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Francisco de Goya

Fuendetodos 1746 - 1828 Bordeaux
Price range
500,000 – 3,000,000 USD +
Francisco de Goya, more than any other artist, spans the great divide between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and has long been regarded as a prophet of modernity as well as a mirror of his turbulent age.

Goya’s early paintings range from aristocratic portraiture to late baroque subject pictures influenced by a visit to Italy and contact with the Neapolitan artist Corrado Giaquinto (1703–66). His most successful early project was a series of cartoons for the royal tapestry factory, commissioned through the Giaquinto follower Francisco Bayeu (1734–95). These scenes of country life are still in the hedonistic world of Watteau and his followers and the Venetian Rococo, for example The Parasol. Goya’s early portraits also owe much to Venice and it was the esteem he enjoyed in this field that led to his appointment as court painter on the eve of the French Revolution. After an illness, Goya’s view of life darkened and he issued his first great series of prints Los Caprichos, which bitingly criticized the existing social order. Goya continued his successful portrait practice with paintings of royalty, high society and government officials. His royal portraits have been considered unflattering, but they can also be seen as refreshingly honest and a tribute to the new meritocratic ideas spreading from France. His powerful and sexually-charged portraits of the Duchess of Alba, supposedly Goya’s mistress, and of the Marquesa de Santa Cruz, are upstaged (though not by much) by his Naked Maja and Clothed Maja, both painted for the royal favorite Manuel Godoy.

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Selected artworks

Top 3 auction prices

5,069,500 $
7,769,581 $
16,420,000 $


The sales are: Christie’s New York – 24 Jan 2003 lot 136, Sotheby’s London – 9 Dec 1992 lot 84 (4,950,000 GBP), and Christie’s New York – 25 Jan 2023 lot 138 (a pair of portraits).
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Notable exhibitions

London, The National Gallery, Goya: The Portraits, 7 October 2015 – 10 January 2016. Curated by Juliet Wilson-Bareau.

Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Goya: Order and Disorder, 12 October 2014 – 19 January 2015. Curated by Frederick Ilchman, Stephanie Loeb Stepanek and Manuela B. Mena Marqués Rosenthal.

Berlin, Alte Nationalgalerie, Goya: Prophet der Moderne, 13 July – 3 October 2005; travelled to Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, 18 October 2005 – 8 January 2006. Curated by Manuela B. Mena Marqués Rosenthal.

Madrid, Museo del Prado, Goya la Imagen de la Mujer, 30 October 2001 – 10 February 2002; travelled to Washington D.C., The National Gallery of Art, 10 March – 2 June 2002. Curated by Francisco Calvo Serraller.

Madrid, Museo del Prado, Goya and the Spirit of the Enlightenment, 6 October – 18 December 1988; travelled to Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 18 January – 26 March 1989; New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9 May – 16 July 1989. Curated by Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez and Eleanor A. Sayre.

The Hague, Mauritshuis, Goya, 4 July – 13 September 1970; travelled to Paris, Musée de l’Orangerie du Louvre, 25 October – 7 December 1970. Curated by Jeannine Baticle and A.B. de Vries.

London, The Royal Academy of Arts, Goya and his Times, 9 December 1963 – 1 March 1964. Curated by Philip Troutman.


Books on Francisco de Goya

Stephanie L. Stepanek, Frederick Ilchman and Janis A. Tomlinson, Goya: Order & Disorder, exh. cat., Boston, 2014.

Robert Hughes, Goya, New York, 2003.

José Luis Morales y Marín, Goya: a Catalogue of his Paintings, Zaragoza, 1997.

Conde de la Viñaza, Goya: su tiempo, su vida, sus obras, Madrid, 1887.

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