Honoring a Collector of Folk Art

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There was one more special exhibit at the Museum of Popular Arts that I wanted to see.  Until September, visitors will be able to see the private collection of Mexican handicrafts and folk art that belonged to Marie Therese Hermand de Arango.

Marie Therese Hermand de Arango was born in Egypt to an Egyptian mother and a Belgian father.  The family moved to Mexico when Marie Therese was a teenager, and she eventually married Manuel Arango Arias, member of a prominent family of businessmen and philanthropists.  From the time that she came to Mexico, Marie Therese was fascinated by Mexican folk art, and over the years she amassed a large, eclectic collection.  She was one of a group of women who worked for the creation of a museum dedicated to the rich tradition of Mexican artisans.  Their dream came to fruition in 2006 when Museum of Popular Arts opened in Mexico City.

Last December, Marie Therese Hermand de Arango passed away at the age of 74.  This exhibition is a tribute to her efforts toward the creation of the museum and her promotion world-wide of Mexican culture.

Here are some of the items from her personal collection that are on display at the museum…

I wouldn’t call this sophisticated punchbowl a work of “folk art”, but it is a beautiful example of the skill of Mexican silversmiths.

The town of Metepec is famous for its clay figures known as “Trees of Life”.  They originally were depictions of the story of Adam and Eve, but now portray a wide variety of themes.  The theme of this one is the Biblical story of the Creation.


A ceramic, hand-painted plate from the state of Michoacán


Another plate, this one an example of Talavera-ware from the city of Puebla.  The two figures are probably Isabel and Fernando (Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand) of Spain.


The coat of arms of Mexico is created from feathers.


A showcase filled with miscellaneous miniatures.


A showcase filled with Mexican jewelry.


A collection of small objects carved out of bone.


A couple of ceramic owls.


Small pieces of handiwork simply identified as “the work of nuns”.


A lacquered tray from the state of Michoacán.

 

A chest of inlaid wood.


A “serape” and a “sombrero”.


An embroidered picture of a bouquet done with gold thread.


A seashell etched with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe.


From the state of Oaxaca, this coconut shell is etched with a drawing of an iguana.


A ceramic donkey, from Tonalá, a town in the state of Jalisco that is famous for its pottery.


A large lion modeled from clay from the state of Guanajuato.

Thanks to people like Marie Therese Hermand de Arango, the Museum of Popular Arts preserves and promotes the nation’s rich tradition of handicrafts and folk art.

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