The Meadows Museum has acquired a late medieval altarpiece panel attributed to Spanish painter Pere Vall, active in Cataluña c. 1400–c. 1422. The work is now one of only three in the collection dating before 1450.
The tempera on wood panel painting, dated c. 1410, features the Saints Benedict and Onuphrius. It is the first work by this artist to enter the Museum’s collection, as well as the first work acquired under the new phase of the Meadows Acquisition Challenge Fund, with matching funds provided by Richard and Luba Barrett. Richard is a member of the Meadows Museum Advisory Council.
Pere Vall, also referred to as the Master of the Cardona Pentecost, is among the most distinctive and prolific of documented artists active in the environs of Barcelona during the first quarter of the 15th century. A well-documented retable painter, he likely trained in the studio of Pere Serra in Barcelona but was primarily active in the town of Cardona (Cataluña) during the first decades of the 15th century. He is represented in the collections of a handful of prominent museums, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Museu Episcopal de Vic, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Others of his altarpieces, or parts thereof, remain in situ in Cardona.
Only a few objects in the Museum’s collection, such as the Catalan Cabinet (1375–1400), represent the roughly six centuries of the Middle Ages. The new panel is a significant acquisition representing the Hispanic artistic tradition of the later medieval period, which was characterized and dominated by large, painted retables serving as instructional backdrops for the theater of the mass. With Saints Benedict and Onuphrius in the Meadows collection, the Museum is better poised to offer students and visitors a more complete view of the religious practice that so shaped the lives of medieval Spaniards.
“By activating the challenge fund recently put in place, we hope to encourage other donors to follow suit in the future,“ said the Barretts. “We are delighted to be able to support the Meadows Museum and to recognize the excellent work being done by Director Dr. Mark Roglán and his outstanding team.”
Dr. Roglán added, “We are thankful to the Barretts for their continued support of acquisitions, loans and other aspects of museum operations; this acquisition strengthens our holdings of medieval Spanish art and improves our ability to illustrate its development to students, scholars and the public.”
SMU’s Meadows Museum has concluded a lengthy investigation into the true identity and postwar provenance of two of the most famous paintings in its collection – masterworks that had been seized by the Nazis during World War II.
A dog, a donut and a child in blue are hallmarks of the latest masterwork to join the collections of SMU’s Meadows Museum.
The Museum has acquired the painting María Teresa del Castillo (1767-70), a portrait of a child by Francisco Bayeu y Subías (1734-1795), one of the most important and widely admired Spanish painters of the period.
Part of the aristocratic Villagonzalo collection since at least the 19th century and rarely seen on public display, the painting is in extraordinary condition – with an unlined canvas on its original stretcher – and required little conservation.
The portrait is of such high quality that for many years it was attributed to Bayeu’s mentor, court painter Anton Raphael Mengs (1728-1779); a recent examination of the piece led to both the identification of the girl depicted and reattribution of the painting to Bayeu.
The painting is an important addition to the Meadows Museum’s collection, which has very few such examples of child portraiture. Its acquisition is supported by a gift from Barbara McKenzie, a longtime docent and member of the Meadows Museum Advisory Council, and her husband, Mike.
“Stunningly beautiful in its painterly details, and delightful in depicting the subject with a pastry and a pet, this is an exceptional portrait by this court painter,” said Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. “The painting is also an important addition to our collection of 18th-century works, greatly complementing our Goya holdings, as well as other artists of the Ancien Régime. We are grateful to Barbara and Mike McKenzie for their generosity; their support ensures that we remain one of the greatest collections of Spanish art in the world.”
“The details in this painting are exquisite, reflecting Bayeu’s tremendous skill,” said Nicole Atzbach, curator at the Meadows Museum. “For example, María Teresa del Castillo wears a robe à la française, characterized by a funnel-shaped or conical bodice that then becomes voluminous rectangular skirts conceived in a deep blue silk…. [The] dress also features a square-cut neckline which, when worn by adult women, would provide ample space to display strands of pearls or a velvet bow.
