Two important Spanish paintings will be on view at Sotheby’s in the days preceding the Old Masters Evening Sale on 3 July.
The sale will feature a portrait of Donna Olimpia Maidalchini Pamphilj (1591–1657) likely painted by Velázquez during his second roman period. Donna Olimpia was an enormously influential figure at the court of pope Innocent X, sometimes referred to in sources as the ‘Papessa’ (lady pope). In the collection of Cardinal Pompeo Aldrovandi by 1724, the painting was later misattributed to the Dutch school and remained unseen for several years. Unusually for a work of this date, the painting’s commission is recorded in great detail in a letter written by Francesco Gualenghi, a resident of Modena living in Rome, to Francesco I d’Este, Duke of Modena (1610–1658) on 13 July 1650: ‘On Monday Sra Donna Olimpia was occupied all day with various ladies…in fact I mean that after lunch on Monday she allowed for her portrait to be painted by a very talented Spanish painter, who is said to be chamberlain to the King of Spain.’
Ribera’s celebrated painting A Girl with a Tambourine will also be offered in the sale. The work is thought to be a personification of the sense of hearing, and to have formed part of a lost series dedicated to the five senses. It is likely a pendant to Laughing drinker with a bottle, once in the Spanish royal collection. While Ribera painted several personifications of the sense of hearing, this is his only signed representation of the subject. The artist’s allegories of the senses are novel in their composition, as he focused on ragged peasants and vivid, everyday figures rather than idealised beauty. This painting is a particularly striking example of Ribera’s ability to capture expression with empathy and skill.
The visual arts in Spain have long been haunted by the spectres of six giants: El Greco, Ribera, Velázquez, Murillo, Goya and Picasso. Still today, these canonical figures tower over all others and continue to shape the story of Spanish art, which has been traditionally told in monographic form. Although the strength of the Spanish canon has informed different disciplines (literature, aesthetics, performing arts), given the recent ‘material turn’, the prosopographical dimension of the visual arts in Spain poses a disciplinary challenge. Similarly, following the ‘global turn’, the visual arts of Iberia pose a geographical challenge, intersecting with the Mediterranean, Arabic, Latin American, British and continental European worlds. The notions of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanish art’, therefore, are necessarily nebulous and problematic, raising a host of questions: To what extent does Spanish art exist before the establishment of Spain as a nation state? To what extent is the art of the Habsburg and Bourbon empires a Spanish art outside Spain? What is the role of Spain in the wider canon of European art? Who has exploited the visual arts of the Hispanic world, geographically, politically and intellectually? These questions ultimately point to a tension between canons and repertoires; between centres and peripheries; and between consolidating the ‘core’ and expanding the ‘remit’ of the so-called Spanish school.
This conference will explode the disciplinary, material and geographical limits of Spanish art, inaugurating the Zurbarán Centre as a critical and innovative research institution for the study of Spanish and Latin American art in the twenty-first century. Papers will challenge the canonical construction of Spanish art, which can be traced back to writings from Palomino’s Lives of the Eminent Spanish Painters and Sculptors (1724) to Stirling Maxwell’s Annals of the Artists of Spain (1848), to more recent publications by scholars in the field. Papers will also probe the chronological, geographical and material boundaries of the ‘El Greco to Goya’ survey, interrogating the ways in which academics, curators, scholars and teachers narrate this material through various platforms, including publications, museum displays, exhibitions, lectures, gallery talks and academic courses. Speakers will address the various ‘terrains’ of Spanish art, from geographical constructions of Iberia as Europe’s frontier or edge, to exchange with all that lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules.
Curators in Conversation: Looking at Spanish Old Masters Today
Nicola Jennings, Director, Colnaghi Foundation
Michael Petry, Artist & Director, MoCA London
Discussing the lasting influence of Spanish Old Masters in contemporary arts practice. This event is part of Spain NOW! – celebrating the 10th anniversary of the season of contemporary arts and culture in London.
Thursday 6th December 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Colnaghi Foundation 26 Bury Street St James’s London, SW1Y 6AL
Michael Petry studied at Rice University, Houston (BA), London Guildhall University (MA), and has a Doctor in Arts from Middlesex University. Petry is an artist, author and Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) London. Petry co-founded the Museum of Installation, was Guest Curator at the Kunstakademiet, Oslo, and was Curator of the Royal Academy Schools Gallery. Petry co-authored Installation Art (1994), and Installation in the New Millennium (2003), and authored Abstract Eroticism (1996) and A Thing of Beauty is…(1997), The Trouble with Michael. His book Hidden Histories: 20th century male same sex lovers in the visual arts (2004) was the first comprehensive survey of its kind, and accompanied Hidden Historieswhich he curated for The New Art Gallery Walsall. Golden Rain (2008) accompanied his installation for the On the Edge exhibition for Stavanger 2008, European Capital of Culture. Petry was the first Artist in Residence at Sir John Soane’s Museum (2010/11) and his one man show The Touch of the Oracle at the Palm Springs Art Museum (2012) was accompanied by a ten year career review book. Petry’s work was included in the 2015 Frontiers Reimagined at the Venice Biennale, and his one-man show AT the Core of the Algorithm accompanied his Campbell Lectures at Rice University. Petry’s books include The Art of Not Making: The New Artist Artisan Relationship (2011), Nature Morte: Contemporary Artists reinvigorate the Still-Life tradition (2013) and The WORD is ART (2018).
