Hispanic Society of America

Spain and things Spanish came back into favor soon after the end of the Spanish-Cuban-American War. In 1908, Archer Milton Huntington opened the Hispanic Society of America, and a year later, the museum’s solo exhibition of work by painter Joaquín Sorolla drew 160,000 New Yorkers in its first four weeks. One art dealer wrote:  "Spain sank low in our defeat of her, she has replied with the lightnings of art."
 
Huntington housed his collection of art and literature from Spain and Latin America in palatial surroundings at Broadway and 155th Street, creating a resource for Hispanic studies in the U.S. that still exists today. Ahead of his time, Huntington not only collected but also studied Spanish culture. A Hispanophile, he believed that exposing North Americans to Spain’s magnificent cultural patrimony would provide them with an antidote to the ills of modern, industrial society.

Cars parked on 155th Street, February 4, 1909. Reproduction. Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York. These scenes of Spain and New York were among the works by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida displayed at the Hispanic Society in a one-artist show for the Spanish painter in 1909. Sorolla’s monumental Vision of Spain series opened to the pubic in 1926 and can still be seen today.
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Spain, 1863–1923), Grand Army Plaza, Seen from a Window at the Savoy Hotel, 1911. Gouache on cardboard. On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York.

Cars parked on 155th Street, February 4, 1909. Reproduction. Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York. Sorolla’s 1909 exhibition—his first in the U.S.—contained 356 paintings and was a spectacular success. "Nothing like it ever happened in New York," Huntington wrote his mother:  "Ohs and Ahs stained the tiled floors. Automobiles blocked the street."
Cars parked on 155th Street, February 4, 1909. Reproduction. Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York.
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