“In this case, Bayeu has jettisoned such adult adornments and instead outfitted his young subject with more age-appropriate trappings, including a glazed rosquilla (a donut-shaped pastry) in her left hand and a small dog tucked securely under her right arm. The combination of the sophisticated fashion and the child-friendly touches make this painting both beautiful and charming.”
Francisco Bayeu was one of the most gifted portrait artists of the period, known in particular for his accurate depictions of his subjects. However, because María Teresa del Castillo was not on public view for more than eight decades, only recently could additional research be conducted on its attribution.
The title of painting has also undergone a change in light of its reattribution. When on view in the 1925 exhibition at the Sociedad Española de Amigos del Arte in Madrid, and in 1929 at the Museo Nacional del Prado, the portrait was known simply as The Girl with the Rosquilla. As part of his study of the painting, Dr. Ansón Navarro discovered an inscription on the canvas’ stretcher, which also dates to the second half of the 18th century. The inscription reads “Exma. Sra Da MaTeresa del Castillo,” or “Excelentísima Señora Doña María Teresa del Castillo.” Her name has now become the title of the work.
SMU’s Meadows Museum presents the first major exhibition in the United States of treasures from one of the oldest and most significant private art collections in Europe.
Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting is on view at the Meadows from Friday. Sept. 11, 2015 through Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, and serves as a cornerstone of the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, which continues throughout 2015.
Curated by Dr. Fernando Checa Cremades, former director of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Treasures from the House of Alba features more than 100 works — from paintings by Goya and Rubens to 16th-century tapestries by Willem de Pannemaker and 19th-century furniture created for Napoleon III — most of which have never been seen outside of Spain. The treasures on display include illuminated manuscripts, books, historic documents, miniatures, antiquities, prints, sculpture, drawings, and other objects.
“These extraordinary works of art, many of which have never crossed the Atlantic before, are a treasure trove and a fount of new art historical knowledge,” said Mark Roglán, The Linda P. and William Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are honored to present the first exhibition of this outstanding collection in the United States, sharing these works of art that tell the story of a remarkable family and provide an opportunity to explore the panoply of cultural achievement and European history.”
Treasures from the House of Alba is organized chronologically according to seven periods of Alba family history, collecting, and patronage from the 15th to the 20th century:
The exhibition begins with the dynasty’s origins in the mid-15th century and rising influence under the 3rd Duke of Alba, Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, a prominent courtier in the service of the Spanish monarchy in the 16th century.
This is followed by an exploration of the family’s close ties to the Marquis of Carpio, Europe’s greatest art collector of the 17th century, from whom the Duchy of Alba received important holdings of Renaissance and Baroque paintings, and to the Duques of Veragua, from whom came the Christopher Columbus documents featured in the exhibit.
The exhibition also presents a section devoted to Goya and his relationship with the Duchess Doña Teresa Cayetana, and concludes with the extensive collecting activity of the late Duchess and her father since the beginning of the 20th century, which includes the acquisition of works by such artists as Peter Paul Rubens, Joshua Reynolds, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Pablo Picasso, among others.
In addition to works currently housed in the Alba collection, the exhibition includes loans from distinguished museum collections that were once part of the Alba holdings. These loans serve to complement the contributions from the Alba family and showcase the full scope of the family’s collecting history.
The exhibition’s highlights include:
The Duchess of Alba in White by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1795, above right), a portrait that serves as testament to the close relationship between Teresa Cayetana de Silva Alvarez de Toledo, the 13th Duchess of Alba, and the famed Spanish painter.
Charles V and the Empress Isabella by Peter Paul Rubens (c. 1628), a double portrait painted after a lost work by Titian.
Girl with Hat with Cherries by Pierre Auguste Renoir (1880, at right), a portrait painted toward the end of the artist’s Impressionist period.
