History of the Collection

The New Mexico State University Art Gallery holds the largest public collection of retablos—religious images painted on tin plates—in the United States. From 1963 to 1973, an important art collection started with generous donations of several Mexican retablos and objects related to sacred art by Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Babey, Pamela Babey, Dr. Reginald Fisher, Dr. and Mrs. Ezra K. Neidich, Mr. C. Andrew Sutherland, Mr. Fran E. Tolland, Ms. Helen McClure and Mr. Victor E. Clarence. Presently, the Art Gallery holds more than 2,000 retablos. Precedents for these retablos can be traced to paintings on wood, copper, and canvas by European and Mexican artists between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries