Exhibition | Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 21, 2019

This fall at the Meadows Museum (a variation of the exhibition on view at The Wallace two years ago). . .

El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum
Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas, 15 September 2019 — 12 January 2020

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Interior of a Prison, 1793–94, oil on tin plate, (County Durham: The Bowes Museum, B.M.29).

The Bowes Museum in County Durham, UK, is home to the largest collection of Spanish painting in the British Isles. The collection represents the life-work of John and Joséphine Bowes, who, through key connections with dealers in Paris, amassed a collection noted for its depth and breadth, quality and quantity during the second half of the nineteenth century. Their museum opened to the public in 1892, and continues to serve the people of northern England with an engaging series of exhibitions and public programs. This focused exhibition—it consists of just under a dozen works—showcases the finest of the Bowes’s collection of Spanish painting. The exhibition will feature artists such as Juan de Borgoña (c. 1470–1536), El Greco (1541–1614), and Francisco de Goya (1746–1828), and paintings on panel and canvas ranging from the early sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries. This was a crucial period in the history and development of Spanish art as artists transitioned from producing large, gold-encrusted retable panels of saints to intimate portraits and scenes taken from life, as is the case with Goya’s harrowing Interior of a Prison (1793–94). It is an exhibition of three centuries of saints and sinners, secular and sacred likenesses meant to inspire devotion, admiration, and at times discomfort. El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum will explore these and other issues within the context of the history of art while also taking a closer look at John and Joséphine Bowes’s role in the history of the collection and display of Spanish art outside of Spain.

Exhibition | Goya’s Visions in Ink

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on August 21, 2019

Now on view at the Meadows Museum, at Southern Methodist University:

Goya’s Visions in Ink: The Centerpiece of the Meadows Drawings Collection
Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas, 30 April — 3 November 2019

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Visions, ca. 1819-23; brush and black and gray ink with scraping on paper, 24 × 15 cm (Dallas: Meadows Museum, SMU; museum purchase with funds from The Meadows Foundation, with additional support from Cyrena Nolan, MM.2019.01).

This exhibition highlights the Meadows’s recent acquisition of Francisco de Goya’s exceptional ink drawing Visions (c. 1819–23) from his “Witches and Old Women” album. This important acquisition is the first drawing by Goya to enter the museum’s collection, which already includes key paintings and prints by the Spanish master. The Meadows Museum now joins only a handful of institutions worldwide that can boast such significant holdings of the artist’s work across media.

The very personal, technically accomplished drawing will be featured alongside a selection of Goya’s prints containing related subject matter from the Disparates series, completed ca. 1815–23, nearly simultaneously to the drawing itself. Didactic materials will offer insight into the singular technical qualities of the drawing’s creation and its fascinating provenance. Additional examples from the museum’s collection of works on paper will serve to highlight the uniquely intimate nature of drawings, as well as offer supporting insight into the multifaceted ways in which artists have employed the medium. The exhibition will demonstrate Goya’s achievements as a draftsman and situate Visions as a noteworthy central point of the museum’s collection of drawings.

Meadows Museum Announces Four New Acquisitions

Posted in museums by Editor on August 21, 2019

Press release (14 August 2019) from SMU’s Meadows Museum:

The Meadows Museum, SMU, announced that it has acquired four works that reflect the richness and depth of Spanish art across period, style, and mode of production. Among the new acquisitions is Our Lady of Solitude (1769) by Manuel Ramírez de Arellano, which represents both a critical expansion of scholarly knowledge on the artist’s creative output and an important enhancement of the Meadow’s holdings of terracotta sculpture, building on other acquisitions in that medium over the last several years. Further, following the Meadows’s 2018 exhibition Dalí: Poetics of the Small, 1929–1936, which focused on Salvador Dalí’s small-scale paintings, the museum has been given Venus de Milo with Drawers (1936, cast 1971), the first sculptural work by Dalí to enter the museum’s collections. Also among the new acquisitions are a drawing by renowned artist Ignacio Zuloaga, Portrait of Margaret Kahn (1923), which provides new insights into the artist’s process and highlights his success as a portraitist among American audiences, as well as the painting Orchard in Seville (c. 1880), by Emilio Sánchez Perrier, a rare example of the artist’s work at a large scale, produced early in his career.

