1600s.

“My wife, Roberta, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better steward for our collection than the Blanton, an institution with a long legacy of leadership in the field of Latin American art,” said Richard Huber. “We’re thrilled for the Blanton to present the works to audiences from Austin, the rest of the country, and abroad, and for them to be used in the museum’s robust teaching program on campus and in the community.”

The University of Texas’ Latin American Collection goes back to 1963 and includes 2,500 works, including paintings, prints, drawings, installations, videos and sculptures. In 1988, the Blanton was the first museum in the United States to hire a curator strictly devoted to modern and contemporary Latin American art.

“We are delighted that the Blanton will be the new home of the Huber collection, an incredibly beautiful group of works, which demonstrates the height of artistic achievement of this period,” said Blanton Director Simone Wicha. “The Huber collection will open up new possibilities for scholarship on this dynamic era of cultural exchange, supported by the unparalleled strength of UT’s Latin American studies program and the Blanton’s renowned expertise and resources in the field of Latin American art.”

According to a statement from the museum, highlights from the Huber Collection include an early 18th-century silver coquera box for the storage of coca leaves from Bolivia; a bust-sized reliquary of St. Augustine from Mexico (ca. 1650); a portrait of Rosa de Salazar y Gabiño, “Countess of Monteblanco and Montemar” (c. 1764 - 1771) attributed to Peruvian Cristobal Lozano; and a sculpture of the Virgin Mary attributed to Francisco Xavier de Brito, active in Minas Gerais, Brazil, in the mid-1700s.

This fall, some of the Huber objects will appear in the Blanton exhibition, “Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America.”

(The name of the Blanton exhibit has been updated.)