Chapter 1: Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, A Passion for Latin America

Forty years ago, Patricia “Patty” Phelps de Cisneros saw that Latin American artists were worthy of international attention. Growing up in the sophisticated and cosmopolitan city of mid-century Caracas, Venezuela, Patty’s eye was formed by the abstraction favored by the artists whose work could be seen everywhere in that city.

As she traveled with her husband, Gustavo Cisneros, she became aware of outstanding artists in other Latin American countries, and she made it her mission to change art history’s mind about Latin American art. Working with Gustavo to formulate the Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros (CPPC), she became a catalyst for the recognition of Latin America’s contributions global art history. The couple decided to launch an extensive, international program of lending works from the collection so that they could be seen by large numbers of people across the world; the CPPC partnered with scholars and other institutions to further knowledge about art from the region; published a number of books about the collection as well as in-depth conversations with individual artists; and the CPPC launched a website that serves as a lively, journal-format online forum for art and ideas for Latin America.