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Meadows Museum purchases Late Goya Portrait

October 15, 2013

Lot 103. FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES FUENDETODOS 1746 - 1828 BORDEAUX PORTRAIT OF MARIANO GOYA, THE ARTIST'S GRANDSON inscribed by the artist on the reverse:  Goya á su/ nieto en 1827/ á/ los 81 de su/ edad [Goya, to his grandson, at 81 years old] oil on canvas: 20 1/2  by 16 1/4  in.; 52 by 41.2 cm. Estimate: $6-8 million

Lot 103. FRANCISCO JOSÉ DE GOYA Y LUCIENTES
FUENDETODOS 1746 – 1828 BORDEAUX
PORTRAIT OF MARIANO GOYA, THE ARTIST’S GRANDSON
inscribed by the artist on the reverse: Goya á su/ nieto en 1827/ á/ los 81 de su/ edad [Goya, to his grandson, at 81 years old]
oil on canvas: 20 1/2 by 16 1/4 in.; 52 by 41.2 cm.
Estimate: $6-8 million

In January 2013 at the New York Old Master sales at Sotheby’s, this portrait by Goya went unsold after bidding stopped at $5.6 million and the work missed its $6-8 million estimate.  Now word comes that the Meadows Museum in Dallas, TX, has purchased the painting in advance of its 50th anniversary in 2015. According to the museum’s press release: “The work — which has not been on display for more than 40 years — is one of Goya’s last paintings, finished just months before his death.” In addition, “Funding for the acquisition was provided by The Meadows Foundation and a gift from Mrs. Eugene McDermott.”

The release continues:

The Meadows has one of the foremost collections of Spanish art in the world — spanning the 10th through 21st centuries — enabling the museum to present this masterwork within the context of the historic sweep of art from Spain. As a leader in research on the art of Spain, the Meadows will foster scholarship on the new Goya work and its significance.

“The Meadows Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2015, and the acquisition of this extraordinary work by Goya is a wonderful way to begin that celebration,” said Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, SMU.

The Goya is a late portrait painted a year before the artist’s death in 1828; it depicts his grandson Mariano.  According to the Sotheby’s auction catalogue lot notes:

Goya adored his grandson.  In September 1823 he had given him the Quinta del Sordo, his house on the outskirts of Madrid, which was decorated with the celebrated Black Paintings.  In Bordeaux he set aside a large portion of his pension in order to provide for Mariano and in 1827, on his brief visit to Madrid, he painted the present work, showing a remarkably handsome young man not yet twenty-one years old.  As depicted by his grandfather, Mariano looks frank and straightforward, but unfortunately he did not live up to his portrait.  He was a reckless and wasteful young man, who bought an aristocratic title to prop himself up and squandered the money his grandfather left him.   Eventually he sold all the works by Goya that belonged to the family, although how and when this portrait left the collection remains undocumented.  Fortunately Goya died in 1828 and so did not witness any of this.

The work went on view on October 9, 2013.

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