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Folk Treasures of Mexico

Un libro in lingua di Oettinger Marion Jr. Roberts Ann Rockefeller (FRW) Boltin Lee (PHT) Dyer John (PHT) O'Neill Annie (PHT) edito da Arte Publico Pr, 2010

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"A book on one of the most exciting and colorful phases in the rich cultural history of Mexico." This is how Nelson A. Rockefeller, in 1978, during his last trip to Mexico, described the book he planned to publish about his astonishing collection of Mexican folk art. Folk Treasures of Mexico: The Nelson A. Rockefeller Collection is that book, and Rockefeller's essay appears here as the foreword to this volume, which highlights the best and most striking objects in what is considered to be the single finest collection of Mexican folk art in the United States.

In 1933, Nelson A. Rockefeller began assembling his exciting and important collection, now comprising more than 3,000 objects ranging widely in terms of history, medium and function. Here, more than 130 beautifully reproduced plates---more than 80 of them in full color---illustrate the rich variety of these folk art treasures. Each object is extraordinary, whether it be an 18th-century centurion helmet mask from the State of Mexico, a gold-threaded rebozo or brightly patterned sarape, a soulful religious icon, an elaborate tree of life or colorful Day of the Dead scene, a conchero pull toy from Guanajuato or an elegant crane-shaped gourd from Guerrero. Complementing the plates are many documentary photographs that provide interesting historical perspective on Rockefeller's collection, which represents nearly 50 years of collecting activity.

The foreword to the book, containing Rockefeller's personal account of his lifelong fascination with the Mexican marketplace and its artisans, is followed by a preface by his daughter Ann Rockefeller Roberts. She describes how, after her father's death, she carried out his goal of publishing this book on his collection and finding permanent homes for the works in two outstanding institutions: the San Antonio Museum of Art and the Mexican Museum in San Francisco. Avon Neal, an internationally respected authority on folk art, introduces the book with an essay that places Mexico's popular arts in the context of modern folk art and comments on the cultural happenings of the era in which Rockefeller assembled his folk treasures.

The main text, by Marion Oettinger, Jr., the Betty and Bob Kelso Director of the San Antonio Museum of Art, tells the remarkable story of Rockefeller the collector, whose lifelong interest in art, official involvement with Latin America and personal vision helped create his Mexican folk art collection. Oettinger describes the works themselves according to function as utilitarian, ceremonial or decorative objects, or objects of play and fantasy. He devotes his last chapter to the Mexican folk artists who created this incredible diversity of art and inspired Rockefeller with their imagination and skill. Accompanying the plates of the objects are lively and informative commentaries written by Annie O'Neill, folk art specialist and former adviser to Rockefeller on this collection.

Perfect for those who share Nelson A. Rockefeller's passion for Mexican folk art, this book will also appeal to everyone interested in folk art or the art or history of Latin America. Valuable tools for research are the glossary, bibliography and chronology.

Avon Neal's words aptly describe the art and the man that are the subject of this book: "As with all great collections, this one reflects a unique personal vision, as well as its creator's deep commitment to an indigenous art. The Nelson A. Rockefeller Mexican folk art collection represents a marvelous achievement by a very remarkable man."

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