The Bible of the House of Alba, an early 15th-century illuminated manuscript and one of the earliest known translations of the Old Testament from Hebrew into a Romance language. It contains commentary written by both Christian and Jewish theologians, and was an attempt to encourage stronger ties between Christians and Jews.
One of Christopher Columbus’s logbooks, a set of manuscripts documenting the explorer’s journey of discovery of the New World in 1492. The House of Alba’s archive of 21 Christopher Columbus documents includes nine personal letters (one of which is addressed to Columbus’s son Diego) and four of the only remaining documents written during the time of his four voyages.
The Virgin of the Pomegranate by Fra Angelico (c. 1426), a centerpiece of the Alba family’s collection since 1817 when it was acquired in Florence by then-Duke of Alba Carlos Miguel Fitz- James Stuart. Rarely publicly displayed, the painting depicts the Madonna and Child engulfed in a golden cloth and flanked by two angels, and showcases Fra Angelico’s mastery of naturalistic compositions through the figures’ delicate features and surrounding drapery.
Mercury Enamored of Herse by Willem de Pannemaker (1570), one of eight mythological tapestries that comprise the only complete surviving example of a series depicting Ovid’s tale of the loves of Mercury and Herse.
The House of Alba — for centuries the most illustrious household in Spain, with close ties to the monarchy — remains one of the foremost noble families in Europe, with roots dating back to the mid-15th century when Fernando Álvarez de Toledo was named Count of the town of Alba de Tormes. The Albas have since forged connections with members of some of the most prominent dynasties in European history, including the House of Stuart; the Count-Dukes of Olivares; the Duchy of Veragua (descendants of Christopher Columbus); Napoleon III and his wife, Eugenia de Montijo; and the Churchill family.
Over the past five centuries, the Alba family’s patronage, connoisseurship, and ties to Western royalty have shaped the growth and trajectory of the Alba collection, now one of the greatest private collections in the world. Until her passing in November 2014, the head of the Alba family was Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, the 18th Duchess of Alba, who bore more recognized titles than any other noble today. She is succeeded by her son, Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo.
“Our will is to share the works and pieces that make up the collection of the House of Alba Foundation with a public that is increasingly knowledgeable and more interested in culture and history,” said Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, Duke of Alba. “This selection of objects allows us to present different works and documents that have survived the vicissitudes of history and represents the greatest treasure of the legacy of our family. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for making the public aware of the steady and silent work of preservation and upkeep that the House of Alba has been doing for centuries.”
As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, SMU’s Meadows Museum will present an exhibition spanning 500 years of Spanish art – and the first in the United States of paintings from the treasure trove of one of the world’s top collectors.
The Abelló Collection: A Modern Taste for European Masters will be on view April 18-Aug. 2, 2015. The show features approximately 70 paintings spanning the 16th to the 21st centuries – including works by such Spanish masters as El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera, Francisco Goya, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso, as well as by other European artists including Georges Braque, Canaletto, Edgar Degas, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse and Amedeo Modigliani, among others.
The exhibition will feature Francis Bacon’s Triptych 1983, one of the artist’s final works in this iconic format. Also included will be an ensemble of 15 drawings by Pablo Picasso, representing all periods in his long career.
The Abelló Collectionjoins the Meadows’ ongoing series of international partnerships that are bringing Spanish masterworks to the United States. In addition, it is a cornerstone to the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, which will continue throughout 2015.
Based in Madrid, Juan Abelló is one of Spain’s most prominent art collectors — and has been internationally recognized as one of the top 200 collectors in the world since he began collecting art over three decades ago. Along with his wife Anna Gamazo, Abelló has amassed more than 500 outstanding works of art spanning 500 years of European history.
The Abelló Collection is grounded in the couple’s dedication to bringing great national works of art back to Spain that have been dispersed over time in the turmoil resulting from centuries of political and economic strife — from the Napoleonic invasion, to numerous historical financial crises.