Nicola Jennings is Director of the Colnaghi Foundation and Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art. She completed her MA and doctorate at the Courtauld, and has worked at the National Gallery and City University in London. Her research and publications focus on art and patronage in Spain in the fifteenth, sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, with a particular interest in northern European artists working in Iberia, conversos, and polychrome sculpture. She is a co-author of the first two volumes in the Coll & Cortés Studies series, Lorenzo Mercadante: Virgen del Buen Fin, and Alonso Berruguete: Renaissance Sculptor.
According to The Art Newspaper, El Greco’s Saint Francis and Leo (around 1600) is one of the highlights of the upcoming London sales. With an estimated sale price of £5m-£7m, the work is one of 51 from the collection of the late Stanford Rothschild consigned for sale to Christie’s. The sale will take place on 7 December. Click here for more information about this painting.
El Greco comes to America: The Discovery of a Modern Old Master, directed by Inge Reist and José Luis Colomer
Este libro es un homenaje a los soberbios ejemplos de la obra del Greco
conservados en Estados Unidos. El estilo tan personal del artista tenía
un aire de modernidad que atraía a los coleccionistas de aquel país,
gracias a lo cual los museos americanos poseen muchos de los mejores
Grecos que hay fuera de España. Once especialistas abordan el estudio
de coleccionistas particulares como Arabella Huntington, Louisine
Havemeyer, Henry Clay Frick, Peter Widener y Duncan Phillips, pero
analizan también el impacto de las exposiciones en las que pudieron
verse obras del cretense y el papel que desempeñaron artistas-asesores
como Mary Cassatt, John Singer Sargent y Roger Fry.
Partiendo de una rica documentación de archivo, en gran parte inédita
hasta ahora, los autores de este volumen demuestran el denuedo con el
que los coleccionistas americanos compitieron por las obras del Greco y
el lugar tan destacado que concedieron en sus casas a los cuadros del
cretense, que a menudo colgaron junto a otros de pintores más modernos
como Degas o Manet. Al hacerlo, y al fomentar la compra de cuadros del
Greco por parte de las instituciones públicas que financiaban, forjaron
la reputación internacional de este artista entre el público
contemporáneo, garantizando un aprecio por su estilo único que se
INGE REIST, doctora por la Universidad de Columbia, donde dio clase
durante unos años, es directora del Center for the History of
Collecting de la Frick Art Reference Library. Dirigió también el
Archivo Fotográfico de la Frick Collection y fue presidenta de la
Association of Research Institutes in Art History. Es experta en
historia del coleccionismo, tema sobre el que ha publicado trabajos y
dado conferencias en numerosos museos y congresos. Ha coeditado con Gail
Feigenbaum _Provenance: An Alternative Art History_ (2012), aunque sigue
interesándose por otras cuestiones, como prueba su «_All the World’s a
Stage: The Theater Conceit in Early Modern Italy_» para el Blackwell
Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art (2012).
JOSÉ LUIS COLOMER es doctor en Literatura Comparada por la Universidad
de Bolonia y licenciado en Historia del Arte por la Sorbona. Actualmente
dirige el Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica y el Center for Spain in
America. Sus investigaciones abordan las relaciones culturales entre
España e Italia en el siglo XVII a través de agentes diplomáticos y
del intercambio de regalos artísticos entre las cortes europeas y los
reyes de España, así como el segundo viaje a Roma de Velázquez y sus
vínculos con personajes italianos en la corte de Madrid. En 2012
codirigió con Inge Reist el libro Collecting Spanish Art: Spain’s Golden Age and America’s Gilded Age.
The visit cost per head is £14.50 for members and £20 for non-members.
National Trust Members will have free access but may be required to pay £2.50 for the tour with the curatorial team.
Provisional train times (to be confirmed in September):
-Train out at 0720 to arrive in Poole – taxi to Kingston Lacy for 1030;
-Return journey depart KL at 1600 for 1640 train from Poole to London arr 1906
To attend, please advise Susan Wilson (email@example.com) by 20 September 2017. In your email, please specify if you are a National Trust member. Please make your own booking for the train & lunch if required.