The impressive 2nd Floor Gallery of The Hispanic Society of America The impressive 2nd Floor Gallery includes several paintings by Sorolla, Murillo, de Ribera and de Silva y Velazquez

The Hispanic Society of America was founded in 1904 by Archer Milton Huntington (1870-1955) and opened its doors at their current location on Audubon Terrace in 1908.  The Society is dedicated to the study of the arts and cultures of Spain, Portugal and Latin America and contains the largest collection of 19th century Spanish art and manuscripts outside of Spain.  This includes works by El Greco, Goya, and Velazquez. 

Newly restored Bancaja Gallery Newly restored Bancaja Gallery

Archer Milton Huntington was the stepson of railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington.  Divorced from his first wife, he remarried the prominent sculptor Anna Hyatt in 1923.  The outdoor plaza of Audubon Terrace houses some of her work, including the statue of El Cid and reliefs of Don Quixote and Boabdil.  She was the first woman artist to be elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The First Floor Entrance of the Museum The First Floor Entrance of the Museum

As you enter the museum’s compound through elaborate wrought iron gates, you will be on the land once owned by the naturalist John James Audubon.  It is across from the famous Trinity Cemetery, which is also worth exploring. While the Huntingtons lived on Fifth Avenue‘s Museum Mile, they preferred having the museum at a distance.

Upon entering the museum,  you will be facing the famous portrait “Dutchess of Alba” by Goya prominently on display.  The court is adorned with rare pieces, some from the 16th century.  Marble tombs are along the east end of the court.

Four of the panels painted by SorollaThe four panels above are described as (Left) “Valencia – Couples on Horseback”; (Center) “Elche: The Palm Grove”; (Right) “Seville: The Dance”

The Bancaja Gallery was renovated and restored in 2010 and houses 14 separate murals created by the Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla from 1911 to 1919.  These large murals depict each of the provinces of Spain and measure from 12 to 14 feet high.

The Rare Books Library The Rare Books Library

The rare books library holds 15,000 books printed before 1700, including a First Edition of Don Quixote.

Today, Audubon Terrace houses The Hispanic Society of America, The American Academy of Arts and Letters and Boricua College.  The Museum is free and open to the public six days a week.

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