LACMA Curator Receives Mysterious Letter from a Missing Painting

Miguel Cabrera, “3.  From Spaniard and Castiza, Spanish Girl (detail)” (1763), oil on canvas
Miguel Cabrera, “3. From Spaniard and Castiza, Spanish Girl (detail)” (1763), oil on canvas
(Image: LACMA)

A mysterious letter penned in a first-person style, as if a painting is speaking, was sent to a curator at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), reported the Los Angeles Times.

The painting at the center of the letter is “Española” (Spanish girl), the final, missing work in a set of 16 casta paintings by Miguel Cabrera (circa 1715–1768) — "a uniquely Mexican genre of ethnographic paintings showcasing children as the result of interracial relationships among the viceroyalty of New Spain colonies," notes Hyperallergic.

LACMA curator of Latin American art, Ilona Katzew, received the letter in 2015 as she prepared for the comprehensive exhibition Painted in Mexico, 1700-1790: Pinxit Mexici, which opens Nov. 19 at the museum.

“You should know that I am well and living less than two (2) miles from LACMA,” “Española” wrote. “I have been in the same family for I believe 60 years, although I do not know how I was acquired.”

Since no contact information was given, Katzew was unable to find the painting, or its owner, but the letter makes for good publicity before the exhibition opens.

More News Feed Headlines

Giorgio Morandi Natura morta, 1958 oil on canvas, 11 3/4 × 13 3/4 in Paesaggio, 1942 oil on canvas, 19 5/8 × 17 3/4 in © Giorgio Morandi, by SIAE 2018

New Contemporary Art Museum to Debut in Florence

  • March 18, 2018 19:53

Art collector Roberto Casamonti, founder of the Tornabuoni Art gallery, will open a contemporary ...

Read More

Richard Meier, in 1986

Sotheby's Show, Getty Honor Cancelled After Harassment Claims Against Architect Richard Meier

  • March 14, 2018 21:53

The New York Times reported Tuesday that renowned Pritzker Prize-winning architect Richard Meier ...

Read More

Helen Molesworth

LA's MOCA Fires Chief Curator Helen Molesworth

  • March 14, 2018 12:08

The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (MOCA) has ousted its chief curator, Helen Molesworth, ...

Read More

Missing painting

Nearly $2 Million in Hudson River School Paintings Stolen From Warehouse

  • March 13, 2018 22:57

An art owner notified police last summer that his collection of 19th-century paintings worth ...

Read More

Related Press Releases


ArtfixDaily Artwire