San Antonio Museum or Art

Latin American Art

The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art

The San Antonio Museum of Art has one of the most comprehensive collections of Latin American art in the United States. The collection spans 4,000 years and contains paintings, sculpture, works on paper and other objects from Mexico, Central America, South America and countries of the Caribbean. It also contains an important collection of Spanish folk art from the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.   

The beginning of the Latin American collection goes back to the 1920s when the art collection was part of the San Antonio Museum Association located at what is now the Witte Museum. In 1981, when the Museum of Art opened in a new and separate complex, special galleries were dedicated to Pre-Columbian and Spanish art. In 1998, the Museum inaugurated the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American Art, a 30,000-square-foot building dedicated exclusively to Latin American art. The Pre-Columbian art gallery is comprised of three main sections, Mesoamerica, Central America and the Andes, each arranged in chronological order. The Spanish Colonial/Republican gallery includes paintings, sculpture, silver, furniture, ceramics and textiles from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and other parts of Latin America, as well as important paintings and decorative objects from the Republican Period of the nineteenth century. The Modern/Contemporary gallery features contemporary work from all over Latin America; highlights include excellent paintings from the Social Realism movement in Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century and good examples of work by leading members of the School of the South, centered in Uruguay. Finally, the Latin American Folk Art gallery contains one of the most important collections of its type in the world and is divided according to function.

Joaquin Castañon

San Isidro Labrador (Saint Isidore the Farmer), 1866


Jaguar Mask

Mexico, Guerrero, late 19th century


San Jacinto Yaguachi

Ecuador, 19th century


Seated Monkey

Mexico, Guanajuato, circa 1900



Mazatec Culture, Mexico, Oaxaca, San Felipe Jalapa de Díaz, circa 1910



Ecuador, mid-20th century


Conchero Dancers

Mexico, Aguascalientes, circa 1960