Meadows Museum and Museo del Traje to collaborate on fashion exhibition
Image: courtesy of Meadow Museum by Michael Bodycomb

The Meadows Museum in Dallas has announced a major exhibition of Spanish fashion that will pair paintings from its collection with historic dress and accessories from the Museo del Traje (Spanish National Museum for Fashion) in Madrid.

‘Canvas and Silk: Historic Fashion from Madrid’s Museo del Traje’ marks the first major collaboration between the Spanish institution and an American museum. The exhibition will chart the story of how fashion trends in Spain have changed over five hundred years, revealing how elements of a country’s history, such as its involvement with global trade and the formation of a national identity is reflected in its dress.

Opening on September 19, 2021, until January 9, 2022, the exhibition will include approximately 40 works from the Meadows alongside examples of dress and accessories from the Museo del Traje, divided into themes that elucidate various trends in the history of European fashion in general and Spanish dress.

These include ‘Precious Things’ featuring accessories like jewellery and combs made from precious metals and other rare materials such as coral, alongside ‘Traditional Dress’ showcasing examples of garments and ensembles that are typically identified with Spain, such as a traje de luces, the suit typically worn by bullfighters, and mantón de Manila, the traditional embroidered silk shawls historically traded through Manila, and ‘Stepping Out’ demonstrating the importance of what one wore when presenting themselves in public.

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Image: courtesy of Meadow Museum by Kevin Todora; Museo del Traje, Madrid by Munio Rodil Ares

Highlights of pairings include Ignacio Zuloaga’s The Bullfighter ‘El Segovianito’ (1912) accompanied by a traje de luces of the same colour, Zuloaga’s Portrait of the Duchess of Arión, Marchioness of Bay (1918) displayed alongside a mantón de Manila similar to the one the duchess is holding, and Joan Miró’s Queen Louise of Prussia (1929) paired with a vibrantly hand-painted dress and shoes by twentieth-century fashion designer Manuel Piña.

Spanish fashion-themed exhibition coming to Meadows Museum in Dallas

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Image: courtesy of Meadow Museum by Michael Bodycomb; Museo del Traje, Madrid by Gonzalo Cases Ortega

Amanda W. Dotseth, curator at the Meadows Museum and co-curator of the exhibition in collaboration with Elvira González of the Museo del Traje, said in a statement: “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to gain further insight into the Meadows’s collection of Spanish art through its exhibition with loans from Spain’s premier collection of historic dress. This exhibition makes it possible to tell a more nuanced story about Spanish society through the presentation of historic paintings with contemporaneous examples of the garments depicted therein. We are as never before able to explore the complex relationships between representation and reality, or between image and artifact.

“Spanish fashion has long been a point of interest for the Meadows Museum, whether in the form of past exhibitions – such Balenciaga and His Legacy: Haute Couture from the Texas Fashion Collection in 2007 – or as portrayed in the collection’s prints, paintings, and sculptures. We look forward to continuing our study and display of Spanish fashion with this unprecedented collaboration with the Museo del Traje.”

Museo del Traje to showcase fashion collection for first time in the US

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Image: courtesy of Meadow Museum by Kevin Todora; Museo del Traje, Madrid by Lucía Ybarra Zubiaga

Elvira González, curator of the historic apparel collection at the Museo del Traje, said: “By pairing the Museo del Traje’s collection with that of the Meadows’s, we are bringing the dress, accessories, and other material objects to life, enabling viewers to see the contexts in which such articles were worn.

“Viewed together, the clothing allows for a deeper understanding of the painting; for example, the presence of the mantón de Manila (embroidered Manila silk shawl) in Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta’s painting Portrait of the Duchess of Arión, Marchioness of Bay (1918) speaks to the social position of the woman depicted. Not only will our collection be seen by audiences in the US for the first time, but it will also be displayed in a completely new light. We’re excited to see what kind of scholarship and new ideas might be generated by presenting these works in a new environment and alongside these paintings and drawings.”

Meadows Museum to investigate Mexican dress

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Image: courtesy of DeGolyer Library, SMU

Alongside the fashion exhibition, the Meadows Museum will also present ‘Image and Identity: Mexican Fashion in the Modern Period,’ an investigation into Mexican dress spanning from Mexican Independence to modern times through photographs and prints from the collections of the Meadows Museum and SMU’s DeGolyer Library.

Curated by Akemi Luisa Herráez Vossbrink, the Center for Spain in America (CSA) curatorial fellow at the Meadows Museum, the exhibition will feature photographs, prints, books and gouaches from the 19th and 20th centuries, including artists Alfred Briquet, Carlos Mérida, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Jerry Bywaters, Paul Strand and Manuel Álvarez Bravo.

It will explore Mexican fashion through images of everyday scenes, festivities, regional types and occupations, while also building on a theme developed in ‘Canvas and Silk’, by showing how national identity formation is reflected in fashion and is often accompanied by a resurgence in the popularity of indigenous dress.

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Image: courtesy of DeGolyer Library, SMU

The Meadows Museum in Dallas is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. Its collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters.

The Museo del Traje in Madrid is the primary museum dedicated to clothing in Spain and houses collections including both historical and traditional clothing, as well as the latest designs from the twenty-first century.

‘Canvas and Silk: Historic Fashion from Madrid’s Museo del Traje’ and ‘Image and Identity: Mexican Fashion in the Modern Period’ will run from September 19, 2021, until January 9, 2022.


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