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Abigail Winograd

Museums have played a central role in the cultural life of Latin American countries from independence to the present. Art museums in particular have featured prominently in civic, nation-building discourse throughout the region, with the opening of such museums often occurring concurrently with major economic and political changes. Museums, wherever they were founded, helped shape collective and social understanding; they were the institutions par excellence in which hegemonic cultural realities could be defined and reflected.

In the 19th century, countries across the Americas gained their independence from European colonial powers. The newly founded republics urgently felt the need to distance themselves from their colonial pasts and endeavored to establish and construct new national identities. Latin American artists and governments began a concerted effort to celebrate their independence through arts and culture. Both paintings (the preferred form) and cultural institutions aimed to create and promote a usable past: a history replete with heroes, founding myths, and “indigenous” symbols of patriotism. These founding myths favored large-scale history paintings, portraits of liberators, and romantic landscapes, housed in museums built by local elites and governments who understood cultural institutions (art museums as well as encyclopedic museums) to be ideal locations to enshrine the project of a cohesive national identity....


Colin Harrison

(b Grasse, April 4, 1732; d Paris, Aug 22, 1806).

French painter, draughtsman, printmaker and museum official.

He was the only child of François Fragonard (1699–1781) and Françoise Petit, who both came from families of shopkeepers and glove-makers in Grasse. In 1738 the family moved to Paris, where, on the advice of François Boucher, Fragonard spent some time as a pupil of Jean-Siméon Chardin. He entered Boucher’s own studio c. 1749 and probably remained there for about a year. Boucher was then at the height of his fame, and Fragonard doubtless assisted the overworked master on important commissions, such as large tapestry designs. He also made numerous copies after paintings by Boucher, such as Hercules and Omphale (untraced; c L62), and by Rembrandt, such as Girl with Broom (untraced; c L19). In 1752 Fragonard entered the competition for the Prix de Rome, relying on Boucher’s influence to overcome the stipulation that all candidates had to be pupils at the Académie Royale. His winning entry, ...


Georg Paula

(b Zurich, 1737; d Vienna, April 1806).

Swiss administrator, painter, draughtsman and etcher, son of Johann Caspar Füssli. While training in his father’s workshop he etched 37 vignettes for the Geschichte und Abbildung der besten Mahler in der Schweiz (1755–7). He tried to continue his education in Vienna from 1759 but was unsuccessful and so became a secretary to the counts of Pallasch in Pressburg (now Bratislava). After a brief revisit to Zurich, he worked in Hungary from 1770, eventually becoming president of the tax commission for the Syrmier district in 1786. The death of Emperor Joseph II in 1790 left him without a job, but he was shortly afterwards summoned to Vienna to become court draughtsman. The knowledge of art shown in the writings he then produced led to his being appointed to set up and direct the Kupferstichkabinett and library of the Akademie der bildenden Kunste in 1800.

See also Füssli family [Fuseli]...