Lot 113
  • 113

Francisco de Goya

300,000 - 400,000 GBP
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  • Francisco de Goya
  • Hunter and his dog on the alert
  • numbered by the artist 100 (upper right)
  • brush and irongall ink on paper, laid down on a sheet of pink paper
  • 20.5 by 14.7cm


By descent to the artist's son, Javier Goya y Bayeu (1784 - 1854), and by descent to his son, Mariano Goya y Goicoechea, after 1854
Federico de Madrazo, circa 1855-60
Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo, and by descent to Signora Fortuny
Alberto Vitali, Milan
Trinity Fine Art Ltd, London
Acquired from the above by the late owner in March 2005


Venice, Galleria Internazionale d'Arte Moderna di Ca' Pesaro, Goya 1746-1828, 1989


Pierre Gassier, The Drawings of Goya, The Complete Albums, London, 1973, no. F. 100, illustrated p. 470
Pierre Gassier & Juliet Wilson, Vie et Œuvre de Francisco de Goya, L'Œuvre complet illustré, Paris, 1974, no. 1513, illustrated p. 295
Sarah Carr-Gomm, Goya, London, 2000, no. 52, illustrated p. 77


Attached in several places to the pink backing sheet. Stains around the margin due to the glue, which are visible in the image in the catalogue. There is a defect in the paper at the level of the figure's knee, which from the image could look like a scratch, but is not. The paper is slightly beige, with occasional mild foxing. Overall the ink and wash are very strong. Sold in modern wooden gilded frame.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

Goya is believed to have begun to compile the first of his remarkable Private Albums of drawings in 1796, at the age of fifty, when visiting the Duchess of Alba, and he continued this new and extraordinary artistic expression until his death in 1828.  During these last thirty years of his life, he drew some 550 sheets, collected into eight albums, which in the most intimate way describe Goya’s vision of humanity, with freedom of imagination and unequalled power of expression.  The album drawings, generally of a totally personal nature, are therefore a form of ‘visual journal’, not intended to be seen by the general public, like the artist’s prints or paintings, but only to be shared with an intimate and private circle of friends.   

This study is a splendid, spontaneous image of a hunter and his dog, captured by Goya in a fleeting moment, as the huntsman tracking his prey appears to have paused momentarily to cast his gaze briefly at the painter.  It was once part of a group of at least eleven hunting scenes with which Goya concluded the Sepia, or Images of Spain, Album (F).  This album contained the greatest variety of subjects and compositions of all Goya's albums, and as Juliet Wilson-Bareau observed, 'Despite the relatively small size of these drawings, many are among the most striking and beautiful drawings that Goya ever made' (Goya, drawings from his private albums, exhib. cat., London, Hayward Gallery, 2001, p. 92).  The drawings are executed in irongall writing ink on Spanish paper, very few with captions to illuminate the subjects.  The pages are numbered up to 106 and are very similar in size to those of the Inquisition Album (circa 1808-1814).  Wilson-Bareau considers that the Images of Spain drawings should be dated to the same period, circa 1812-20, although Eleanor Sayre preferred a later dating, circa 1817-20 (see Goya, drawings from his private albums, 2001, p. 91).

In his earlier life, Goya had been a keen hunter, and after he moved from Saragossa to Madrid in 1775, he often wrote to his friend Martín Zapater saying how much he missed their hunting expeditions.  In 1819 Goya bought a farm, Quinta del Sordo, in the countryside outside Madrid.  Whether the artist actually moved to the farm or simply used it as a retreat from the city is unknown, but just at this moment in Goya's career he produced a number of beautiful images of hunting and hunters, and this must surely be in some way linked to his presence at the farm.  These delightful drawings always show one or two hunters accompanied by their dogs, captured either in concentrated action or, like here, turning momentarily towards the painter -- though in this case the dog, less easily distracted, still points at the potential prey.  Just visible on the right side of this strikingly sturdy peasant figure is his previous target, a woodcock, hanging from his belt.  Goya is somehow capable of capturing totally convincingly the essence of this passing moment, and the message of the man's gaze, with just a few rapid and assured strokes of the brush, which, in conjunction with his masterly use of the white of the paper, creates a superbly atmospheric and strongly contrasting structure of light and shadows.  As Pierre Gassier observed: ‘This play of light and shade imparts a vigorous modelling to the figures; at the same time it conveys a sharp sense of the open air and sunlight’ (op. cit., 1973, p. 495, under no. F.99).

Of Goya's eight albums of drawings, only the first small album, the Sanlúcar, remained unnumbered; in all the others Goya numbered each drawing, suggesting that the sequence of images was of some importance to him.  Following the artist's death, the drawings from the Images of Spain album appear to have been particularly favoured.  Most of the first thirty pages of the album are preserved in the Prado Museum, Madrid, and when Federico de Madrazo was selecting drawings from five of Goya's eight albums for the composite volume of fifty sheets for his own collection that later passed to his grandson Mariano Fortuny (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art), no fewer than 29 of the sheets that he chose were taken from this album.  Although it was not renumbered by Madrazo, the present drawing certainly was owned by him, as it is still attached to the distinctive pink paper backing that he used (see also 'Visiones', lot 27 in the sale on 5th February).

For more information on Goya’s Private Albums see the introduction preceding lot 25 in the sale of works from the Krugier-Poniatowski collection, on 5th February.