Release Date: June 30,2016
By PAUL GONZALEZ, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
June 29, 2016
A collection of Fiesta inspired artwork will be on display July 7 to Aug. 28, at Sullivan Goss - An American Gallery.
The showroom will be re-painted and decorated to match the Old Spanish Days theme and the 24-painting exhibit that features American and foreign artists.
At the center of it all is the iconic "La Bamba" oil painting by Mexican artist Jesus Helguera in the late 1940s.
Sullivan Goss sculpture curator Nathan Vonk compared Helguera to his well-known American contemporary Norman Rockwell.
"We've all seen those sort of idealized portraits of everyone sitting around the Thanksgiving table; Helguera did similar things for Mexican heritage."
Fiestagoers come to visit "La Bamba" every year because it is the only known production available for viewing in the United States, Mr. Vonk said.
Only a select few were done on commission, he said.
"It's a really beautiful painting and if you were from Veracruz, where Helguera was from, you would see that painting instantly know that they were dancing and what music was playing."
"It is a very culturally identifying piece and the only one in the U.S. that you could potentially come and see is the one we have for sale here."
Also on display will be a Dan Lutz's "Evening Conversation," which features a trio of mariachis painted in oil on canvas.
A Midwestern native, Mr. Lutz moved to California and eventually Mexico to pursue art before retiring in Montecito.
"A lot of guys after the Second World War got G.I. bills to go to an art school in San Miguel, Mexico, so a lot of these California modernist guys met each other and painted together down there," Mr. Vonk said.
In addition to the artwork, a classical Spanish guitar player and vocal accompaniment will perform at the art show on Aug. 4.
"It gets bigger every year because people starting expecting it so it becomes a part of their celebration of Fiesta, to come here and see the Helguera painting and rest of the pieces we've put together," Mr. Vonk said.
"It's an important and fun part of being a part the community and celebrating the area's Spanish heritage."