Abelló’s collecting bears a parallel to that of Meadows Museum founder and SMU benefactor Algur H. Meadows, who similarly devoted his fortune to the collection, study, and presentation of Spanish masterworks, and to strengthening international awareness of Spain’s robust cultural tradition.
“The Meadows Museum is incredibly grateful for the generosity of Juan Abelló and Anna Gamazo, who have so graciously agreed to lend these extraordinary masterpieces from their collection for an international debut in Dallas,” said Mark Roglán, The Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are honored to have the opportunity to present for the first time in the United States paintings from this outstanding collection, which showcases Spain’s powerful artistic legacy, and perfectly coincides with our institution’s founding mission and role as a leader in the research and presentation of Spanish art.”
On view through Sunday, March 1, 2015, Goya: A Lifetime of Graphic Invention provides visitors with a rare opportunity to view complete first-edition sets of Goya’s four great print series – Los Caprichos (The Caprices, 1799), Los Desastres de la Guerra (The Disasters of War, 1810-19), La Tauromaquia (Bullfighting, 1816), and Los Disparates (The Follies, 1815-23) – as well as the Museum’s holdings of Goya’s paintings, which will be displayed alongside the prints.
Curated by Meadows/Kress/Prado Fellow Alexandra Letvin, the exhibition, which opened Sept. 21, also features the Museum’s recent gift of a trial proof from Los Disparates, Disparate Puntual (Punctual Folly), and closely follows the Meadows’ acquisition of Portrait of Mariano Goya (1827), one of the artist’s final paintings, in 2013.
The Meadows houses one of the largest public collections of Goya’s works in the United States, and the exhibition will enable visitors to experience for the first time the Museum’s extensive Goya holdings at once.
“Goya’s mastery in prints marked a turning point in the evolution of graphic art and had a profound influence on the work of later artists, such as Manet and Picasso,” says Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. “As the Meadows Museum’s collection is one of the largest depositories of Goya’s works – including the recent acquisition of a late portrait of his grandson, which was a gift in honor of our anniversary – it seems appropriate to kick off the celebration with an exhibition of his genius.”
Goya, widely regarded as one of the most important artists in Western history, represents both the culmination of the Old Master tradition and the beginning of modernity. A witness to decades of political upheaval and social unrest, he began experimenting with printmaking in the late 1770s. The most ambitious endeavor of his early career was a group of 11 etchings (1599-1660) after paintings by Diego Velázquez housed in the Spanish Royal Collection, three of which will be featured in the exhibition alongside other examples of Goya’s early prints, including a rare trial proof for an unpublished etching.
Shortly thereafter, following an illness that left him permanently deaf, Goya produced 28 drawings titled Sueños (Dreams), which formed the initial core and inspiration for the artist’s first large-scale print series, Los Caprichos. These 80 aquatint etchings engage a variety of themes – including the complex relationship between men and women, ignorance, superstitious beliefs, and witchcraft – and offer a view of human weakness and irrationality that is both deeply personal and imbued with critical social commentary.
“Over the course of his career, Goya produced almost 300 etchings and lithographs that reveal his personal vision, tireless invention, and enthusiasm for technical experimentation,” said Roglán. “This exhibition presents his printed oeuvre as an integral – indeed, defining – component of his life and career, and invites visitors to experience the Museum’s paintings by Goya in the context of his lifelong engagement with printmaking.”
SMU’s Meadows Museum will present a major exhibition of works from one of the oldest and most significant private art collections in Europe.
Treasures from the House of Alba: 500 Years of Art and Collecting will feature more than 100 European works – from paintings by Goya and Rubens to 16th-century tapestries by Willem de Pannemaker and 19th-century furniture created for Napoleon III – most of which have never been on public display or seen outside of Spain, as well as illuminated manuscripts, books, historic documents, miniatures, antiquities, prints, sculpture, drawings, and other objects.
Curated by Fernando Checa Cremades, former director of the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Treasures from the House of Alba will be on view at the Meadows from April 18 through August 16, 2015, and will serve as the cornerstone to the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, which will continue throughout 2015.
