Over the past ten years, approximately 300 works of Spanish and Latin American folk art have been donated to the San Antonio Museum of Art by collector and folk art specialist Peter P. Cecere. This gift is the most important addition to SAMA’s folk art collection since the Rockefeller/Winn donations of 1985.
Cecere, a career foreign service officer, began collecting as a boy and energetically acquired folk art for over 50 years. His early collections were mainly American, but later, as his work carried him abroad, he concentrated on Spanish and Latin American material. For Cecere, building, maintaining, and researching his collections became a real passion, and the intensity of his attachment to these objects is strongly apparent. His eye was both aesthetically sophisticated and culturally sensitive, and this, coupled with his keen intellect and strong penchant for the rare and exotic, adds to the special importance of the collection. Cecere concentrated on objects that were central to the societies that produced and used them, making his collection an important window on the values and perspectives of those societies. As a cultural affairs officer, Cecere was encouraged to explore cultural patterns and social structures of his host countries, and folk art allowed him to pursue passionately these dimensions more deeply.
Pasión Popular is comprised of approximately 200 objects, dating from the 18th century to modern times. Objects have been skillfully crafted of wood, cloth, metal, clay, tar, and stone, and their sizes vary from small to monumental. They are grouped into categories that bespeak their function, i.e. devotional, utilitarian, recreational, and decorative, and are augmented by photographs and other contextual information.