Congratulations to Professor Edward J. Sullivan, whose most recent book, From San Juan to Paris and Back: Francisco Oller and Caribbean Art in the Era of Impressionism, was published this month by Yale University Press.
Francisco Oller (1833-1917) was born in Puerto Rico and studied in Spain and France, earning wide recognition for his painting on both sides of the Atlantic. Oller studied under Thomas Couture and was greatly inspired by Gustave Courbet, and had a long-standing friendship with Paul Cézanne. In Europe, where he spent some twenty years during the course of four different trips, he exhibited alongside Sisley, Monet, and Pissarro, among others, and played a role in the development of Realism, Impressionism, and Naturalism. In Puerto Rico he painted landscapes, still lifes and scenes of Puerto Rican life. He was a passionate abolitionist and teacher who, throughout his career, founded ten academies for art instruction for all sectors of society.
In the initial chapters of his book, Professor Sullivan examines the Caribbean as a region of intense creative energy throughout the nineteenth century. He then considers Oller himself and the transatlantic life, career, influence, and context of this important but neglected artist, highlighting his contributions to the development of modern art in Europe and the Caribbean.
A related exhibition, “Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and his Transatlantic World,” co-curated by Professor Sullivan with Richard Aste, Curator of European Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, will open on June 15, 2015 at the Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin. The show will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in October 2015 and to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan in January 2016.
Edward J. Sullivan is Helen Gould Sheppard Professor of Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts and the Department of Art History, New York University. He is a leading authority on Latin American and Caribbean art and modern art of the Iberian Peninsula.