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Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)

Los Proverbios (D. 202-219: H. 248-265)

Details
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828)
Los Proverbios (D. 202-219: H. 248-265)
the complete set of 18 etchings with aquatint and drypoint, before 1824, on heavy wove paper, without watermark, fine, richly printed impressions from the first edition of three hundred copies, published by the Real Academia de Nobles Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, 1864, with the lithographic title page, with margins, the sheets slightly reduced, mounted on guards, in marbled boards, some wear to the cover, generally in very good condition
(album)
S. 12 13/16 x 8 7/8 in. (325 x 480 mm.)
Provenance
Le Nouvel Essor, J. Candillier, Paris, May 1969, no. 108
A small heart or leaf-shaped mark in pen and ink verso (not in Lugt).

Lot Essay

Goya created his final and most enigmatic print series in the years between 1815 and 1824. The series was published under the title Los Proverbios, although Goya's own captions for the working proofs include the word 'disparates', meaning 'follies'. As a result, this print series is known by both titles.

Like Goya's 'black' paintings, begun in 1819 after his recovery from a serious illness and filled with macabre visions, Los Proverbios is imbued with an overwhelming sense of pessimism and appear to reflect Goya's precarious mental state at the time. Each of the etchings depicts isolated figures in dark, often nightmarish landscapes. While some plates appear rather whimsical, others depict gruesome monsters or attacks on innocents. The compositions have few precedents and virtually no parallels in 19th century art, but may be connected with the artist's interest in carnival themes, which he had often explored in his sketchbooks. It is doubtful that Goya ever intended them for a wider public.

The fate of the plates after completion is only partly understood. It is known that the series originally comprised 22 plates, and these were left with Goya's son Javier upon the artist's departure from Spain, remaining hidden until Javier's death in 1854. Eighteen of them passed through two owners before coming to the Real Academia de Nobles Artes in 1862, where they were cleaned and published in a first, posthumous edition in 1864. It was at this point the proverbs were assigned. Meanwhile, the four remaining plates had made their way to Paris, where they were discovered in the early 1870s. These four were eventually published in the French periodical L'Art in 1877 (see lot 30).

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