1 More
4 More
Property from the Estate of Sophie F. Danforth

A horse covering a she-donkey, while straddling a monk riding it

A horse covering a she-donkey, while straddling a monk riding it
inscribed ‘Este Caso sucedio en Aragon sien-/ do yo muchacho, y el religioso quedo muy/ maltratado del caballo y la Borrica.’ (upper center), numbered by the artist ‘38’ (upper left), with number by Madrazo ‘19’ (upper left), and with inscription ‘F. Goya’ (lower left)
brush and brown ink, fragmentary watermark coat of arms surmounted by a cross
8 1/8 x 5 5/8 in. (20.5 x 14.3 cm)
The artist, part of Album F, ‘Images of Spain’, no. 38.
Javier Goya y Bayeu, Madrid (by descent from the above, 1828, as part of one of three albums formed by him of his father’s drawings).
Mariano Goya y Goicoechea, Madrid (by descent from the above, 1854, as part of one of the three albums formed by Javier Goya).
Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, Madrid, and his brother-in-law, Román Garreta y Huerta, Madrid (acquired through Valentín Carderera Solano, 1856, as part of two of the three albums formed by Javier Goya).
Federico de Madrazo, Madrid (1866, as part of one remaining album, split up circa 1870 in four groups, with the present drawing numbered ‘19’).
By descent to his sons; sale, consigned with most (or all?) of the drawings in three of these four groups through Paul Lebas, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 3 April 1877, lot 40.
Émile-Louis-Dominique Calando, Paris (Lugt 837) (acquired at the above sale); sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 11-12 December 1899, lot 74.
Georges Bourgarel, Paris (acquired at the above sale); sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 13-15 November 1922, lot 90.
Martin Birnbaum, New York.
Helen and Murray Snell Danforth, Providence, Rhode Island (acquired from the above, 1933, then by descent to the late owner).
Sir William Stirling-Maxwell’s manuscript travel journal from 1849, fol. 77v (published in Brigstocke, op. cit., 2015).
F. Lugt, Les Marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes […], Amsterdam, 1921, p. 150, under no. 837.
P. Gassier and J. Wilson, Goya. His Life and Work, London, 1971, no. 1463, ill.
P. Gassier, ‘Une source inédite de dessins de Goya en France au XIXe siècle’, Gazette des beaux-arts, CXIV, sixth series, LXXX, p. 113, no. 40.
P. Gassier, Francisco Goya. Drawings. The Complete Albums, New York and Washington, D.C., 1973, p. 388, no. 308, ill.
H. Brigstocke, ‘El descubrimiento del arte español del Siglo de Oro’, in idem and Z. Véliz, eds., En torno a Velázquez. Pintura española del siglo de oro, exhib. cat., Ovideo, Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Palacio de Velarde, 1999-2000, p. 14.
J. Tomlinson, ‘Recent Publications on Goya’s Prints and Drawings’, Master Drawings, XLII, no. 1, Spring 2004, p. 82.
H. Brigstocke, ed., and A. Jackson, transcription, ‘William Stirling’s Travel Journal, 1849’, in Brigstocke, with A. Delaforce, British Travellers in Spain, 1766-1849, London, 2015 (The Walpole Society, LXXVII), pp. 316-317.
José Manuel de la Mano, Javier Goya’s Legacy. The Albums of his Father’s Drawings, Madrid, 2021, pp. 24, 27, fig. 10, p. 173.
M. McDonald, Goya’s Graphic Imagination, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2021, p. 169.
‘Albums E and F’, in Goya, exhib. cat. Basel, Fondation Beyeler, 2021-2022, pp. 310, 311 (essay by M. McDonald).
Denis Calando, ‘Émile Calando (1840-1898): A Modest Collector with a Mighty Collection’, Master Drawings, LX, no. 4, Winter 2022, p. 527, included in fig. 15.
‘Catálogo’, in the online database of the Fundación Goya en Aragón (accessed April 2023, at
London, Hayward Gallery, Goya. Drawings from his Private Albums, 2001, no. 54, ill. (catalogue by J. Wilson-Bareau).
Sale room notice
Please note the updated provenance which is accessible online.

