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Comendador Baltar Collection

Commander José Ferreira Baltar was a man who loved our tradition and our past (FERNANDES, 1929. p.24), and this led him to collect, throughout his life, objects that represented different moments in Pernambuco history. The Comendador's collection was acquired by the government of the state of Pernambuco to compose the collection of the newly created Historical and Ancient Art Museum of Pernambuco, the current State Museum.

Comendador Baltar Collection

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Last update: 30/05/2023

By: Rodrigo Cantarelli - Architect and Museologist at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco - PhD in History

Comendador (someone who receives a commendation) José Ferreira Baltar was a man who loved our tradition and our past (FERNANDES, 1929 p.24), and that made him collect objects that represent different moments in Pernambuco history throughout his life.

In 1928, part of the collection of the Comendador was acquired by Pernambuco state government to make up the collection of newly created Pernambuco Historical and Ancient Art Museum, the current State Museum. This acquisition was made in two stages. The collection of paintings by Pernambuco artist Telles Junior was purchased first, and later the remainder of the collection belonging to the museum today was acquired through auction. This remainder can be divided into two major groups: Amazon Ethnography and Pernambuco Iconography. The first consists of approximately two hundred and fifty objects produced by ethnic groups in the Amazon region, and the second of about one hundred and eighty images and documents related to Pernambuco from the period of the Dutch invasion until the early 20th century.

Little is known about the formation of Comendador Baltar’s collection, and even less when it comes to the ethnography part. A very diverse collection, it includes ceramics, weapons, musical instruments, masks, headdresses, thongs, earrings and other utilitarian or adornment objects from various Amazonian ethnic groups like the Karajás, Cachibés and Anurinús, as well as Marajoara ceramics. The other part of the collection consists mostly of images of Pernambuco, and can be subdivided into three groups: the Dutch Occupation; Recife in the nineteenth century; and lastly, a collection of Telles Junior paintings.

In the collection acquired by the Comendador, today on display in several rooms of Pernambuco State Museum, is a large sequence of vistas focusing on the landscape of Recife and its surroundings, consisting of prints, paintings and photographs from different periods, documenting these scenarios, showing primitive aspects and reconstituting the Pernambuco, and in particular Recife, landscape over nearly three centuries of history.
Recife, 05 April 2015.

sources consulted

CANTARELLI, Rodrigo. Contra a conspiração da Ignorância com a maldade: A Inspetoria de Monumentos de Pernambuco. Recife: Editora Massagana. 2013.

FERNANDES, Anníbal. Relatório da Inspetoria Estadual dos Monumentos Nacionais: apresentado a 28 de Abril de 1928 ao Sr. Secretario da Justiça e Negócios Interiores. Recife: Imprensa Oficial, 1929. 62p.

O MUSEU do Estado de Pernambuco (catálogo). São Paulo: Banco Safra, 2003.

how to quote this text

CANTARELLI, Rodrigo. Comendador Baltar Collection. In: Pesquisa Escolar. Joaquim Nabuco Foundation, 2015. Available at: Accessed: month day year. (Exemple.: Aug. 6, 2009.)