A marble sculpture and twelve penguin carvings of the Spanish sculptor Francisco Vázquez Diaz, best known as Compostela, were added to the permanent collection of the Museum, as part of a donation made by the artist’s trust. Before this important donation, the institution owned various busts of Compostela and this gift completed the representation of the artist in the institution expanding the collection of the 20th century.
Compostela developed as an animalist sculptor and in the decade of the 1930’s he defined his affinity for one particular animal: the penguin. The satiric novel of the French writer Anatole France, The Island of the Penguins (1908), served as a source of inspiration to personify these animals. The artist was known for giving his sculptures different personalities in the context of human activities. Even thought, when Compostela arrived to the island the tradition of saint carvings already existed, the artist contributed greatly to the development of this art form, in Puerto Rico. Invited by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, he founded the workshop of contemporary sculpture that formed a generation of artists, like Tomás Batista y Rafael López del Campo, both worked with local woods. His contribution to education has gain Compostela the title of Father of the Puerto Rican Sculpture.