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Spanish Colonial Arts Society announces a gift of fine Peruvian art from the Beltrán-Kropp Foundation
Silver Panel of Abraham, Isaac & Angel. Mounted on black velvet board. Photo: Beltran Kropp Collection.

SANTA FE, NM.- The Spanish Colonial Arts Society announces the largest permanent gift of Peruvian art in its 87-year history; an exhibition of the gift items will open to the public in June 2013. The exhibition will include a permanent gift of sixty art pieces plus a large number of art objects on long term loan from the estate of Pedro Gerardo Beltrán Espantoso, Peru’s Ambassador to the United States (1944-45) and prime minister of Peru (1959-61), and his wife, Miriam Kropp Beltrán. The donated art includes such important pieces as a rare Eglomise (reverse glass) painting of the Madonna & Child, an exquisite silver panel of Abraham, Isaac & Angel, and a table with marquetry of incised ivory & tortoise shell. Among the other items donated to the Society include the entire set of Beltrán custom-made and engraved cobalt blue and gold dinner service for 46 people.

“These pieces have never before been seen by the general public,” said Donna Pedace, Director of the Spanish Colonial Arts Society. “We look forward to sharing these wonderful additions to the colonial art collection owned by the Society. The exhibition will allow us to serve our 87-year old mission to preserve, promote and educate the public about the art of the Spanish Colonies, and also to highlight the extraordinary lives of Pedro and Miriam Beltrán.”

Pedro Beltrán was a descendent of a Spanish conquistador and a member of the Peruvian aristocracy. Educated at the London School of Economics (1918), Beltrán returned to Peru and was involved in business and politics before becoming the owner and publisher of the once-prominent newspaper, La Prensa (1934-1974).

Beltrán was the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister of Peru from 1959-1961. He received honorary degrees from Yale, Harvard, and the University of California, and was a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia. He was also awarded the Maria Moors Cabot prize from Columbia University's School of Journalism. The Inter-American Press Society honored him as "Hero of Freedom of the Press" for his opposition to the Odria dictatorship in the 1950s.

The Beltráns moved from Peru in 1974 and relocated to Miriam’s family home on Russian Hill in San Francisco. They continued to travel the world and spent considerable time in Europe until Pedro’s death in 1979.

“This will help highlight the unique attributes and qualities of New Mexico’s Spanish Colonial art in the context of our role in the Spanish Colonial Empire, worldwide,” said John Schaefer, owner of Peyton Wright Gallery, one of the country’s largest dealers in Spanish Colonial Art. “Spanish Colonial art is the last great unexplored, undeveloped frontier in art in the world.”

The Spanish Colonial Arts Society collections were initiated in 1928. Today with 3,700 objects, the collections are the most comprehensive compilation of Spanish Colonial art of their kind. Dating from the Middle Ages to the New Millennium, the collections span centuries in art, place and time.

The summer and winter Traditional Spanish Markets produced by the Society represent the oldest and largest arts festivals in the country celebrating the traditional Hispanic arts. These events have recently been expanded to include a weeklong celebration of Hispanic culture and include music, food, and dance, drawing more than 80,000 visitors to Santa Fe and New Mexico. Over Market weekend, visitors can learn about the art first-hand from more than 250 exhibiting artists, who in turn benefit from the largest

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