Southern Methodist University’s Meadows Museum acquires Goya painting

The Meadows Museum at SMU has acquired a major work by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), Portrait of Mariano Goya, the Artist’s Grandson, painted in 1827. 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. Portrait of Mariano Goya depicts Goya’s only grandson and is one of fewer than a dozen portraits known to have been painted by Goya between 1820 and his death in 1828. Funding for the acquisition was provided by The Meadows Foundation and a gift from Mrs. Eugene McDermott, in honor of the Meadows Museum’s 50th anniversary.

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), Portrait of Mariano Goya, the Artist’s Grandson, 1827, oil on canvas. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum Purchase with Funds Donated by The Meadows Foundation and a Gift from Mrs. Eugene McDermott, in honor of the Meadows Museum’s 50th Anniversary, MM.2013.08. Photo by Dimitris Skliris.

Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828), Portrait of Mariano Goya, the Artist’s Grandson, 1827, oil on canvas. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum Purchase with Funds Donated by The Meadows Foundation and a Gift from Mrs. Eugene McDermott, in honor of the Meadows Museum’s 50th Anniversary, MM.2013.08. Photo by Dimitris Skliris.

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 portrait will be on view at the Meadows beginning October 9.

At the time the portrait was painted, Goya had been living in Bordeaux for three years under voluntary exile, believed to be due to his antipathy to the absolutist rule of King Ferdinand VII. Goya made a final visit in 1827 to Madrid, where he painted this portrait before dying in 1828 at age 82. The work exemplifies the portraiture style Goya developed late in his career, when he had stopped painting commissioned portraits. These later works are marked by simplified compositions that allow for an unfiltered engagement between sitter and viewer, a departure from the formality that marked many of his commissioned works.

The Meadows Museum is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to establish a museum, to Southern Methodist University. The museum, which opened to the public in 1965, today is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The collection includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters. Through the years, The Meadows Foundation has continued to provide generous support for the Meadows Museum and Meadows School of the Arts at SMU.

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