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Old Master is new to you: Exhibit spotlights the ‘Missing Impressionist’

The Brooklyn Paper
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It is time for this artist to make an impression!

The Brooklyn Museum is shining a spotlight on the “Missing Impression­ist” — an Old Master unjustly ignored because of his origin in the New World. The exhibit “Impression­ism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and his Transatlantic World,” on display until January 3, places the work of the first Latino Impressionist painter in context with other artists across the world.

“When we decided to do a show of Oller’s work, we knew we had to present it in a global context,” said Brooklyn Museum curator Rich Aste. “We live in a global community, much as he did, and I think it is important to show his art that way, especially in Brooklyn.”

The Puerto Rico-born Oller worked alongside well-known French artists Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and he trained Paul Cezanne. But he has largely escaped public attention outside of Puerto Rico, says Aste, because much of Oller’s work is concentrated in his island home. The Brooklyn Museum is one of the few North American museums to permanently house one of Oller’s paintings: “Hacienda La Fortuna,” which features a Puerto Rican sugar plantation whose sugar would have been bound for the Brooklyn sugar refinery that later became the iconic Domino Sugar Refinery.

“While we cannot be credited for making the historic link, our collection committee was very enthusiastic about the idea of having such a historic piece with ties to Brooklyn,” Aste said.

The show gathered paintings from museums and private collectors across the globe. Once it finishes its run at the Brooklyn Museum, the exhibit will travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico for another three month display.

Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and his Transatlantic World at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Pkwy at Washington Avenue in Prospect Park, (718) 638–5000, brooklynmuseum.org]. Oct. 2–Jan. 3. Suggested $16 contribution.

Reach reporter Harry MacCormack at hmaccormack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @HMacBKPaper.

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