The House of Alba – for centuries the most illustrious household in Spain, with close ties to the monarchy – remains one of the foremost noble families in Europe, with roots dating back to the mid-15th century when Fernando Álvarez de Toledo was named Count of the town of Alba de Tormes. The Albas have since forged connections with members of some of the most prominent dynasties in European history, including the House of Stuart; the Count-Dukes of Olivares; the Duchy of Veragua, (descendants of Christopher Columbus); Napoleon III and his wife, Eugenia de Montijo; and the Churchill family.
Over the past five centuries, the Alba family’s patronage, connoisseurship, and ties to Western royalty have shaped the growth and trajectory of the Alba collection, which is now one of the greatest private collections in the world. The current head of the Alba family is Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, the 18th Duchess of Alba, who bears more recognized titles than any other noble living today.
“Our will is to share the works and pieces that make up the collection of the Foundation House of Alba with an increasing public, each time more knowledgeable and more interested in culture and history. This sample allows us to present different works and documents that have survived the vicissitudes of history and that make the greatest treasure of the legacy of our family. It is also an extraordinary opportunity for making visible the steady and silent work of preservation and upkeep that the house of Alba has developed for centuries,” said Carlos Fitz-James Stuart y Martínez de Irujo, Duke of Huescar.
“The Meadows Museum is incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Duchess of Alba and the entire Alba family, who have so graciously agreed to lend a range of preeminent works from their collection for this groundbreaking exhibition. These extraordinary works of art, many of which have never left the Alba family’s personal estates, are a treasure trove and a fount of new art historical knowledge,” said Mark Roglán, Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts.
“We are honored to present the first exhibition of this outstanding collection in the United States, sharing these works of art that tell the story of a remarkable family and provide an unprecedented opportunity to explore the panoply of cultural achievement and European history. We are honored that Fernando Checa Cremades will be curating Treasures from the House of Alba and working with the Museum to present the collection in a way no one has experienced before.”
SMU’s Meadows Museum is co-organizing the first retrospective of work by Joaquín Sorolla to focus on the impact the artist had in the United States.
Sorolla and America features nearly 160 works by the Spanish Impressionist, including several of his most iconic paintings, as well as works that were purchased during the artist’s lifetime and have never been exhibited publicly.
Sorolla was internationally acknowledged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as one of the foremost Spanish painters, and rose to acclaim in America following major exhibitions of his work in the United States in the early 20th century. Those exhibitions were organized with the help of Archer Milton Huntington, founder of The Hispanic Society of America, who became acquainted with Sorolla in London in 1908.
The public response to these exhibitions was unprecedented; the first exhibition Huntington arranged in New York in 1909 drew more than 150,000 visitors in one month. Later that year, that same exhibition traveled to Buffalo to the museum now known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and to the Copley Society of Art in Boston. It also inspired a second exhibition, which traveled in 1911 to the Art Institute of Chicago and St. Louis Art Museum.
The enthusiastic reception of Sorolla’s work led to a series of portrait commissions for the artist from notable Americans including President William Howard Taft and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Because those commissions and a large portion of the work Sorolla produced for the American exhibitions quickly entered private collections, much of it has gone undocumented.
Blanca Pons-Sorolla – great-granddaughter of the artist and guest curator of Sorolla and America – has worked for decades to locate these paintings and portraits. The exhibition will feature more than 100 works that have not been publicly exhibited since they were presented in the U.S. during Sorolla’s lifetime, including more than 40 works that will be publicly displayed for the first time. Together, the works offer an exceptional insight into how Sorolla inspired, and was inspired by, America.
“The Meadows Museum is uniquely well suited to present the first exhibition examining the reciprocal influence Sorolla had on America and America had on Sorolla,” said Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. “The research Blanca Pons-Sorolla has done to uncover works that have survived in private homes, coupled with our own collection of Sorolla works, will allow us to present the pivotal artist in a way no one has seen him in the last century.”
