Two 17th Century colonial paintings of enormous artistic and cultural value were returned to Peru, as part of an official ceremony held at the Peruvian Consulate based in New York City.
Painted by an anonymous author, the two pieces are part of the works painted under the guidance of the School of Huamanga, founded by Diego Tito Quispe, colonial Peru's most recognized indigenous painter.
The works returned by U.S. citizen Tracey Willfong are part of an original collection composed of 21 canvases. The paintings were commissioned at the end of the 16th Century by the Franciscan Congregation settled in the Peruvian Andes, and since then they were housed in Virgen Del Rosario Chapel located in Hualahoyo (Junin region).
Unfortunately, since the early 1990s, a series of systematic robberies completely dismembered this valuable art collection. So far, Peru has recovered a total of six pieces. Three canvases were repatriated from Chile and an additional piece has been recovered in the United States.
"This private initiative is a civic gesture of great value because it indicates that there is a growing awareness among private collectors today to denounce the possession of cultural assets that are part of the heritage of a nation
and to return them to their legitimate heirs," said Peruvian Ambassador to the U.S. Carlos Pareja.
The process of identification and follow-up of the recovered works, as well as the protocol of return, was jointly undertaken by the Peruvian Consulate in New York City, headed by Ambassador María Teresa Merino de Hart and Counselor of Public and Legal Affairs of the well-known house Christie's auctioneer, Sandra Cobden.
The collection of colonial paintings, of deep religious inspiration, represent the Creation, the Great Flood, and the Holy Family. The works recovered today will be repatriated to Peru in the coming weeks and will be exhibited at the Nation's Museum in Lima.