Huntsville, Ala – Artist, author, actress and fashion icon Gloria Vanderbilt will be the guest curator of Adrián Villeta: Romantic Portraitist, an exhibition of 39 photographs—including the stunning image of Vanderbilt (above)—spanning 30 years in the professional career of this renowned artist. The exhibition will be on view from Sunday, February 2, through Sunday, May 4, 2014, in the Chan Gallery at the Huntsville Museum of Art (HMA) in Huntsville, Alabama.

“Adrián Villeta draws us into a sacred place where our spirit is restored by the beauty of his vision. Let yourself be drawn into these images, where you’ll find the heart of Adrián Villeta, and in so doing, discover a magical world…perhaps discover secrets about yourself,” said Vanderbilt.

HMA Executive Director Christopher J. Madkour invited Vanderbilt, who has known Adrián Villeta and his work for many years, to be the guest curator in order for the public to experience his vision as filtered through the eyes of another artist.

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Villeta considers himself a portrait artist, more than simply a photographer, in the style of the great masters of the genre such as British artist Julia Margaret Cameron and American artist John Singer Sargent. He combines painting and photography to capture in his work the grace and elegance of a bygone era, while celebrating the modern virtues of strength, independence and self confidence in his subjects.

“In my portraits, the subject is ‘welcomed into my world’ to become a character in it. Then, I seek to impart my stamp by making sure all elements of the portrait—surroundings, light, flowers, decorative objects and clothing—work in perfect harmony as a whole,” said the artist.

He first gets to know his sitters, talking with them in his French formal garden at his home in San Juan. Each photograph is later printed on black and white on fiber paper or c print (matte finish) with sepia tone and then hand painted in oil. His photos are based on a strict study. Through his in-depth analysis of various elements, such as light, color and atmosphere, and an insistent search to show unique details, each work is presented as a reality in itself. The past is just the basis for displaying a world of elegance, romance and glamour.

An advocate of traditional photography, Villeta holds a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. His work has been included in several exhibitions, and his portraits are part of important private collections.

The public is invited to a Preview Party on Saturday, February 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Huntsville Museum of Art. Guests will spend the evening with the artist, viewing his works before the exhibition opens to the general public, while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Later in the evening, Villeta will be on hand to sign copies of the exhibition catalogue, available in the Museum Store.

Sponsors for the exhibition and event include Cynthia and Rey Almodóvar, Joe Collazo, Donny’s Diamond Gallery, Dunagan, Yates & Alison Plastic Surgery Center, Finery, and In Bloom.

The preview party is cocktail attire, and tickets are $65 for Museum members and $85 for nonmembers. Individuals are encouraged to RSVP to 256-535-4350 ext. 208 or to purchase tickets online at by January 30.