The subject of this study has been variously considered to be a non-specific reveller, playing his tambourine and castanets and seemingly struggling to dance at the same time, or a semi-official crier, announcing some event to the community. Either way, Goya has captured to perfection the man’s slight self-consciousness, which is rather at odds with the abandonment of his pose. Despite these underlying tensions, the image entirely lacks the brooding overtones of the following lot, and remains an essentially positive image. A number of drawings in this rich and varied album are similarly light-hearted, including the very next sheet in the original sequence, which represents a village dance.
In Gassier's opinion, the drawings in Album F were executed circa 1815-1820. Juliet Wilson-Bareau, for her part, sees close similarities with drawings from the Inquisition Album (circa 1808-1814), so is inclined to believe that Album F was at least begun at around the same time, circa 1812, and used until perhaps 1820, whereas Eleanor Sayre locates the album towards the end of this range, circa 1817-20.4 The pages of Album F are numbered with the brush at the top, in Goya's hand, the highest known number being 106. On the present sheet, the number 88 was written by Goya, while the 17 is in the hand of Federico de Madrazo (see Provenance). It appears that Goya's son, Javier, consolidated the eight original Private Albums into just three large volumes after his father's death in 1828, but respected the page order established by his father. After Javier's death in 1854, the albums passed in turn to his son, Mariano Goya y Goicochea, before being acquired by Federico de Madrazo together with his brother-in-law Román Garretta y Huerta. It seems it was Madrazo who removed Goya's drawings from the three larger volumes assembled by Javier, splitting them into groups to be either sold or kept for his own collection. Those that he chose to keep were renumbered, disregarding the original order of the pages, pasted down onto distinctive sheets of pink paper, and bound into three new albums.5 The present drawing became sheet number 17 in the third of Madrazo's albums.
Later, the drawing was part of the important group of works by Goya assembled in the late 19th century by the French collector Emile Calando,6 who owned at least 35 drawings by the artist (fig. 1). Ten of those were bought at a single Paris sale in 1877 (see Provenance), when no fewer than 105 drawings by Goya were sent for sale by Paul Lebas, most probably acting on behalf of Madrazo, while others from the same group, including the present sheet, made their way into the Calando collection at a slightly later moment.7
As regards the provenance, Juliet Bareau has kindly confirmed that the drawing cannot be identified with any lot in the printed catalogue of the 1877 Lebas sale. But since the sequence of the Madrazo numbers otherwise runs uninterrupted in that sale, and the others nearby in the sequence were purchased by De Beurnonville, and subsequently, like the present sheet, entered the Calando collection, she believes the most likely explanation is that this drawing was inadvertently omitted from the printed catalogue, but still offered in the sale as an added lot.
The Goya drawings from the Calando collection, now dispersed through various public and private collections throughout the world, included many spectacular and highly important sheets, but none more characteristic of Goya's artistic genius and unique vision than this image of a seemingly carefree musician who, on closer examination, is revealed as painfully exposed and vulnerable.
1. For a full account of these albums, see J. Wilson-Bareau, Goya, drawings from his private albums, exhib. cat., London, Hayward Gallery, 2001
2. Monaco, Sotheby's, 2 July 1993, lot 93; New York, Sotheby's, 28 January 2009, lot 99; London, Sotheby's, 6 July 2010, lot 143, London, Christie's, 8 July 2008, lots 66 & 67
3. Gassier 1973, op. cit., p. 385
4. See Wilson-Bareau, op. cit., pp. 91-2
5. For a detailed later history of the albums see ibid., pp. 24-5
6. See F. Lugt, Les Marques de Collection, Amsterdam 1956, p. 150, no. 837
7. See P. Gassier, 'Des oeuvres inédites de Goya?', L'oeil, Magazine International d'art, no. 482, September-October 1996, p. 85
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