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Palabras de Su Alteza Real el Príncipe de Asturias en la Hispanic Society of America

EE.UU.(Nueva York), 07.10.2004

G

ood evening!, I'm so glad to be back in New York with all of you, friends of the Hispanic Society of America. Three years after my last visit to the museum. I'm specially happy to be here with you tonight together with my wife, Princess Letizia, when we all gather to celebrate the centennial of such a unique and prestigious cultural institution. But let me add that I find quite remarkable that so many of you have come over from Spain for such an occasion, both to admire the magnificent collection of Spanish art and literature treasured by the Hispanic Society, and to join this celebration of its 1st hundred years of existence. So thank you and welcome to all those who have traveled from far for this occasion; and ...congratulations to Hispanic Society of America!

Allow me now to remember the founder, Archer Milton Huntington:  he was a unique and generous person who, in addition to his knowledge of history and art, had a specially great interest in Spanish culture. I think it was true love and devotion what he had for our culture. He dreamt of establishing a "Spanish museum" in the United States which, in his words,  would "... condense the soul of Spain into meaning through the work of the hand and the spirit". He then came to transform his dream into reality by setting up the Hispanic Society of America. He certainly deserves to be remembered by us with deep respect and gratitude for his achievement.

This morning I had the privilege of visiting the museum once again- It was my wife's first- and the impressive art collection always elicits surprise. The extensive coverage of different periods of art, but also the variety and specially the quality of all the pieces, make it a must for any visitor to this city with any interest on our art.

There is no doubt that Huntington fulfilled his goal to represent the soul of the Spanish people through art.  Thanks to his determination and his exceptional knowledge of everything Spanish, it became and still is the most important collection of Spanish art outside Spain.

His aim was not merely that of a collector, of whom there were many at the time.   He planned to start up the Spanish Museum coinciding with the inception of the Hispanic Society, in order to promote and expand knowledge of Hispanic art in the United States.  He also helped to introduce early 20th century Spanish artists into this country, and it was through his sponsorship that works of Spanish artists found their way into museums and private collections in the United States.        Por eso podemos hoy celebrar el hecho de que a lo largo de los últimos 100 años, la Hispanic Society se haya convertido en un centro clave de conocimiento y en el estudio de una cultura que es común para más de 400 millones de personas (más de 45 millones en este País). Una cultura que es integradora, que está abierta al mundo.

Nos entusiasma este Centenario, porque que una institución como la Hispanic Society of América es hoy más necesaria que nunca. Su legado no debe perderse ni podemos dormirnos en los laureles por lo logrado hasta la fecha. Un Museo debe adaptarse a los tiempos y ello conlleva grandes retos y grandes oportunidades.

Profundizar en el estudio y conservación de sus colecciones, incorporar nuevas tecnologías y técnicas museísticas, participar en proyectos compartidos y en exposiciones con otras instituciones, y realizar su aspiración de hacer sus tesoros más accesibles a los ciudadanos de esta ciudad y sus numerosos visitantes, todo ello exige un arduo e intenso trabajo y mucho apoyo.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe it is now time for me to extend our warmest gratitude to the President and the Board of the Hispanic Society together with the co-chairmen of this gala for their kind invitation. Once again, Happy Anniversary!. Also, I would like to congratulate the Director, curators, researches and all the staff responsible for the operation of the Society.

A word of thanks also goes to the Friends of the Hispanic Society, to all those who work closely with this institution and, of course, to all of you here tonight. Your backing is very necessary in order to continue the Society's mission with all its potential.

Let me finish by expressing my own faith in the future of the Hispanic Society of America. Princess Letizia and I wish you a bright and successful new century.

Though, I'm sorry, I cannot promise you that we will be able to join you for that party!!.

Thank you very much.

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