Together, the new acquisitions underscore the Meadows’s commitment to collecting works that encapsulate significant developments in the trajectory of Spanish art and to establishing essential touchstones within its collection that spur new research, exhibitions, and publications. Of the new acquisitions, Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum, said, “As we continue to acquire works, we are focused on furthering the established dialogues between and among objects in our collection, while also creating new connections that enhance both scholarly understanding of Spanish art and public enjoyment of it. We are particularly excited to bring these four works into the museum’s holdings because they represent important developments within each artist’s career as well as essential enhancements to our collection. We look forward to displaying these works in the coming months, and to furthering knowledge about each of these artist’s practices.”

Manuel Ramírez de Arellano (1721/22–1789)
Our Lady of Solitude, 1769
Polychromed terracotta

Manuel Ramírez de Arellano, Our Lady of Solitude, 1769, polychromed terracotta, 26 cm high (Dallas: Meadows Museum, SMU; museum purchase with funds from Barbara Wright McKenzie ’74 and Mike McKenzie, MM.2019.04).

Manuel Ramírez de Arellano was born into a prominent artistic family in Zaragoza. Despite the documentation around his family’s workshops and his father’s involvement in the establishment of one of Spain’s earliest art academies, the Academia del Dibujo (Academy of Drawing), very little is known about Ramírez’s life and the full arc of his artistic career. Ramírez is most widely recognized for three major commissions that he completed for the Cartuja de Aula Dei, a Carthusian monastery just outside of Zaragoza. These included the creation of an elaborate decorative door frame (c. 1750), the high altarpiece representing the Assumption of the Virgin (c. 1762), and a series of life-sized statues that line the church’s nave (c. 1772). The last of the commissions represents an historically significant collaboration with Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, who was concurrently commissioned to paint frescos for the nave.

Our Lady of Solitude is exceptionally rare for what it teaches us about the scope and depth of Ramírez’s practice and in the information it yields regarding the work’s making. Specifically, while there is some archival evidence that Ramírez produced small-scale terracotta sculptures for personal devotion, Our Lady of Solitude proves this aspect of his artistic output. Furthermore, the detailed inscription on the statue’s bottom, which reads in English translation, “On January 8th, 1769, in Madrid. Made by Manuel Ramírez,” firmly attributes the work to Ramírez’s hand. This is particularly remarkable as most sculptures of the time were produced by workshops, making individual attributions difficult to identify. It also locates Ramírez in Madrid during a decade in which details about his life were previously unknown.

Despite the Meadows’s extensive sculpture collection, Our Lady of Solitude, which captures the Virgin Mary in a quiet moment of mourning, is the first sculpture of Marian devotion to enter the museum’s collection, filling an important gap within its holdings. Further, the acquisition, which has been made by the Meadows through purchase with funds from Barbara Wright McKenzie and Mike McKenzie, builds on other recent important acquisitions of polychromed terracotta works, enhancing the diversity of objects of this medium in the museum’s collection.

Salvador Dalí (1904–1989)
Venus de Milo with Drawers, 1936, cast 1971, Edition 37/150
White paint on bronze

Salvador Dalí first produced a version of the Musée du Louvre’s well-known 2nd-century BCE Venus de Milo marble in 1936, adding his own Surrealist twist to the iconic work by incorporating six drawers at the statue’s forehead, breasts, stomach, abdomen, and left knee. The motif of a female figure comprised of drawers was one of particular fascination and exploration for Dalí, as it appears in the related painting The Anthropomorphic Cabinet and the drawing City of Drawers—both also produced in 1936. The imagery also reappeared decades later in prints that Dalí created in the 1960s. While never expressed directly by Dalí himself, it has been suggested that the incorporation of drawers within the female torso represented a linguistic examination or play on the English phrase “chest of drawers.”

Dalí’s 1936 plaster version of the Venus de Milo went largely unnoticed until the 1960s, at which point it began to be reproduced in myriad editions that included wide variations of the sculpture’s patina and height. The version acquired by the Meadows Museum—a bronze painted white to mimic the original marble inspiration—closely matches Dalí’s first plaster in all but its small scale. The acquisition of Venus de Milo with Drawers follows the Meadows’s 2018 exhibition Dalí: Poetics of the Small, 1929–1936, which highlighted small-scale painting as another aspect of the artist’s incredible artistic range and captured the ongoing popularity of the artist’s work. The acquisition also represents the first sculptural object by Dalí to enter the Meadows’s collection, providing new dimension to the museum’s holdings of paintings and prints by the artist. Venus de Milo with Drawers enters the Meadows’s collection as a gift to the museum by collector Daniel Malingue, who collaborated with the museum on its recent Dalí exhibition.

