Unknown Treasure, Vincente Alban Painting
Not known or recorded, an earliest and easily most exciting of all, an oil on oak panel by Vincente Alban. This, as yet undiscovered 18th century work was painted around 1768-70, never before shown or offered on the art market, harbored here for nearly 50 years. Though not the largest, far the most powerful by this extremely rare and incredibly talented Latin American artist. He was from Quito, Equador, painting there and up through the Amazon basin, imaging South American city folk with obvious ties to Spain, and, his most important few works, as this, he specifically painted the native Indian populace in their natural setting. Here, an Amazonian Chief and family. If, with hoped good images, it will loudly speak for itself. As fine condition as could be wished, if ever cleaned, it was only slightly, all its most delicate areas are completely intact and just as original. The oak panel is cracked horizontally across the middle, not seperated but needs support or bracing, a modest job, only for one that understands what they are holding. I have always left everything alone. There is no restoration, at that crack line, on either side of the painting,, some miniscule chips are as pinpoints. Back in the 18th century, the artist or a patron sent a gifted small set, a few paintings of a similar type series to the Crown in Spain, those now in a museum there, I believe it was the Prado. There exists. a fairly similar work showing a single feathered Amazonian, also said on oak panel, quite nice but not as important or in the condition of this wonderful work, I haven't found the time to re-find that..The Los Angeles County Museum of Art,purchased the two remaining paintings from a set of 6 at Sotheby's in 2014, for a total price of $641,000. for the pair, the other four were gotten by the Museo de América in Madrid and were shipped to Spain’s Royal Cabinet of Natural History in the late 18th century. The recent purchase of those is put to words by the curator, below. Of all mentions, only two are noted as signed. As said,this is another museum candidate, more will follow.
Curator, LACMABack in 1996, when I organized my first exhibition of Spanish colonial art in New York City, I included a group of fascinating works portraying racial types from Ecuador. The paintings were part of a set of six canvases, four of which had just been acquired by a private collector. The whereabouts of the two missing canvases was at the time unknown. Inscribed with the numeral 1 in the lower center, it was clear that this set was the first of two. The other series (bearing the numeral 2) is now in the Museo de América in Madrid and was shipped to Spain’s Royal Cabinet of Natural History in the late 18th century. It is signed by the Quito master Vicente Albán (active 1767–96). 18.5" x 13.75" 47cm. x 35cm.