In September 2017, the Wallace Collection presents El Greco to Goya – Spanish Masterpieces from The Bowes Museum: the first London exhibition of Spanish art from The Bowes Museum in County Durham, including works by Goya and El Greco.
This collaborative exhibition between the Wallace Collection and The Bowes Museum celebrates the partnership between these two great museums. Like the Wallace Collection, The Bowes Museum is the product of one family’s obsession with collecting great works of art. John Bowes and Richard Wallace – both illegitimate sons of aristocratic fathers – bequeathed collections of international significance to the nation.
The exhibition spans three centuries and explores one of the largest collections of Spanish art in Britain. The majority of these paintings were acquired by John and Joséphine Bowes between 1862 and 1863 from the collection of the Countess de Quinto in Paris, through the art dealer Benjamin Gogué. This collection was formed in Spain by the Conde de Quinto after the dissolution of the ecclesiastical institutions – known as Desamortización – carried out by the Government from 1835 to 1837.
On display are El Greco’s The Tears of Saint Peter, thought to be the artist’s earliest interpretation of this subject, Goya’s psychologically penetrating Portrait of Juan Antonio Meléndez Valdés and disturbing Interior of a Prison, plus perhaps less well known but outstanding works such as Antonio de Pereda’s Tobias Restoring his Father’s Sight. The works chosen explore a period of huge social, religious and political upheaval in Spain, providing a microcosm of the changes in style and subject matter during this period. The paintings complement works by Velázquez and Murillo on permanent display at the Wallace Collection.
The Wallace Collection’s Director, Dr Xavier Bray, says:
“El Greco to Goya is not only an unprecedented opportunity to see Spanish art of extraordinary power and significance in London, but also the beginning of an exciting relationship between the Wallace Collection and The Bowes Museum. Both institutions share a commitment to making great art accessible to wider audiences and we are looking forward to working closely together to develop a long term connection between London and the North East.”
The Bowes Museum’s Director, Adrian Jenkins, says:
“In 1892, when The Bowes Museum first opened its doors to the public, it had the largest public collection of Spanish paintings in the UK. As we mark 125 years since the creation of the museum, it is highly appropriate that the key works from this collection should be shared with London audiences, in keeping with John and Joséphine Bowes’ belief that great art should be made accessible to all. Neither John nor Joséphine Bowes survived to realise their vision, and they would be delighted to think that the best of their acquisitions would be shown at the Wallace Collection during this anniversary year, recognising that their gift to the people of County Durham is also a gift to the nation.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication, El Greco to Goya: Spanish Masterpieces from The Bowes Museum, produced in collaboration with The Bowes Museum.
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of El Greco, New York’s Metropolitan Museum and the Hispanic Society of America are pooling their collections of the work of this great painter to provide a panorama of his art unrivaled outside the Museo del Prado in Madrid.
The Frick Collection is displaying its El Greco paintings contemporaneously in the exhibition El Greco at the Frick Collection.
The Frick Collection, New York: El Greco at the Frick Collection. Exhibition closes on 1st February 2015.
Henry Clay Frick had a deep appreciation for Spanish painting, particularly the work of El Greco. Frick traveled to Spain twice and acquired three works by the artist between 1905 and 1913. Here they are displayed side by side for the first time.
This exhibiton is in concert with El Greco in New York (also closing on 1st February 2015)at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Together, the two exhibitions show all of El Greco’s work in New York public collections and mark the 400th anniversary of the painter’s death.
The Frick Collection, New York, Wednesday, January 28, 2015, 6:00–7:00PM: “Demystifying El Greco: His Use of Wax, Clay, and Plaster Models“. Lecture by Xavier Bray, Arturo and Holly Melosi Chief Curator, Dulwich Picture Gallery (London).
Free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis; reservations not accepted.
An inventory of El Greco’s studio made in 1614 at the time of his death lists some fifty models of plaster, clay, and wax. This lecture will consider how these models may have been used and the role they may have played in the creation of his quintessentially other-worldly style.
The event is held in conjunction with the exhibition, El Greco at the Frick Collection, on view until 1st February2015.
New York: The Frick Collection’s Center for the History of Collecting is holding a symposium, “El Greco Comes to America,” on Monday, January 26, 2015, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Registration is required if you wish to attend this free event.
Speakers: Ellen Prokop, Susan Grace Galassi, Marcus Burke, Walter Liedtke, Xavier Salomon, José Luis Colomer, Richard Kagan, and Amaya Alzaga Ruiz. Papers focus on individual collectors including Arabella Huntington, Louisine Havemeyer, Henry Clay Frick, Peter Widener, and Duncan Phillips, and also discuss the impact of exhibitions and the role of artist-advisers such as Mary Cassatt and Roger Fry.