Ignacio Zuloaga (1870–1945)
Portrait of Margaret Kahn, 1923
Charcoal and graphite on paper

Ignacio Zuloaga is recognized as one of the most celebrated Spanish painters of the early 20th century. Born to a family of artisans in the Basque city of Eibar, Zuloaga first trained as a metalworker. After viewing the works of Spanish masters such as El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya at the Museo Nacional del Prado in 1887, however, he began his pursuit of painting, studying and working in Rome, Paris, and throughout Spain. By 1900, he was exhibiting his paintings widely, and receiving widespread acclaim for his rich use of color and dramatic landscapes and atmospheres. Although Zuloaga is well known for his depictions of Spanish culture and identity, he gained the widest popularity as a portraitist.

While most of Zuloaga’s portrait commissions resulted in paintings, his drawings reveal many of the same formal qualities. With the acquisition of Portrait of Margaret Kahn, which was given to the Meadows Museum by Zuloaga’s grandson Rafael de Zuloaga y Suárez, the museum is adding an important representation of Zuloaga’s artistic process and technique. Portrait of Margaret Kahn also marks the first drawing by the artist to enter the Meadows’s collection, joining three important paintings within the museum’s holdings: The Bullfighter ‘El Segovianito’ (1912); View of Alquézar (c. 1915–20); and Portrait of the Duchess of Arión, Marchioness of Bay (1918).

Embraced in his home country and across Europe, Zuloaga also became a favorite of American audiences who expressed a particular keenness for having their likenesses painted by him. Portrait of Margaret Kahn captures the relationship Zuloaga developed with America’s elite; the drawing depicts an heir to a New York financial fortune. While it is not known how Kahn came into contact with Zuloaga, it is likely she became aware of his work during his 1916 New York exhibition at the Duveen Gallery, which launched his prominence among American audiences.

Emilio Sánchez Perrier (1855–1907)
Orchard in Seville, c. 1880
Oil on panel

Emilio Sánchez Perrier, Orchard in Seville, ca. 1880, oil on panel, 47 × 71 cm (Dallas: Meadows Museum, SMU; museum purchase with funds from Linda P. and William A. Custard, Gwen and Richard Irwin, and friends of the Meadows Museum, MM.2019.05; photo by Kevin Todora).

Emilio Sánchez Perrier was a popular and widely collected landscape painter—both in Spain and the United States—during and after his lifetime. A member of a group of Sevillian painters sometimes called the school of Alcalá de Guadaíra, Sánchez Perrier exemplifies through his work the evolution of landscape painting during the late 19th century, as the interests of both artists and collectors shifted from the idealized perspectives of the Romantic tradition to a realist, plein air approach that emphasized the direct observation of nature.

The Meadows’s acquisition of Sánchez Perrier’s Orchard in Seville recognizes the artist’s historical prominence, as well as the value of this work within the context of the museum’s existing collection. The Meadows currently holds Sánchez Perrier’s painting River Landscape (Villennes-sur-Seine) (c. 1895)—a work completed significantly later in the artist’s life. The new acquisition dates to early in his career and is larger than River Landscape (Villennes-sur-Seine). Orchard in Seville also complements a number of other works in the collection, including the painting Ladies and Gentlemen Visiting a Patio of the Alcázar of Seville (1857), by Joaquín Domínguez Bécquer, one of Sánchez Perrier’s early teachers in Seville, and the museum’s recent acquisition, Beach at Portici (1874), by Sánchez Perrier’s famous contemporary Mariano Fortuny y Marsal.

Orchard in Seville depicts a public garden adjacent to the Real Alcázar de Sevilla that was known as the Huerta del Retiro, and the work is part of a group of paintings of Seville and its many historical buildings and gardens. However, the work is distinguished by two characteristics. First is the artist’s precise technique, which conveys the play of light on the trees and tall grass of the garden, as well as the walls of the buildings that enclose it. The second is its size: significantly larger than the artist’s other known works, it was painted at a time when Sánchez Perrier’s reputation was growing, and he was increasingly seeking opportunities to show outside of Seville and, especially, in Paris. The work enters the collection through the museum’s purchase, with funds from Linda P. and William A. Custard, Gwen and Richard Irwin, and friends of the Meadows Museum.

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