Hacienda La Fortuna

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Oil on canvas
66 x 101.6 cm
Brooklyn Museum, New York, gift Lilla Brown in memory of her husband, John W. Brown, by exchange
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In 1885, Puerto Rican artist Francisco Oller was commissioned by the Barcelona-born sugar magnate José Gallart Forgas to paint what he called “portraits” of his Puerto Rican sugar mills. Oller completed two, including Hacienda La Fortuna. Here, the estate is seen on a misty morning in early January, and Oller emphasized the Caribbean setting by giving weight and space to the bright sky. The hazy fog emanating from the smokestack is proof that work is underway at the mill, but the figures who populate the painting and keep the mill running are diminutive, nearly absent.