Americas Society Art Gallery
The Americas Society Art Gallery is pleased to announce its Fall 1999 exhibition Talavera Poblana: Four Centuries of a Mexican Ceramic Tradition. Sixty-three examples of historic Talavera earthenware dating from as early as the seventeenth century will be presented with twenty-three contemporary works. The Americas Society Art Gallery is open to the public Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. free of charge.
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The Exhibition: The exhibition will assemble masterpieces from one of the most important ceramic traditions of the Western Hemisphere, many on view for the first time in decades. The exhibition explores the development of the magnificent tin-glazed earthenware known throughout the Spanish-speaking world as "Talavera Poblana," from the time of its introduction to the New World in Puebla, Mexico, to the present day. These distinctive ceramics synthesize forms and motifs of Spanish, Islamic, Chinese, and Italian origins to create a new, uniquely Mexican style. The contemporary works included in the exhibition were likewise created in Puebla, which remains a center of artistic creation. Objects on view will include ceramic basins, vases, bowls, drug jars, tiles and tile panels, and sculptures of various shapes and sizes.
The early production of Talavera Poblana was primarily influenced by Old World traditions brought over by immigrant ceramists from various parts of Spain. In 1565, when trade opened with Asia via the Philippines and Mexico, Spain began importing Chinese porcelain in large quantities, and by the mid-seventeenth century, Puebla ceramists had succumbed to the fashion for Chinese blue-on-white porcelain. Despite the prevailing influence of Chinese porcelain throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Talavera Poblana maintained a unique style of its own, combining motifs and surface decorations from various cultural traditions.
At the height of the Spanish Empire, Talavera Poblana enjoyed the widest distribution of any ceramic ware in the New World. Around the time of Mexican independence, however, the once highly formalized Talavera Poblana ceramic tradition experienced a collapse. It was not until the early twentieth century that this tradition experienced a revival and a climate was created for its resurgence.
The exhibition concludes with a selection of contemporary works that display what has been called the "future of Talavera." This part of the exhibition includes works by several Latin American artists commissioned by Jaime Contreras, a curator at the Museo Amparo in Puebla. Working with potters at the Puebla workshop of Talavera de la Reyna, these artists recapture the dynamism of the Talavera Poblana tradition.