Sample of American Birds (inscribed "Calandria, Pajaro Mulato, Golondrina, Alcatruz, Sarjento, Cardenal, Gavilan)
- Buenaventura José Guiol
Buenaventura José Guiol, Sample of American Birds (inscribed "Calandria, Pajaro Mulato, Golondrina, Alcatruz, Sarjento, Cardenal, Gavilan), about 1770-1780. Oil paint on canvas; 23¾ × 21¼ in. Gift of the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer, 2013.321.2.
In the 1700s, as the intellectual ideas of the Enlightenment spread around the world, there was an increased interest in depicting secular (non-religious) themes in art, such as the classics and science. This painting and its mate (2013.321.1) show a variety of both real and mythical New World birds. The birds are labeled (clockwise): Calandria, Pajaro Mulato, Golondrina, Alcatruz, Sarjento, Cardenal, Gavilan. Both paintings are signed “Guiol fecit en Mexico” [Guiol made in Mexico].
Paintings such as these attempted to scientifically classify the New Spanish world for a European audience, similar to casta paintings (2011.428.1-.16) In fact, the creator of these paintings, Buenaventura José Guiol, of which very little is known, painted at least two surviving series of castas (MFA Boston, private collection). The DAM bird paintings were part of a larger series since these two are numbered on the back as “2” and “3”. Like many castas, these paintings may have been made for export to Spain, where they were collected. And indeed recently four other paintings of New World fauna resurfaced in a private collection in Paris.
--Julie Wilson Frick and Donna Pierce, 2015
- Exhibited 2004, "Painting a New World: Mexican Art and Life, 1521-1821," Meadows Museum, Dallas, TX. Exhibited 2005, "Patronato, Painting from Baroque Mexico: Selected Works from the Collection of Frederick and Jan Mayer," Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
- "Collecting a New World: Spanish Colonial Art from the Jan and Frederick R. Mayer Collection," Apr 2-May 14, 2005, Lamont Gallery, Phillips Exeter Academy
- "Heaven and Earth: The Jan and Frederick Mayer Collection of Spanish Colonial Art from the Denver Art Museum, Jun 16-Oct 8, 2006, Museo de las Americas, Denver
- “ReVision: Art in the Americas” — Denver Art Museum, 10/24/2021 – 7/17/2022