Exhibition: "Legacy: Spain and the United States in the Age of Independence, 1763-1848. National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC

09/27/2008 to 02/10/2009

For the first time ever, a Smithsonian Institution's exhibition and symposium show the critical role that Spain played in the outcome of the American Revolution. This project was co-organized by the Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unidos and the Sociedad Estatal para la Acción Cultural Exterior (SEACEX), along with the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian Latino Center. Eduardo Garrigues, a board member of the Fundación Consejo España-Estados Unido, was the project's General Coordinator in Spain.

This exhibition illustrates the influence the Hispanic culture had on American social society and politics up until 1848, through portraits and original documents that explore Spain's role in the American Revolution. It begins in 1763-when the Treaty of Paris was signed and Spain controlled approximately one-half of the land that is now part of the United States- and continues through 1848, when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed to end the Mexican-American War.

On September 26, 2007, H.R.H. the Infanta Doña Elena inaugurated this magnificent exhibition (curated by Carolyn Carr and Mercedes Agueda) that brought together over 75 works of paintings, historical maps from Louisiana and Florida and original documents, such as the original manuscript of the Treaty of San Lorenzo, signed by Manuel Godoy and George Washington, amongst others

Some of the individuals represented by renowned artists include well known personalities of American history: "George Washington" by Charles Willson Peale, "Benjamin Franklin" by Joseph Siffred Duplessis and "Davy Crockett" by Chester Harding. The exhibition also demonstrates the connections between these Americans and political figures in Spain during the American Revolution and also individuals, both Americans and Hispanics, who governed over Florida, Louisiana, the Upper Mississippi, California and the southwest. For example, three men who determined Spain's foreign policy during the time of the American Revolution were King Carlos III, who is portrayed by court painter Anton Rafael Mengs; José Moñino, the Count of Floridablanca, who was prime minister and is portrayed by Folch de Cardona; and Pedro Pablo Abarca de Bolea, Count of Aranda, who was a longtime champion of the American cause and was painted by Ramón Bayeu, brother-in-law to the famed Francisco de Goya. The exhibition includes five portraits by Goya: those of the Count de Cabarrús, King Carlos IV of Spain, Félix Cólon de Larriategui, King Ferdinand VII of Spain and the General Don José de Urrutia.

This exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous sponsorships provided by BBVA, Grupo Barceló, Iberdrola, Iberia and The Walt Disney Company. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, the Ministry of Culture of Spain and the Embassy of Spain in the United States also contributed to the realization of this project.

To learn more, visit the Smithsonian Latino Center web page: http://www.latino.si.edu/SpainLegacy/Archive/index.html

To view a slideshow of the Exhibition, visit the National Portrait Gallery's web page: