Meadows Museum opens exclusive show of ‘Royal Splendor’

King Charles IV of Spain, as painted by Francisco de GoyaSMU’s Meadows Museum is preparing to unveil the world’s first major exhibition to showcase the art collection of King Charles IV of Spain. The museum will be the exclusive venue outside of Spain for the exhibition, which allows visitors to explore the refined and varied interests of one of the most important collectors both of his time and in the history of the Spanish monarchy.

Royal Splendor in the Enlightenment: Charles IV of Spain, Patron and Collector runs March 7-July 18, 2010, and features more than 80 works, most of which have never before traveled to the United States. The collection includes some of the finest examples of art styles of the day, from Rococo paintings to a Neoclassical dessert centerpiece of semi-precious stones, lapis lazuli, gilded bronze and enamel.

Other highlights include the ceremonial throne of Charles’ wife, Queen María Luisa, as well as an elaborate sedan chair (below left) in which she was carried by footmen. Also included are works by Francisco de Goya, the first court painter under Charles IV.

Sedan chair of Queen Maria Luisa of ParmaThe exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum and Patrimonio Nacional, and funded by a gift from The Meadows Foundation. Additional support has been provided by the Embassy of Spain, Washington, D.C. and the Consulate of Spain, Houston.

Two corollary exhibits, both funded by The Meadows Foundation, will showcase highlights from SMU’s own holdings. Goya and López: Court Painters for Charles IV features paintings, prints and drawings from the Meadows Museum’s permanent collection by two of Charles IV’s court painters – Francisco de Goya and Vicente López y Portaña. López was known for his mastery of drawing and for his portraiture, and the exhibit includes examples of both. The Goya pieces run the gamut of his artistic work, from an etching of Queen Margarita of Austria to a sobering glimpse of conditions for the mentally ill in Yard With Madmen. The exhibition is organized by the Meadows Museum.

Contours of Empire: The World of Charles IV captures the momentous events of Charles IV’s life (1748-1819) and reign (1788-1808). The exhibition features rare books, broadsides, pamphlets, maps, prints, newspapers and periodicals from SMU’s DeGolyer Library that illustrate a dynamic period in history – drawing not only from Spain but from her colonies, her allies and her enemies. The exhibition is organized by the Meadows Museum in collaboration with DeGolyer Library.

Top right: Francisco de Goya, Carlos IV, 1789, oil on canvas. Madrid, Royal Academy of History.

Top left: Sedan chair of Queen María Luisa of Parma, 1795, wood, gilded metal, bronze, velvet and silver. Madrid, Royal Palace, National Heritage.

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Meadows Museum brings together Diego Rivera’s Cubist works

'Portrait of Ilya Ehrenburg' by Diego RiveraMexican artist Diego Rivera (1886-1957) spent several critical years early in his career in Paris, during World War I, where he immersed himself in literary and art circles and enthusiastically embraced the Cubist movement. While his Cubist works experimented with a range of genres, including landscape and still life, Rivera showed a particular affinity for portraiture, and he created empathetic and moving portrayals of some of the era’s most important figures.

Thirty-one of these works are brought together for the first time in an exclusive exhibition at SMU’s Meadows Museum. Diego Rivera: The Cubist Portraits, 1913-1917 will run June 21-Sept. 20, 2009 and is funded by The Wachovia Foundation and The Meadows Foundation.

“We are thrilled to have organized this exhibition, which will introduce to Dallas a fascinating aspect of one of Mexico’s greatest artists,” says Mark Roglán, Meadows Museum director. “Through the quality of the paintings, complexity of the drawings, and his always evolving technique, this exhibition presents a unique opportunity for our visitors to learn about and appreciate both Rivera’s portraits and Cubism at its best.”

'Dos Mujeres' by Diego RiveraThe exhibition was inspired by a key piece in the Meadows Museum’s permanent collection, Rivera’s Portrait of Ilya Ehrenburg (top right). It is one of only 4 Cubist portraits by Rivera in a public American collection. The additional 22 paintings and 8 preparatory sketches and book illustrations are from museums and private collections in the United States and other countries, and include several works that will be exhibited publicly for the first time.

A complementary exhibition in the museum’s first-floor galleries, Mexican Art at the Meadows, will showcase lithographs by Rivera and other Mexican artists in the Meadows Museum’s permanent collection. Included will be Rivera’s portrait of his wife, Frida Kahlo, titled Seated Nude with Raised Arms, and scenes of rural and peasant life in Mexico.

In addition, the Museum will host several public programs in conjunction with the exhibition, including drop-in art classes, family events, and public lectures by Roglán, SMU Professor Emeritus of History Luís Martín, and Paloma Alarcó, curator of modern paintings at the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid.

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Top right: Portrait of Ilya Ehrenburg, 1915, oil on canvas. Meadows Museum, Algur H. Meadows Collection. Photography by Michael Bodycomb.

Bottom right: Dos mujeres, 1914, oil on canvas. Arkansas Arts Center Foundation, Little Rock, Arkansas. © 2008 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust.