The Pleasure of Objects: The Ian & Carolina Irving Collection

The Pleasure of Objects: The Ian & Carolina Irving Collection

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 13. Portrait of Doña Isidora Navarro.

Spanish or Mexican School, Circa 1810

Portrait of Doña Isidora Navarro

Auction Closed

January 30, 06:14 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 USD

Lot Details


Spanish or Mexican School, circa 1810

Portrait of Doña Isidora Navarro

inscribed upper right beneath a coat of arms: D.A ISIDORA AVS A NAVA- / RRO. E.SPV. D[E] DAZA ANTES. / MAD. HV.

oil on canvas

canvas: 66 by 40 ½ in.; 167.7 by 102.9 cm.

Private collection, Toulouse

Private collection, New York

With H.M. Luther, Inc., New York

From whom acquired by Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts, 2007

From whom acquired

Painted in the first decade of the nineteenth century, this Portrait of Doña Isidora Navarro is emblematic of neoclassical portraiture in the Spanish speaking world. The young Isidora, aged about ten to twelve years old, stands, clutching her dog to her side. A doll, a reminder of her still tender age, is posed on the table to her left. She is dressed in a fashionable, high-waisted white “empire” day gown, trimmed with gold fridge at the bottom, over which she wears a red jubón, a type of doublet or jacket. Her hair is also fashionably dressed, with flowers as well as a spray of brush, reminiscent of portraits of upper-class women painted by Francisco Goya in these years.1

When the current owner acquired the present painting, it was thought to be by a Mexican artist, and the sitter’s family name was not understood. But the inscription, which appears to have been added slightly later, identifies her as a member of the Navarro family, with the fourth quarter likely to be that of the Alcaraz family.2 The inscription suggests she had been married to a member of the Daza family as well. Whether executed in Spain or in the New World, the painting reflects the latest artistic and fashion trends and confirms Doña Isidora as an elite member of society. 

1 The unfinished painting of Queen María Isabel de Braganza y Borbón in the Meadows Museum, Dallas (datable to 1816–18, inv. MM.67.04 ) as well as the Portraits of Maria Vicenta Baruso Valdés and Leonara Valdés de Baruso, both dated 1805 (Sold Christie’s, New York, 25 January, 2023, lot 138) all depict hairstyles dressed with fresh flowers, and the famous Countess of Chinchón of 1800 (Madrid, Museo del Prado, inv. no. P07767) is shown with sprigs of wheat in her hair.

2 The Navarro were a large family with branches all over Spain and the new world, but these arms are closest to those from Murcia in the south (see A. and A García Carraffa, Enciclopedia heráldica y genealógica hispano-americana, vol. LIX, 1948, pp. 184-185, reproduced fig. 80). The Alcaraz family had different branches but their original arms are described as “En campo de oro, un manzano de sinople frutado de manzanos, de gules, y dos orsos de sable empinados, al tronco y afrontados, como para alcanzar el fruto,” (see A. and A García Carraffa, Enciclopedia heráldica y genealógica hispano-americana, vol. III, 1921, p. 190, reproduced, fig. 827).