Each work in the exhibition was either created in America, exhibited in America, or sold in America during Sorolla’s lifetime. The show features works from many notable U.S. collections, including The Hispanic Society of America, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the private collection of the U.S. Department of State — as well as five Sorolla works from the Meadows’ collection. In addition to American loans, works from Mexico, Spain and other European countries will complete the exhibition.
Another Marguerite! (¡Otra Margarita!), 1892, a monumental canvas depicting a young woman accused of suffocating her child. Sorolla submitted the work to the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago in 1893, where the painting received a Medal of Honor. This was the first work by Sorolla to enter an American museum (Washington University in St. Louis – now the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum).
Sad Inheritance (¡Triste herencia!), 1899, one of Sorolla’s most iconic works, which earned the highest awards at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900 and Spain’s National Exhibition in 1901. Together with Another Marguerite!, it set the stage for his introduction to the American patrons who would eventually bring his work to the United States.
Valencia Beach: Morning Light, 1908, originally on view at The Hispanic Society of America in 1909 and later purchased by the institution. Sorolla’s beach views were all painted in situ, and he received numerous accolades in the press and in scholarly articles for his technique.
Portrait of William Howard Taft, President of the United States of America (El Presidente de los Estados Unidos William Howard Taft), 1909, the first portrait ever painted of the 27th President of the United States.
Portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911, painted in the gardens at Tiffany’s country estate on Long Island just days before Sorolla departed America.
A series of nearly two dozen casual sketches Sorolla made on the backs of paper menus while he was in New York City and Chicago, revealing his interest in the residents of those cities.
Christopher Columbus Leaving Palos, Spain, 1910, one of the largest and most important commissions by business magnate Thomas Fortune Ryan; Sorolla traveled to Spain to research the subject and based the portrait on one of Columbus’ descendants.
The 320-page catalogue for Sorolla and America published by Ediciones El Viso will, for the first time, include a complete list of all works exhibited, created and sold in America during the artist’s lifetime, including works that have yet to be located. The catalog will be edited by Blanca Pons-Sorolla and Mark Roglán and will include essays by M. Elizabeth Boone (University of Alberta), Mitchell Codding (The Hispanic Society of America), Maria López Fernández (Fundación MAPFRE), David Ruiz López (Museo Sorolla), Roxana Velásquez (The San Diego Museum of Art).
The exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum, The San Diego Museum of Art, and Fundación MAPFRE. The contributions of The Hispanic Society of America have been crucial to the success of this exhibition. A gift from The Meadows Foundation has made this project possible.
A $1 million gift from Linda and William Custard of Dallas will establish and endow the position of Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU. An additional $1 million from The Meadows Foundation will add to the endowment of the position.
Mark Roglán, who has served as director of the Meadows Museum since 2006, will be the first holder of the position of the Custard Director of the Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. As the chair of the Meadows Museum Advisory Board since 2009, Linda Custard has worked closely with Roglán in development and expansion of Museum programs.
The Centennial designation is a special gift category during SMU’s 100th anniversary commemoration, 2011-15. Centennial endowments include operational funding to support the immediate needs of a scholarship or academic position while the principal of the endowment matures.
“We are deeply grateful to Linda and Bill Custard for their generosity in establishing this endowed position for the Meadows Museum and Meadows School,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Linda Custard has provided dedicated leadership on the SMU Board of Trustees and the Leadership Council of the Second Century Campaign. This endowed Centennial chair supports one of the campaign’s highest priorities. It brings the total of SMU’s endowed academic positions to 93 toward a goal of 100.”
“Mark Roglán has enhanced the Meadows Museum’s international stature with important new programs, such as a partnership with the Prado Museum in Madrid,” said Linda Custard. “I have been privileged to assist him in implementing some of his exciting plans for the Museum. Bill and I are pleased that we can endow the Museum directorship and delighted that Mark will be the first person to hold the position.”