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Hacienda La Fortuna

Francisco Oller

European Art

In 1885 Oller was commissioned by José Gallart, an enterprising émigré from Barcelona, to paint “portraits” of his five Puerto Rican sugar-mill complexes, or ingenios. Oller would complete only two. Later that year, Gallart returned to Spain and displayed Hacienda La Fortuna and Hacienda La Serrano (on view nearby) in the study of his home outside Barcelona as a reminder of the source of his newfound American wealth—Caribbean sugar.

Puerto Rico’s sugar production, like that of almost all Caribbean islands, depended on the labor of enslaved people. When the island abolished slavery in 1873, the sugar industry declined dramatically. In his sparsely populated “portraits” of Gallart’s ingenios, Oller seems to refer to the increasing obsolescence of a commerce once fueled by the sweat of human chattel.

En 1885, José Gallart, un emprendedor expatriado de Barcelona, le encargó a Oller pintar “retratos” de sus cinco ingenios de azúcar puertorriqueños. Oller completaría solo dos. Ese mismo año, Gallart regresó a España y exhibió Hacienda La Fortuna y Hacienda La Serrano (ver la pintura cercana) en el estudio de su hogar, en las afueras de Barcelona, como un recuerdo de la fuente de su riqueza americana recién adquirida—el azúcar caribeño.

La producción azucarera de Puerto Rico, como la de casi todas las islas del Caribe, dependía de la labor de personas esclavizadas. Cuando la isla abolió la esclavitud en 1873, la industria azucarera declinó dramáticamente. En los “retratos” escasamente poblados de los ingenios de azúcar de Gallart, Oller parece referirse a la creciente obsolescencia de un comercio alguna vez impulsado por el sudor de los esclavos humanos.

MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1885
DIMENSIONS 26 x 40 in. (66 x 101.6 cm) Frame: 33 x 49 x 3 in. (83.8 x 124.5 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS European Art
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 2012.19
CREDIT LINE Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION Francisco Oller (Puerto Rican, 1833-1917). Hacienda La Fortuna, 1885. Oil on canvas, 26 x 40 in. (66 x 101.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange, 2012.19 (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2012.19_PS6.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2012.19_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
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