Brought to you by

Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco Head of Department, Impressionist & Modern Art, New York

Lot Essay

Francisco de Goya recorded the visions sparked by his imagination and his kaleidoscopic view of Spain and his times nowhere with greater eloquence and poignancy than in the drawings made for his private albums. They have been described as “journals—drawn not written—whose pictorial entries of varying length pertained predominantly to what Goya thought rather than what he saw,” and “an ongoing visual exploration […] whose personal character is central to their purpose” (E.A. Sayre, “An Old Man Writing. A Study of Goya’s Albums,” in Bulletin. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, LVI, no. 305, Autumn 1958, p. 120; McDonald, op. cit., 2021, p. 15).
The albums were broken up and the drawings rearranged by his son Javier Goya y Bayeu (1784-1854), who inherited them at the time of Goya’s death; they were understood and studied as part of the albums they originally belonged to only in the second half of the twentieth century, in particular in the publications of the Goya scholars Eleanor Sayre (op. cit.) and Pierre Gassier (op. cit., 1973), and in the catalogue of a 2001 exhibition in which this drawing was included by Juliet Bareau-Wilson (op. cit.). Grouping the drawings again by technique and subject-matter, these publications presented a reconstruction of the eight albums for which a great number of Goya’s were made, designating them with the letters A to H. They span the entire latter half of the artist’s career, from the late eighteenth century until his death in exile in Bordeaux in 1828.
The present sheet, numbered “38” by Goya in black chalk, originally belonged to Album F, also named the “Sepia album” (Gassier, op. cit., 1973, p. 385), after the color of the ink used in the drawings; or, in a rough characterization of its themes, “Images of Spain” (Wilson-Bareau, op. cit., p. 17). It once contained at least 106 sheets, of which the majority is now in the two main collections of the artist’s drawings, the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Gassier, op. cit., pp. 385-388, nos. F.1-F.k, ill.; Bareau-Wilson, op. cit., pp. 91-92, nos. 48-67, ill.; J.M. Matilla and M.B. Mena Marqués, Goya. Only my Strength of Will Remains, exhib. cat., Madrid, Museo Nacional del Prado, 2019-2020, pp. 185, nos. 111-121, ill.; McDonald, op. cit., 2021, pp. 168-169, nos. 52-65, ill.). Goya used a sketchbook composed of Spanish paper, which provided “a strong and luminous support” for his virtuoso layering of brush strokes (Bareau-Wilson, op. cit., p. 92; for the watermark of the present drawing, see Gassier, op. cit., 1973, p. 388, no. F.I., ill. p. 387). No consensus on the exact date of the drawings in Album F has been reached, but they can be situated between 1812 and 1820, when Goya was also working on another, similar series of drawings, Album C, known as the “Inquisition Album” (Gassier, op. cit., 1973, pp. 223-228, nos. C.1-C.133, ill.; Bareau-Wilson, op. cit., pp. 79-80, nos. 39-122, ill.; McDonald, op. cit., 2021, p. 168, nos. 49-51, ill.).
Ranging from crowd and street scenes to confrontations of fencers or wrestlers, the “Images of Spain” also include depictions of beggars, hunters and more violent events, like the drawing presented here, part of a small subset of four in which donkeys play a central role (Gassier, op. cit., 1973, nos. F.36-F.39, ill.). Mostly drawn in light brown ink (sometimes, as here, with the addition of darker carbon ink, as discussed by Marjorie Shelley in her condition report), the drawings from Album F display a command of the brush even greater than that evident in his earlier albums. In the words of Juliet Bareau-Wilson, “its pages demonstrate the greatest variety in style and type of composition to be found among the eight albums and include some of the most radiant and compelling images ever drawn by Goya”; she ranks them among Goya’s “most striking and beautiful drawings” (op. cit., pp. 17, 92). Their execution lends them a startling freshness and vivacity, simultaneously modern and reminiscent of the starkness of seventeenth-century Spanish art, far from the eighteenth-century idiom of Goya’s beginnings – “closer to Velázquez’s brushstrokes than those of Mengs,” as he once remarked in connection with his miniatures on ivory (quoted from Matilla and Mena Marqués, op. cit., p. 27).
