For more information about the works of art included in the exhibition and to see the related images, click on the following links:
Self-Portraits and Portraits (Introduction | Images and Essays)
The Bordeaux Albums (Introduction | Images and Essays) Miniatures on Ivory (Introduction | Images and Essays)
The Bordeaux Lithographs (Introduction | Images and Essays)
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) is one of the greatest Spanish
artists. His long life spanned a tumultuous epoch in his country’s history, during
which progressive Enlightenment ideas from France and England came into violent
conflict with Spain’s absolutist monarchy supported by an authoritarian church.
Goya was born near Zaragoza, where he received his early training from a local
artist and by 1774 was settled in Madrid. He eventually rose to the post of Court
Painter, serving under three Bourbon kings — Charles III, Charles IV, and Ferdinand
VII — as well as under Napoleon’s brother Joseph Bonaparte, who reigned during
the French occupation from 1808 to 1813. Goya produced tapestry designs, religious
paintings, and brilliant portraits for his royal patrons, as well as intimate works
for his enlightened friends. After a serious illness left him deaf at age forty-six, his
work took a darker, more inward turn. In small paintings, drawings, and series of
prints, he deployed his prodigious imagination and powers of invention in satirical
commentaries on human follies and social and political issues of the day and in a
searing indictment of war based on his experience of the bloody Spanish struggle
for independence from France.
Goya was a Liberal sympathizer but continued until the year before his death to
collect a salary from his royal patrons. They recognized his genius and treated him
with tolerance. In 1824, however, in the wake of an uprising against the monarchy,
Ferdinand VII unleashed a violent purge of Liberals, and Goya applied for a leave
of absence and joined a large community of Spanish exiles in Bordeaux. There he
produced an intimate, experimental, and brilliant coda to his long and prolific
career in Spain.
Principal funding for Goya's Last Works has been provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation, with major support from Merrill Lynch; Melvin R. Seiden in honor of Jonathan Brown and Susan Grace Galassi; The Widgeon Point Charitable Foundation; Mr. and Mrs. Walter A. Eberstadt; The Samuel H. Kress Foundation; and The Getty Grant Program of The J. Paul Getty Trust. The catalogue has been generously underwritten by Lawrence and Julie Salander and made possible, in part, by Furthermore: A Program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund. Support for scholarly programming has been provided by the Arthur Ross Foundation. Additional support has been provided by The Helen Clay Frick Foundation and the Fellows of The Frick Collection. This exhibition is also supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.