Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (Granada 1871 - Venice 1949) was one of the most versatile and idiosyncratic artists of his time. He came from a family of artists and collectors and his father, Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, was one of the leading Spanish painters of the mid-19th century. After his father's premature death at the age of 36, Fortuny and his family moved to Paris. There he joined his uncle, the painter Raimundo Madrazo y Garreta, who tutored him in painting whilst introducing him to other artists, including James Tissot. It was not until he later moved to Venice at the age of 19, however, that he started to experiment in media such as photography and printmaking. He became one of the most influential fashion, textile and furniture designers and producers of his time, as well as a celebrated scenographer.
Fortuny considered print-making to be a very private endeavour. He printed them all himself on a press in his palazzo in Venice. None were ever published or sold and, as a consequence, they are all of greatest rarity and exist in very few, at times even unique, impressions. His widow Henriette bequethed the printing plates to the Calcografia in Madrid.
This recently discovered album constitutes the largest known collection of his prints. Vives and Cuenca record three others; one in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid (58 prints), one in the Calcografia, Madrid (56 prints) and one in the Museo Ca' Pesaro, Venice (49 prints). The present album contains 55 of the 73 recorded etchings, as well as 11 unrecorded prints, and three duplicate impressions in different states. It was undoubtedly compiled in the same fashion as the three described by Vives and Cuenca - by the artist together with his wife, who also numbered and annotated the individual prints on the reverse or on the album sheets.
Mariano Fortuny was fascinated by the past, yet searched for new and unusual forms of expression. This album is a testament to his skill as an original and innovative printmaker. His eery fantasies are reminiscent of the works of Goya, Redon and Klinger, combined with the spirit of the mysterious city of Venice.
For a full inventory, please contact the department.