Francisco de Goya
- Francisco de Goya
- Loco (Calabozo)
- inscribed Loco and Calabozo (lower centre) and numbered by the artist 17 (upper right)
- black chalk and lithographic crayon on paper
- 19.1 by 14.6cm., 7 9/16 by 5 3/4in.
J. Boilly, Paris (sold: Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 19th-20th March 1869, lot 48 (album de 20 dessins)
Alfred Ströhlin, Lausanne
A.S. Drey (1939)
Zdenko Bruck, Buenos Aires
Sale: Kornfeld & Klipstein, Berne, 18th June 1980, lot 473
Purchased at the above sale by the late owner
Martigny, Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Goya dans les collections suisses, 1982, no. 20, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery, Victor Hugo and the Romantic Vision, Drawings and Watercolors, 1990, no. 4, illustrated in the catalogue
Geneva, Galerie Jan Krugier, 1991, Victor Hugo and The Romantic Vision, Drawings and Watercolors, no. 4, illustrated in the catalogue
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin & Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten. Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 54, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 75, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo. Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Coleccion Jan y Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2000, no. 86, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Paris, Musée Jacquemart-André, La passion du dessin. Collection Jan et Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2002, no.74, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Vienna, Albertina Museum, Goya bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2005, no. 5, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das Ewige Auge - Von Rembrandt bis Picasso. Meisterwerke der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie-Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 2007, no. 67, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Frankfurt, Städel Museum, Schwarze Romantik. Von Goya bis Max Ernst, 2012-13, no. 16, illustrated in colour in the catalogue
Pierre Gassier & Juliet Wilson, Vie et Oeuvre de Francisco Goya, l'Oeuvre complet illustré, Fribourg, 1970 (English ed. 1971), no. 1725, illustrated
Pierre Gassier, Les Dessins de Goya, Les Albums, Fribourg, 1973, no.G17, illustrated
Galerie Jan Krugier, Dix Ans d'Activité, Genève, 1983, no.1
Françoise Garcia & Francis Ribemont, Goya Hommages. Les années bordelaises, 1824-1828, (exhibition catalogue), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 1998, illustrated fig. 12
Drawings from the Private Albums
Goya is believed to have begun to compile the first of his Private Albums of drawings in 1796, 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 spontaneous 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. It is not known why, at the peak of his career as a painter, Goya turned to this new and totally personal form of expression, revealing a very private aspect of his mind, but one possible factor may have been that in 1793, following a near-fatal illness, he lost his hearing. But whatever the reasons, he embarked at this time on an entirely new way of communicating, through a rich variety of highly animated images, many shocking and brutal, depicted with Goya’s unique and acute observation of the world around him, often reflecting an intense sensibility to the political and moral issues of his time, and manifesting at every turn the painter’s astonishingly fertile imagination.
All four drawings by Goya in this sale of the Krugier-Poniatowski collection (the following three lots, and lot 113 in the sale on 6th February) were originally part of these celebrated Private Albums.
In the unprecedented exhibition, Goya, drawings from his private albums, held at the Hayward Gallery, London, in 2001, Juliet Wilson-Bareau presented and examined the eight Private Albums in depth, and although she stressed in her introduction to the catalogue that we will never really know exactly how the albums were actually composed in Goya's own time, the exhibition revealed a great deal about their genesis, composition and subsequent fortunes after the artist's death. The drawings do not all seem to have been contained in albums from the very beginning; some were apparently kept loose by the artist in folders, and were probably only bound together by him at a later stage. All the pages of each album were, though, ultimately numbered by Goya himself, except those of the first, smaller notebook, the Sanlúcar album (A). After Goya’s death, the eight albums that he left were divided up and remounted twice, and since the late 19th century their pages have become widely dispersed, in public and private collections throughout the world. It appears that Goya's son, Javier, initially consolidated the eight original Private Albums into just three large volumes after his father's death in 1828, but essentially 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, and pasted down onto distinctive sheets of pink paper (see two of the drawings in the Krugier-Poniatowski collection: 'Visiones' and A hunter and his dog on the alert, lots 27 and …), and these pages were in turn bound into three new albums. (For a full account of the later history of the Albums, after Goya’s death, see the 2001 Hayward Gallery, London, exhibition catalogue, Goya, drawings from his private albums, pp. 24-25).
The eight original albums were first extensively reconstructed in 1973 by Pierre Gassier (Les Dessins de Goya, Les Albums, Fribourg 1973), building on the basis of his 1970 monograph on the artist, co-authored by Juliet Wilson, which included all the album sheets known at that time. The standard classification of the sheets and the albums, using letters from A to H, was, however, first established much earlier, by Eleanor Sayre in her pioneering studies on Goya’s albums, written in the late 1950s (see in particular E. Sayre, 'An Old Man Writing. A Study of Goya's Albums', Boston Museum Bulletin, LVI, 1958, pp. 116-36). With great intuition and a keen understanding of Goya's motivation, Sayre outlined a very original, and still entirely valid, way of looking at this great variety of images and subjects, describing these as Goya's ‘journal-albums’. She wrote: ‘Goya in his fifties …. evolved a singular use for drawing albums. They were not notebooks containing a casual assembly of portrait heads, drapery studies and compositions sketches. Neither were they any longer sketchbooks preserving the intermittent record of places he saw and picturesque figures which might be used again. They had been transmuted by him into journals -- drawn not written -- whose pictorial entries of varying length pertained predominantly to what Goya thought rather than what he saw’.
