November 22, 1966: “Ancient Art of Latin America,” comprising nearly 500 objects from the vast Jay C. Leff collection of primitive arts will open at The Brooklyn Museum on November 22. The exhibition occupies two galleries on the first floor and will remain on view until March 5, 1967.
Mr. Leff, president of the Fayette Bank and Trust Company in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, has assembled a remarkable collection of more than 2000 objects in relatively few years. Selections representing the high cultures of ancient Middle America and Peru are displayed in Brooklyn.
Sculpture predominates in the collection, particularly the large and small clay figures of the Pre-Columbian era. Outstanding are the rare and handsome modeled figures from eastern Mexico. Very little is known about them because so few have been found in recorded excavations. Older, but less anonymous are the engaging miniature clay figurines, complemented by contemporaneous pottery vessels and large hollow figures, illustrating the art of central Mexico during the peak of Preclassic times (1000-300 B.C.). This part of the collection includes one of the largest figures known, and two of the finest in the Olmec style, which is also represented by extraordinary stone sculpture and lapidary work.
Notable, too, is the Classic Veracruz sculpture, in the richly decorated traditional forms associated with the ceremonial ball game. There are also modeled effigy vessels of the Pacific Coast, sculpture and wood from both Peru and Mexico, and miscellaneous delights.
Different aspects of Mr. Leff's collection have been shown by the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, the American Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Primitive Art in New York, and by the American Federation of Arts.
An illustrated catalogue prepared by Elizabeth Easby, Acting Curator of Primitive Art, accompanies the exhibit.
Admission to “Ancient Art of Latin America" is fifty cents. Museum Members are admitted free.
Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1953 - 1970. 1966, 016-17.