Goya describes the rather scabrous scene depicted in the drawing offered here in the inscription at top (for the handwriting, see McDonald, op. cit., 2021, pp. 169, 300, n. 13). It seems to go back to a childhood memory: “This incident happened in Aragon when I was a child, and the monk was much mistreated by the horse, as was the she-donkey.” The peasant behind the horse appears to be drawn on top of the washes in the background, and may have been added as an afterthought to strengthen the scene’s anticlerical flavor, so typical of Goya (Bareau-Wilson, op. cit., p. 184). The drawing is one of only three in Album F with an exact description by Goya of its subject, together with a pair of sheets representing the events leading to the death of a much-hated constable by the name of Lampiños, now in a private collection (previously Christie’s, London, 8 July 2008, lot 67) and at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. 35.103.49; see Matilla and Mena Marqués, op. cit., nos. 118-119, ill.; and McDonald, op. cit., 2021, no. 63, ill.).
Interestingly, the three drawings were the ones singled out in a journal entry from 1849 following a visit to Javier Goya by the Scottish politician, writer and art historian, Sir William Stirling-Maxwell (1818-1878), just after the publication of his famous Annals of the Artists of Spain from 1847. Goya’s son showed him one of the albums of drawings inherited from his father, prompting Stirling-Maxwell to note that the artist “was evidently fond of illustrating any dirty subject,” and describing the present sheet as follows: “Another excellent Capricho is a representation of an event which happened in Aragon—a monk jogging along on his she-donkey finds the latter suddenly covered by a stallion who of course puts his forelegs over the friar’s shoulders—by which the holy man was much bruised & ‘maltratoed’” (the last word a direct quotation from Goya’s inscription; published in Brigstocke, op. cit., 2015, pp. 316-317).
The drawing shares its convoluted provenance with many others from Goya’s albums, recently elucidated by José de la Mano, for whose help we are very grateful. Inherited from Javier Goya by his son, Mariano Goya y Goicoechea (1806-1874), it was bought in 1856 as part of two of Javier’s three albums by Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz (1815-1894), an artist and later director of the Prado, and by his brother-in-law, Román Garreta y Huerta. Around 1870, Madrazo split the drawings remaining in his possession into different groups for each of his children; it was then that he must have numbered the drawing offered here in pen and brown ink, at upper right, “19.” While one of these groups formed the core of the outstanding collection of drawings by Goya today at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, most, or all, of the other drawings from Madrazo appeared in a sale in Paris in 1877, where the drawing under discussion and several others were acquired by the distinguished French collector Émile Calando (1840-1898). The drawing can be recognized in a photograph from 1899 of the impressive group of over twenty works by the Spanish master he brought together (Calando, op. cit., p. 530, fig. 15).
Sold at auction as part of Calando’s collection in 1899, and again in 1922, the drawing was later handled by the great New York art dealer Martin Birnbaum (1878-1970), from whom it was purchased by Helen Metcalf Danforth (1887-1984), the energetic president of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. It has remained in her family until now. This highly personal masterpiece of one of the great draftsmen of all times, exhibited only once before, is here offered at auction for the first time in over a century.

Fig. 1. Francisco de Goya, Constable Lampiños stitched into a dead horse. Brush and brown ink, 8 1/8 x 5 5/8 in. (20.5 x 14.2 cm). Private collection.

Fig. 2. Francisco de Goya, A group of women administering a deadly enema to Constable Lampiños. Brush and brown ink, 8 1/8 x 5 11/16 in. (20.6 x 14.4 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. 35.103.49.

More from 20th Century Evening Sale

View All
View All