- Francisco José de Goya y Lucietes
- The Bulls of Bordeaux (Harris 283-286; Delteil 286-289)
- each image approx.: 310 by 410mm 11 3/4 by 16 1/8 in
- largest sheet (H. 285): 407 by 537mm 16 by 21 1/8 in
The complete set of four lithographs, 1825, published in an edition of 100 impressions by Cyprien-Charles Gaulon in Bordeaux in 1825, H. 285 a strong, richly inked, and rare proof before all letters, in an apparently undescribed state before some crayon touches in the lower right corner, and before removal of slip strokes beyond the borderline in the same area, on thin wove papers, except H. 283 on thicker wove paper, each framed
Luis de Berganza (son of Tomás de Berganza, major-domo of the Duke and Duchess of Alba); thence by descent to the family of the current owner.
H. 283: with wide margins, the image is in fairly good condition, apart from a repaired horizontal tear from left sheet edge at centre extending 3cm into the image, two minute repaired losses at upper sheet corners, pale discoloration and scattered foxing overall, but this is not obtrusive in the image, a soft central vertical crease, further soft creasing verso towards the left sheet edge, framed. (The upper sheet edge with a vertical printer's crease extending 8mm into the image).
H. 284: with wide margins, the image is in good condition except for two small areas of skinning in the wall in the upper left corner of image, thinned and skinned areas in the upper margin, particularly in the top left corner, the losses at the sheet edges supported with thick paper, small associated pin holes at centre of upper sheet edges, overall discoloration, stronger at the sheet edges, other minor defects, framed.
H. 285: with wide margins, the image is in good condition, three small paper losses and areas of thinning in the upper margins, a few backed losses at sheet edges, overall pale discoloration, stronger at the sheet edges, scattered foxing, a few pale unobtrusive fox marks in the image (mainly visible in the bull ring), framed.
H. 286: with wide margins, a repaired tear extending from the right sheet edge 13.5cm into the image, although the tear itself is unobtrusive in the image, there is some glue staining verso and associated sheet buckling visible recto, a repaired small paper loss (approx. 4 by 4mm) filled and touched in with pen and ink 7cm above the neck of the principle bull, a few backed paper losses in the upper margin and some additional paper thinning, two further small paper losses in the lower margin, one is backed, overall discoloration and scattered fox marks, other minor defects, framed.
"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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
The historically significant provenance links this set of prints with the household of the Duchess of Alba who died in 1802, leaving the greater part of her estate to her servants, of whom Tomás de Berganza was the most important. Although the Duchess died long before Goya’s departure for France, it is very possible that he remained attached to those he had known well in her circle.
It is also significant that a complete set of the Bulls was owned by Goya’s life-long mentor and supporter, Juan Agustín Ceán Bermúdez. Ceán had always been the principal recipient of Goya’s drawings and of uniquely important sets of all his etchings, including a very fine copy of the Caprichos, the celebrated proofs with Goya’s manuscript titles for the Disasters of War, and the Tauromaquia prints for which Ceán devised a list of titles and corrected their order (all three sets are now in the British Museum). He continued to support Goya, and must have followed his early experiments with lithography in Madrid in 1819, before the artist’s departure for France in 1824. In 1828, Ceán published an account of the province of Aragon and its most celebrated sons, writing of Goya that he was still alive, in his eighties, and alluding to his facility with every artistic technique, including ‘presently, lithography’. When Goya visited Madrid in the spring of 1826, he would surely have brought with him sets of his newly published Bulls of Bordeaux, of which this may well be one.
We are grateful to Juliet Wilson-Bareau for her assistance with the cataloguing of this set.