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Portrait of Lola Pacheco by Barbieri

Portrait of Lola Pacheco by Barbieri

Barbieri painting recently on loan to exhibition connected to Pacific Standard Time in Los Angeles

How museum collections support communities beyond their museum walls.

A painting from the de Saisset Museum’s permanent collection was recently on view at the Laguna Art Museum as part of an exhibition exploring the evolution of California from a Mexican territory to an American state. [Published May 4, 2018]

With over 13,000 objects of art and history in our collection, the de Saisset Museum is not able to display everything at once. Even though we exhibit works from our collection throughout the year in temporary exhibitions and through what we call “Permanent Collection (or PC) Encounters”, the majority of our collection is in storage at any given time. Ever so often, however, a work from our collection has the opportunity to be on view beyond our museum walls:

Most recently, the de Saisset Museum loaned the painting Maria Isidora (Lola) Pacheco Malarín (1852-53) by Leonardo Barbieri to the Laguna Art Museum for their exhibition California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820-1930. The exhibition highlighted California’s history by telling the story of its evolution from a Mexican territory to an American state. Both Californian and Mexican artists were represented through their depictions of rancho life, mission grounds, and the beauty of the burgeoning California. Barbieri himself lived in California for several years between the late 1840s and early 1850s living between the mission cities of San Francisco, Monterey, and Santa Barbara. During those years, he created portraits of several major Californio families, including the Pacheco-Malarin clan (for which Pacheco pass is named).

After careful review, the de Saisset Museum agreed to loan Barbieri’s painting for this exhibition and were delighted that the painting had this opportunity to be seen by a wider community.

Laguna Art Museum’s California Mexicana exhibition was part of the larger exhibition series Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. Presented by the Getty Museum and Bank of America, Pacific Standard Time was a collaborative exhibit across several Southern California museums that celebrated and explored Latin American and Latino/a art. Specifically, Pacific Standard Time aimed to accentuate the role that such art plays in the culture and history of Southern California.

Now, after several months away, Maria Isidora (Lola) Pacheco Malarín is safely back at the de Saisset and on display as part of our permanent California History exhibition.


Why do museums loan works of art?

Perhaps a lesser-known practice, many museums loan works of art from their permanent to other institutions for temporary exhibition display. This process enables outside institutions to curate exhibitions on themes, artists, artistic movements, and historical moments without the restriction of having to own the works of art. For institutions with a permanent collection, this practice can enable them to supplement works from their collection and/or draw points of comparison. For museums and art centers that may not have a permanent collection, they rely upon loans of artwork (from museums, galleries, collectors, and directly from artists) to be able to curate exhibitions.

But the benefit of “works on loan” does not rest solely with the borrowing institution. The museum, or entity, who loans the artwork also benefits. It provides the opportunity for their collection to be seen and appreciated by a larger audience.

While many considerations must be taken before a museum agrees to loan a work of art, --such as ensuring the safety and preservation of the work throughout its transportation and within its temporary location, -- the loan of work can be a wonderful way to make a collection more accessible to a wider range of audiences.




This article was written by SCU Student Emily Lindsay who works at the de Saisset Museum as the Marketing and Special Projects Assistant.


Leonardo Barbieri, Maria Isidora (Lola) Pacheco Malarin, 1852-33, oil on canvas, de Saisset Museum permanent collection, Santa Clara University, Gift of Monserrat Roca, 1.756.



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