Huntington Library Just Acquired Historic Portrait of a Spanish Master – Pasadena Star News
The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens have acquired a historical masterpiece by Francisco José de Goya y Lucentes (Spanish, 1746–1828): Portrait of José Antonio Caballero, 2nd Marquis de Caballero, Minister of Grace and Justice, 1807. Oil on canvas. It was a gift from the Ahmanson Foundation. (Photo courtesy of The Huntington Library, Museum of Art, and Botanical Gardens)
SAN MARINO – The Huntington Library, Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens has acquired a landmark portrait by Spanish artist Francisco José de Goya y Lucentes, known as Goya.
A portrait of José Antonio Caballero, 2nd Marquis de Caballero, Minister of Grace and Justice, will be on display beginning next Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Huntington Art Gallery, museum officials announced Monday.
Painted in 1807, the artwork was created at a time when Goya was famous for his portraits of Spanish nobility, before the Napoleonic conquest of Spain profoundly changed the nature of his later works, according to the museum.
While the Huntington holds a number of etchings and watercolors by Goya, Portrait of José Antonio Caballero is the first Spanish oil painting to join the Huntington’s art collection, and museum officials said it will complement its extensive library of materials related to Spanish imperial history.
This masterpiece was acquired through a gift from the Ahmanson Foundation.
“Once again, the Ahmanson Foundation has proven to be an invaluable strategic partner, helping us achieve our goals of expanding our collections with important works and inviting new interdisciplinary connections,” said Huntington President Karen R. Lawrence. “We could not be more grateful to them for making it possible to acquire such a magnificent and historically significant masterpiece.”
Goya is noted for his ability to capture each subject’s unique personality as well as its grandeur and political power, albeit with an occasional layer of irony, museum officials said. He is also known for his subtle, impressionistic brushwork, and his revolutionary subject matter in his later years.
“The portrait of José Antonio Caballero is historically remarkable and a prime example of Goya’s genius as a portrait painter,” said Christina Nielsen, director of the Hanna and Russell Cooley Museum of Art in Huntington.
The sitter of Goya’s painting, José Antonio Caballero, was a member of Spain’s minor nobility, according to the museum. He studied law and held four secretary positions at the royal court. Goya painted the picture when Caballero was Minister of Foreign Affairs and had just inherited the title of Marquis de Caballero from his uncle.
The photo shows the man wearing an ornate outfit and sitting in a red armchair. He looks directly at the viewer, with his right hand at his waist and his left hand holding the papers.
The portrait will be installed in the Huntington Gallery of Art, the former residence of founders Henry E. and Arabella Huntington, in a paneled room that was once Henry Huntington’s private office.