Art and Latin America

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Casa Mañana: The Morrow Collection of Mexican Popular Arts

Edited by Susan Danly

Dwight and Elizabeth Morrow collected a colorful array of handmade ceramic pots, lacquerware trays, and striking textiles while at Casa Mañana, their Spanish-colonial style retreat in Cuernavaca, when he served as U.S. ambassador to Mexico in the late 1920s. Casa Mañana became far more than just a weekend refuge for the busy diplomatic couple. It became the tangible expression of his innovative diplomatic policies in which art and culture played a crucial role in shaping the relationship between Mexico and the United States. At Casa Mañana the Morrows entertained Mexico's leading political and cultural figures, and Elizabeth's love of traditional handicrafts merged with Dwight's political instincts to use popular, indigenous art and culture as a diplomatic tool to celebrate Mexico.

A guiding hand in the Morrow's efforts was provided by René d'Harnoncourt, later the director of the Museum of Modern Art. He not only selected pieces but also helped organize one of the first exhibitions of Mexican art in the United States, which included numerous objects from the Morrow collection and circulated to over a dozen major American cities in 1930-31.

One hundred and fifty-five pieces of the Morrow Collection, including rare historical examples of ceramics and lacquerware, were given to the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College in 1955. The five interpretive essays (presented in both English and Spanish) in this well-illustrated book place the Morrows' collecting activity in Mexico into historical context, explore the use of art and culture in diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States, and consider their support for such key modern artists as Diego Rivera.


Susan Danly is a former curator at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College.

Ilan Stavans is the Lewis-Sebring Professor of Latin American and Latino Culture at Amherst College.


"The book is a must for students of Mexico and Mexican art. It does more of a job of putting the art in context than other similar books. It reminds the reader that there was a fluid political and social climate that influenced everything that went on in Mexico."


Tradicion Revista

"For fellow admirers of Mexican art this book is a great catalog to browse through."


Rainbo Electronic Reviews

"This is an interesting book on popular art that also opens a window on the history of US/Mexican relations in the early twentieth century."


British Bulletin of Publications

"Anyone interested in post-revolutionary Mexican folk art and its intersection with Mexico's powerful northern neighbor would do well to look at this handsome and highly intelligent work."


The Americas

Published in association with the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

8 x 10 in. 216 pages 28 color plates, 1 drawings, 83 halftones