ART & DESIGN
Francisco Oller Exhibition Explores Impressionism and the Caribbean
By HOLLAND COTTERSEPT. 25, 2015
In the 19th century, Modernism traveled the world, and one of the places it flourished was in Puerto Rico, where the painter Francisco Oller was born in 1833. He had his initial art training in San Juan, then went abroad for further study in Spain and France. In Paris, he fell in with avant-garde artists who favored Courbet-inspired realism and a brand-new style, Impressionism. He painted side by side with Claude Monet and introduced Camille Pissarro, another Caribbean native, to Paul Cézanne. Unlike Pissarro, though, Oller didn’t stay in Europe. He returned to Puerto Rico, then still a Spanish colony, and made life there the theme of his art in landscape paintings of sugar plantations and still-lifes of tropical fruit.
“Impressionism and the Caribbean: Francisco Oller and His Transatlantic World,” which opens at the Brooklyn Museum on Friday, Oct. 2, assembles 84 of his pictures and surrounds them with work by earlier Puerto Rican artists and Oller’s famed French contemporaries. By demonstrating that Oller was at once avidly cosmopolitan and proudly provincial, and valuable for being both, the show pushes global art history forward another step. (Through Jan. 3, brooklynmuseum.org.)