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Hacienda La Fortuna

Francisco Oller

European Art

Among the most celebrated Caribbean painters in the nineteenth century, Francisco Oller spent a number of years living and studying in Paris. There he absorbed and reconfigured the radical styles of Realism, with its democratic approach to everyday subject matter, and Impressionism, with its emphasis on spontaneous and momentary effects of light and atmosphere. Together these movements helped Oller form a unique artistic vision of his native Puerto Rico (then a Spanish colony), emphasizing its local plants, landscapes, traditions, and sugar production, the mainstay of the island’s economy.

In 1885 the Barcelona-based José Gallart Forgas commissioned Oller, who was of Spanish descent himself, to paint his five sugar mills, or ingenios, though this is the only one Oller completed. While the sparse landscape includes relatively few laborers, partly a result of Puerto Rico’s abolition of slavery nearly twelve years earlier, this scene is one of technological progress and efficiency, featuring a steam-operated mill at right and a cart track at left. This painting likely hung in the owner’s Barcelona home, serving as a symbol of the capital and technological advancements of his hacienda on the opposite side of the Atlantic
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1885
DIMENSIONS 26 x 40 in. (66 x 101.6 cm) Frame: 33 x 49 x 3 in. (83.8 x 124.5 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Francisco Oller (Puerto Rican, 1833–1917). Hacienda La Fortuna, 1885. Oil on canvas, 26 x 40 in. (66 x 101.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange, 2012.19 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2012.19_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2012.19_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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