Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492–1898 is the first major exhibition in the United States to explore the private lives and interiors of Spain’s New World elite from 1492 through the nineteenth century, focusing on the house as a principal repository of fine and decorative art. Through approximately 160 paintings, sculptures, prints, textiles, and decorative art objects, this exhibition presents for the first time American, European, and Asian luxury goods from everyday life as signifiers of the faith, wealth, taste, and socio-racial standing of their consumers. The exhibition explores themes including representations of the indigenous and Creole elite, rituals in the home, the sala de estrado (women’s sitting room), the bedchamber, and social identity through material culture.
Behind Closed Doors primarily consists of works from the Brooklyn Museum’s world-renowned collections as well as exceptional loans from distinguished institutions and private collectors. It is the first presentation of the Museum’s important Spanish colonial holdings since the groundbreaking 1996 exhibition Converging Cultures: Art & Identity in Spanish America. The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly catalogue with contributions by leading scholars of Colonial Spanish and British American art.
Produced with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Behind Closed Doors: Art in the Spanish American Home, 1492–1898 is organized by Richard Aste, Curator of European Art, Brooklyn Museum.