Location: 613 W. 155th St., New York
The Hispanic was founded on May 18, 1904, by Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955). The Society first opened its doors in 1908 at the Beaux-Arts building on Audubon Terrace that still serves as its home.
Under Huntington‘s direct supervision, the Hispanic Society published more than 200 monographs by the Society‘s curators and internationally noted scholars on virtually all facets of Hispanic culture. Through his financial sponsorship, countless Hispanists were able to conduct their research and publish the fruits of their scholarly labors; in many instances in journals that he also supported such as the Revue Hispanique, The Romanic Review, The Art Bulletin, as well as the series Bryn Mawr Notes and Monographs under the editorship of Georgiana Goddard King.
Today, the Society continues the legacy of Huntington through expanded exhibitions, new programs, and the recent acquisition of the building adjacent to the Hispanic Society.
The collections of The Hispanic today are unparalleled in their scope and quality, addressing nearly every aspect of culture in Spain as well as Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines.
The Society offers a comprehensive survey of Spanish painting and drawing from the Middle Ages to the present, with particular strengths in that of the Spanish Golden Age (1550-1700), the nineteenth century, and the early twentieth century.
When the Society opened its doors to the public in 1908, it already held the finest collection of Hispano-Moresque lusterware in the United States, and one of the best in the world. Today, the collection consists of more than 150 objects dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries. The museum also has decorative and utilitarian examples in earthenware and soft- paste porcelain from other centers: Talavera de la Reina, Alcora, and Buen Retiro in Spain, Capodimonte in Italy, and Puebla in Mexico.
In addition to the Ancient and Classical pieces, the Hispanic Society collection contains a significant selection of Islamic and Christian sculpture dating from the Middle Ages to the early twentieth century. Among the Islamic works, the ivory box signed by Khalaf (ca. 965 A.D.), stands out for the beauty of its intricate carving. The tombs from the monastery of San Francisco de Cuéllar exemplify the skill with which sculptors worked ca.1500, particularly on the effigies which are among the most beautiful in the United States. Several seventeenth-century pieces represent the range of Spanish Baroque art. In his statue of the Christ Child (ca. 1645), Francisco Dionisio de Ribas captivatingly evokes the sweet innocence of an infant. On the other hand, the magnificent terracottas by Luisa Roldán vividly depict religious moments as different as mystical ecstasy and quiet veneration.