This remarkable sheet, Loco, and also the following lot, Young Woman in white fallen to the ground, are among the hugely powerful, extraordinary late works of Goya that originate from the last two of the artist's Private Albums, now known as Bordeaux albums I and II (traditionally albums 'G' and 'H'). The drawings were made while the artist was in exile in Bordeaux, between the time of his arrival there together with his companion Leocadia Weiss in the autumn of 1824 and his death in 1828.
The present, immensely strong image of a man armed with a stick, eyes wide open in a violent yet distressed expression, arm raised and ready to strike, has been linked, because of the title, ‘Loco’ (Madman), as well as the image, to the group of drawings by Goya depicting people in lunatic asylums. The subjects of album G are very varied, but it contains fifteen such studies of mentally ill people, described by Goya with incredible subtlety and skill, in what have become some of the artist’s most revered images. His acutely accurate depictions of these subjects suggests Goya was deeply interested in mental illness, and also that he must have obtained access to the closed institutions where these people were held, to observe them at first hand.
Still legible, however, beneath the inscription Loco is the artist's first idea for the drawing's title: Calabozo (The Dungeon). In fact, Goya placed this sheet among the earlier images of album G, rather than within the later sequence of drawings of the mentally ill, and it seems that he initially conceived this as an image of a prisoner, whose circumstances have led to madness and extreme violence. At some later stage, though, once the layout of the album had been determined, he seems to have felt that the furious madness expressed by the man was in fact the essential driving force of this image, and that his physical location and the origins of his madness were less significant, changing the drawing's title accordingly (though not, as on some occasions, its numbering). This is an illuminating example of the relationship between words and images in Goya's album drawings, so many of which have titles inscribed by the artist, and of the challenges the artist faced in capturing the essence of his visual messages in words. All the drawings in Album 'G' have short captions of this type, in many cases just a single key word, and these frequently ironic titles initiate a different kind of relationship with the drawing, involving the viewer both visually and intellectually in Goya’s complex emotions.
The pages of this album are all numbered by Goya at the upper corner, the highest number being 60, and are all executed on French paper in black crayon, a choice of medium that is in contrast with the pen and ink and/or wash that the artist used throughout the preceding albums. In her 2001 exhibition catalogue, Juliet Wilson-Bareau carefully analysed Goya’s various and creative techniques, and the great sophistication in his choices of paper and media, and she suggests (op. cit., p. 22) that this choice of black chalk for the Bordeaux album drawings could have offered the aging artist a medium that was versatile, yet also easier to control. Another factor, though, could have been Goya's late interest in lithography, a technique of printmaking with which the vibrant and pictorial effects of chalk, at least as he used it, had much in common. As Wilson-Bareau wrote (ibid., p. 145): 'The drawings, in black chalk or crayon, constitute a brilliantly inventive set of ‘new caprichos’, as Goya himself intimated in his letter to his friend Ferrer in Paris...’
As Pierre Gassier noted, the treatment of the cell in which the figure finds himself in the present drawing can be compared with the setting seen in two of Goya’s other drawings depicting madmen, from the same album, 'Loco Africano' (G. 34) and 'Loco' (G. 36), in both of which the human figure also stands out more or less brightly lit, against a very dark area of black chalk (Gassier, op. cit., 1973, pp. 565-66, reproduced pp. 532, 534). Sigrid Achenbach, writing in the Krugier-Poniatowski exhibition catalogues, points out, though, that unlike the other two images mentioned by Gassier, the flight of stairs included in the present composition clearly identifies this space as a prison. Here, the artist depicts a man in a state of profound mental distress while trying to free himself from his captivity, and the use of intense light to sculpt the figure emerging from the darkness behind further heightens the powerful drama of the scene. With astonishing skill and dexterity in the use of the chalk, the image is worked out with extreme freedom, but closer examination reveals, as is so often the case in Goya’s drawings, that the artist has in fact made significant changes to the composition, in particular to the position of the man’s arms, which were initially behind his back. Such continuous reworking and revising of his drawings is a characteristic and fascinating aspect of Goya’s draughtsmanship. His incredible ability to work out his developing thoughts while actually drawing, and his extreme confidence in being able to transform his images during this creative process, to give form to his ultimate ideas (see also Visiones, lot 27 below) mark Goya as perhaps the first truly modern artist, for whom art was fundamentally an expression of his innermost thoughts. Here, Goya chooses to express himself in a particularly extreme and dramatic way, and the 'Loco', with his wild and desperate gesture, is one of the strongest and most iconic images of the artist’s final years.
'The drawings in these private albums express the energy and urgency of Goya’s passionate, overriding interest in men and women and their physical and spiritual fate’ (Juliet Wilson-Bareau)