Ceramica: Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century
The recently released publication, "Ceramica: Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century," offers collectors, artists, and those who are simply curious, an extraordinary inside look at the culturally rich and diverse tradition of pottery production in Mexico over the last 100 years.
The book, compiled by Amanda Thompson, in cooperation with the Santa Monica, California Heritage Museum, is organized into geographic locations, focusing on the eight Mexican states considered most significant in ceramics production. Within each state, chapters are divided into subsections detailing pieces produced by town or village, style, families and individual artisans. There is not a single Mexican state that does not produce some form of pottery, be it for decorative, utilitarian, religious use or simply for personal pleasure.
Based on an exhibit of more than 1,200 pieces of Mexican pottery held at the Heritage Museum last year, the full-color publication is an invaluable resource guide for collectors of this country's most traditional art. The text offers descriptions not only of artists, styles and places of origin, but also includes dates of production and piece dimensions, when possible. "Ceramica: Mexican Pottery of the 20th Century," is the fifth Heritage Museum book published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. The edition is now on sale in fine book stores across the United States, or can be ordered directly from the publisher for $49.95 usd, plus shipping. www.schifferbooks.com
Long Awaited Antiques Fair Opens In Mexico City
It finally happened! The Franz Meyer museum, located in the nation's capital city, opened its doors this March 26-31 to host the Primera Feria de Arte y Antigüedades. Mexico City's first national antiques show attracted more than thirty exhibitors from across the country, and an additional five from the United States, setting a precedent for the massive megalopolis. Seven conferences on different aspects of antiques collecting and two "round table" discussions attracted specialists and prestigious collectors of Mexican and Continental art and antiques during the six day fair.
After numerous attempts to get such an event off the ground, the First Art and Antiques Fair signifies an important step forward in the continued development of antiques shows in this country. The Friday auction, held on the museum's grounds, featured more than eighty pieces donated by event participants.
Sponsored by the Patronato del Festival del Centro Historico, under the direction of Sra. Florencia Riestra, the nonprofit organization has slated a portion of the proceeds to be used for the restoration and conservation of historically important national collections. Thanks to the support and collaboration of Hector Rivero Borrell, Director of the Franz Meyer Museum, and Guillermo Andrade, Director of (the museum's) Collections, this event marks the beginning of a new outlet for fine art and antiques aficionados in the country's principal city.
Private collectors rescuing ancient western Mexican heritage
While archeologists had their backs turned on the ancient cultures of western Mexico, thousands upon thousands of pieces were being pilfered from graves and making their ways into private collections around the world.
By the time the scientific community caught up and laws prohibiting the commerce of pre-Hispanic art were enacted it was almost too late for many of these important works of art to contribute to the studies of ancient western Mexico.
But now, thanks to a movement by many private collectors to donate their pieces to museums, there is some hope.
At the recent inauguration of a permanent exhibition of western Mexican art at Guadalajara's Plaza de los Angeles Cultural Institute, American anthropologist Phil Weigand expressed his thanks to the five people whose collections now form part of the exhibit.
"The donation of these pieces is in many respects a rescue effort," said the archeologist, who began investigating ancient western Mexican culture in the 1970s, long before it was considered as important as it is now. "They come from collectors who are not out for recognition. As a service to the community, (they) have tried to preserve these things from being distributed more widely. It's the traffickers who represent the real threat to our heritage."
Weigand, who meticulously weeded out the fakes during the selection process, said the exhibit of some two hundred pieces including statues, jewelry, stone implements and clay bowls is especially important because the exact location where many of the pieces were found is known.
Plaza de los Angeles is on Nicolas Bravo 305 in Guadalajara. The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Entrance is free.
Due to the recent interest in German Horacio's art (1902-1975), (El antiQuario, Vol. 2, No. 11, "Exiled by Spain, Forgotten by Mexico: The Story of German Horacio," by Sean Mattson), various galleries and museums have offered space for an exhibit of this artist's work. Several pieces have been held in storage by the Mexico City I.N.B.A. museum since the artist's last posthumous exhibit, held there in 1983. The museum has volunteered to lend approximately 60 pieces for a traveling exhibit of Horacio's work. Tentatively, the exhibit is scheduled to open in September at the Mexic-Arte museun, in Austin, Texas, then travelling on to Denver, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Collectors Mourn Loss of Distinguished Potter
Renowned artist Sixto Ibarra, acclaimed for his realistic pre-hispanic style creations in pottery, died, April 21, 2001 from a heart attack in his home town of San Juan Evengelista, Jalisco.
The self-taught artist began working with clay over forty years ago after discovering an ancient cenotaph in the foothills near lake Cajititlan. The workmanship and whimsical nature of the pre-conquest pottery found at the burial site inspired the young man to begin experimenting with the medium. Within a few years he was producing clay whistles, Colima dogs, jaguars and numerous other pre-columbian style sculptures for an ever-expanding following of collectors. Ibarra's hand-formed and mold-made pieces were created following similar techniques used in the production of early pottery. His green-ware sculptures baked dry in the Jalisco sun, to be later fired in a home-made wood-burning kiln.
Ibarra trained his children to carry on the tradition of creating in clay. One of his best students is his son Martin Ibarra, now a highly sought-after artist in his own right. The Ibarra household continues the artistic legacy handed down by Sixto at their studio in San Juan Evengelista. The entire family is involved in pottery production.
Sixto Ibarra will be greatly missed by collectors and aficionados. Rest in peace, Don Sixto.
San Miguel de Allende Antiques Fair
The long-awaited San Miguel de Allende Antiques Fair may finally become a reality this November.
According to sources this magazine contacted on its last visit to the San Miguel, the famous Instituto Allende, the local hotels association and a number of key private investors are at the point of signing a historic agreement which would make the colonial city host of one of the most important antiques showings south of the border.
"I believe we'll see the the agreement signed this year," an anonymous insider told us. "Despite the details that still need to be worked out between the parties involved, we are all committed to making it happen this year."
All that needs to be finalized at this point is the exact dates and location of the event. The Instituto Allende has tentatively offered its extensive installations to host the antiques fair while the motels and hotels association and other private investors have already offered to sponsor the event once given the go-ahead.
"The support we're seeing at this moment is overwhelming," we were told this April. "It may seem as a bit of a gamble, but I'd say mark the show on your calendar for November."
The tentative key weekend for the antique fair is Friday, November 16 to Sunday, November 18, but it is rumored the showing could last at least a week. Conferences, auctions and Mexican antique-related seminars are all part of the program organizers have in mind.
Knowing a good thing when they hear about it, at least 30 dealers from around Mexico and the United States have committed to participating in the show. Interested dealers, antiquers and artists are advised to contact the Instituto Allende or this magazine to reserve space and receive further updates.