Exhibition | The Spanish Gesture: Drawings from Murillo to Goya

Posted in books, catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on August 26, 2014


Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Two Groups of Picadors Overrun Consecutively by a Single Bull, 1814–16. Red chalk and red-ink wash on laid paper
(Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kupferstichkabinett 38541; photo by Christoph Irrgang)

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From the Meadows Museum:

The Spanish Gesture: Drawings from Murillo to Goya in the Hamburger Kunsthalle
Dibujos españoles en la Hamburger Kunsthalle: Cano, Murillo y Goya
Meadows Museum, Dallas, 25 May — 31 August 2014
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 30 October 2014 — 8 February 2015

Curated by Jens Hoffmann-Samland

The Kupferstichkabinett (collection of prints and drawings) at the Kunsthalle of Hamburg holds, alongside Florence, Paris and London, one of the most significant collections of Spanish drawings to be found outside of Spain. This is perhaps surprising at first, given that the Hanseatic city of Hamburg has historically not been a stronghold of Catholicism. Indeed, the reason for this lies in a single, rather chance purchase by the first director of the Kunsthalle, Alfred Lichtwark (1852–1914); the motivation for this acquisition was as spontaneous as it was personal.


Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, Prince Balthasar Carlos as Hunter (after Velázquez), 1778–79. Red crayon over preliminary drawing in pencil. (Hamburger Kunsthalle, Kupferstichkabinett 38540; photo by Christoph Irrgang)

In 1891, the London art and antiques dealer Bernard Quaritch (1819–1899) offered for sale a mixed lot of Spanish and Italian drawings to the Berlin Museum. There, however, the budget had already been depleted by the purchase of a different collection. Lichtwark viewed the drawings in Berlin and, since they “pleased him greatly,” he immediately and successfully went about securing the necessary £180, thus acquiring them for Hamburg.

A few years later, however, the quality of the extraordinary collection, which today comprises over 200 drawings, had already faded from memory. When August L. Mayer (1885–1944) inquired as to whether there were any Spanish drawings in the Hamburg collection that he could include in his planned publication of 150 drawings by Spanish masters to be published by The Hispanic Society of America in 1915, he was told that “it contains almost nothing of significance.” As a result, the drawings went unheeded for a considerable length of time. There followed—at intervals of about thirty-five to forty years—a small in-house exhibition in 1931, a slightly larger exhibition in 1966 with additional items from the Museo Nacional del Prado and the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, and another smaller presentation in 2005 comprising forty-five works of art. To be certain, some important and, by now, famous works from the Hamburg collection have often traveled to different venues. The Spanish Gesture: Drawings from Murillo to Goya in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg is the first exhibition to present this exquisite collection on a larger scale, 123 years after it was first bought by the Kunsthalle of Hamburg.

A great part of the core of today’s Hamburg collection was assembled by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682) and was produced in and around the Academia de Murillo he established in Seville in 1660 with Francisco Herrera the Younger (1622-1685), Juan de Valdés Leal (1622–1690), Cornelis Schut (1629–1685) and others. Highlights from this period include Murillo’s Assumption of the Virgin (c. 1665); a pen-and-ink drawing, Nobleman in a Landscape (c. 1660), attributed to Herrera the Younger; Head of St. John the Baptist (1654–55) by Valdés Leal; and Alonso Cano’s (1601–1667) Sketch for the Altar of St. Catherine. The Hamburg Kupferstichkabinett holds the largest group of half-length holy figures, understood to represent the twelve apostles, by Francisco Herrera the Elder (c. 1590–1656), created around 1640–50, and this exhibition will display all twelve works together for the first time.

Representing the later end of the collection is a number of drawings by Francisco Goya (1746–1828). Together with his Tauromaquia prints and drawings from Goya’s “Album B,” the collection holds the majority of Goya’s drawings after Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) that he subsequently used (or intended to use) for his etchings. Among these are the two Greek literary figures Aesop and Moenippus. The collection also comprises full-length portraits of members of the royal family, dwarves and court jesters, Los Borrachos, Las Meninas, and one of Velázquez’s most important early works that leads us back to Seville, the Waterseller of Seville.

As part of the continued collaboration between the Meadows Museum and the Museo Nacional del Prado, the exhibition has been researched by Dr. Jens Hoffmann-Samland, an independent art historian. Approximately eighty drawings from the Kunsthalle of Hamburg will be on view in Dallas, and will be published in the accompanying catalogue, which is being collaboratively published by the Meadows Museum, the Museo Nacional del Prado, the Kunsthalle of Hamburg, and the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica (CEEH). The exhibition will travel to Madrid for display at the Museo Nacional del Prado October 2014–February 2015.

This exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum, SMU; the Museo Nacional del Prado; the Hamburger Kunsthalle; Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica; Center for Spain in America; and is funded by a generous gift from The Meadows Foundation. Promotional support provided by The Dallas Morning News.

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From the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica:

Jens Hoffmann-Samland, et al, The Spanish Gesture: Drawings from Murillo to Goya in the Hamburger Kunsthalle (Dallas: Meadows Museum, 2014), 294 pages, ISBN: 978-0692207864.

foto-hamburgEste catálogo publica por primera vez toda la colección de dibujos españoles de la Hamburger Kunsthalle. Algunas de sus obras eran ya conocidas por su singular importancia, habiéndose expuesto en varias ocasiones; faltaba un estudio completo del conjunto, su historia y los problemas atributivos que suscita. El fondo de este museo alemán contiene obras de los más destacados maestros españoles de los siglos XVI al XVIII, desde Juan de Juanes hasta Francisco de Goya pasando por los máximos representantes del Siglo de Oro, entre ellos Carducho, Francisco de Herrera el Viejo, Alonso Cano, Antonio del Castillo o Murillo.

La versión inglesa del libro acompaña la exposición de una selección de piezas en el Meadows Museum de Dallas (mayo–agosto 2014); la versión española corresponde a la segunda sede de esta muestra en el Museo Nacional del Prado (septiembre 2014–enero 2015).

Su autor principal, Jens Hoffmann-Samland, es historiador del arte independiente especializado en el arte español del Siglo de Oro.

Salacious Gossip Tours of Hampton Court Palace

Posted in exhibitions, museums by Editor on August 26, 2014

SalaciousGossipLargeAs the summer of the Georgians winds down, I thought I would mention this bit of programming. In connection with The Glorious Georges exhibition, Hampton Court Palace is featuring ‘Salacious Gossip Tours’ to highlight the “racy stories” they “dare not tell during the day!”

Historic Royal Palaces has done these in the past for The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned exhibition (2012), and I would speculate—though it is only speculation—that the racy bits are comparable to what many of us present in class to keep students’ attention. I mention it here, in part, because as I was thinking about what readers might want from a newsletter like this one several years ago, someone perceptively replied ‘gossip!’. Ever since then, I’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to pull that off. As with other things, suggestions are most welcome. As for the tours, participants must be at least 18 years old, tickets are £25, and the tours begins at 7:15. My hunch is that it probably adds up to a fine way to avoid the crowds, and walking out of Hampton Court Palace at 9:00 or so isn’t a bad evening. A champagne reception at the beginning couldn’t hurt either. –CH

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