Recovered Memories: Spain, New Orleans, and the Support for the American Revolution
Delve into the shared history of Spain and Louisiana through an exhibition at the Cabildo in Jackson Square from Saturday, April 21, through Sunday, July 8. Recovered Memories: Spain, New Orleans, and the Support for the American Revolution, organized by Iberdrola S.A. in association with the Louisiana State Museum, will showcase hundreds of historic artifacts, documents, and works of art exploring Spain’s influence on the development of New Orleans, its support of the American Revolution, and Spain’s lasting legacy on American culture.
“The legacy of Spanish influence on colonial Louisiana and the young United States of America echoes still today,” said Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, whose office oversees the Cabildo and the Office of State Museum. “Spain's administration of colonial New Orleans – housed in the Cabildo, which will soon feature this incredible exhibition – was not just a footnote to the city's rise and development, but a significant demonstration of Spanish support for the American Revolution and the founding of our country.” Recovered Memories: Spain, New Orleans, and the Support for the American Revolution showcases Spain’s support for the American colonies prior to and during the Revolutionary War, as well as notable Spanish figures whose lives impacted the emerging new country. The exhibit takes the visitor on a chronological journey of Spanish-American relations, beginning with Spain’s own Age of Enlightenment during the reign of Charles III through the times of European and American revolutions to the technological advancements at the turn of the 20th century.
Robe à l’Anglaise, ca. 1780–1790. Courtesy of Museo del Traje, CIP, Madrid.
Highlights from Spain include important works from noted Spanish painters such as Francisco de Goya, Luis Paret, Joaquín Sorolla and Ignacio Zuloaga; original portraits of Spanish colonial Louisiana governors Antonio de Ulloa and Bernardo de Gálvez, that have never before been shown out of the country; the original British flag captured upon their defeat at the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1779; period clothing including an ensemble worn by 18th century Spanish diplomat Diego de Gardoqui; naval models; and other historic artifacts and documents. “Recovered Memories seeks to provide the visitor with an engaging and carefully documented survey of Spain’s contribution to the founding of the United States,” said José Manuel Guerrero Acosta, curator of the exhibit. “The exhibition also focuses on the traces left by the Spanish presence in the United States, and more particularly in Louisiana and New Orleans. Finally, it returns to the present, with detailed information on Spain’s social, cultural and business ties to the United States from the late 19th century to today.”
Antonio de Ulloa, the first Spanish governor of Louisiana. Andrés Cortés, ca. 1856. Photograph by Pepe Morón. Courtesy of the Municipal Collection of Seville.
“The American and Spanish squadrons heading to capture the Bahamas, 1782.” Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau, 2017. Oil on canvas.Private collection.
The exhibition also features extraordinary 18th-century items from the Louisiana State Museum’s own important holdings including Spanish weapons; portrait paintings by José Salazar; and fascinating documents from the Louisiana Historical Center Collection including an oath of allegiance signed by the free black militia, and an original broadside issued by Governor Alejandro O’Reilly as he asserted Spanish rule over colonial Louisiana in 1769. “The Louisiana State Museum preserves, interprets, and celebrates our state’s history, art, and culture,” said interim director, Steven Maklansky. “This exhibition underscores the local pride that we have in our diverse heritage, and the national and international importance and relevancy of our mission and our collections.”
The Swing, Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, 1779. Oil on canvas. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
The Cabildo itself has strong ties to Spain, having been built under Spanish rule during 1795–1799 and serving as the seat of the Spanish government for much of the period from 1762–1803. The building also was the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer in 1803, which finalized the United States’ acquisition of the Louisiana Territory and doubled the size of the young nation. The Recovered Memories exhibition will serve as one of the many highlights during the city of New Orleans’ Tricentennial celebrations throughout 2018. Ignacio Galán, Chairman and CEO of Iberdrola and Chairman of Avangrid said: “Recovered Memories gives us an idea of the remarkable scope of Spain’s aid, which contributed so much to US independence. “The United States is a priority focus in the Group’s international expansion, and we are proud to be present in America through our subsidiary Avangrid, one of the country’s main power companies, working across 27 states.”
Entrance fees to the museum, from April 21 through July 8, will be $12 per person for adults, $10 per person for students (age 7-18), seniors (age 62 and over), military personnel, and free for children age six and under.
Along with the member’s event at the Cabildo, April 22nd, the Friends of the Cabildo has created a series of educational programs supporting the exhibit, which will be free and open to the public at the New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint’s third-floor performance space.
April 5: 2nd Thursday Lecture: Spanish Colonial Louisiana History Lecture
May 10: 2nd Thursday Lecture: Spanish Colonial Musical Performance
June 25: Spanish Colonial Fashion Program
Friends of the Cabildo will also conduct special French Quarter Walking tours concentrating on Spanish history. More information will be available at friendsofthecabildo.org
Iberdrola is one of the world’s largest electric utilities by market capitalization and a leading renewable energy producer, championing the electricity industry’s fight against climate change. The company provides energy to over 100 million people around the world, mostly in USA, Mexico, Brazil, UK and Spain. Iberdrola group is committed to sustainable value creation for the communities in all countries where it operates. In particular, it supports the preservation of the artistic, cultural and historical heritage while promoting education. Iberdrola´s subsidiary AVANGRID, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a diversified energy and utility company through two primary lines of business, Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks is comprised of eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving approximately 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables leads the US renewables energy market, operating wind and solar power plants.
Marianne Celeste Dragon. Attributed to F. Godefroid, after José Francisco Xavier de Salazar y Mendoza, ca. 1795. Oil on canvas. Gift of John T. Block. Louisiana State Museum 05750
Jack Baptiste Wiltz. Attributed to Charles Peale Polk, ca 1815. Oil on canvas. Louisiana State Museum 7326