An early work by Goya to be auctioned in Madrid

An early work by Goya to be auctioned in Madrid

On 23 June 2022, Alcalá Subastas will offer “Apparition of the Virgin of Pilar to the Apostle James and his disciples”, painted around 1775 by Francisco de Goya.

By G. Fernández · theartwolf.com · Image: Francisco de Goya, “Apparition of the Virgin of the Pilar to the Apostle James and his disciples”, c.1775.

The painting, an oil on canvas measuring 107 × 80 cm, comes to auction with a starting price of two million euros, which does not seem exaggerated for a canvas of considerable size, good state of conservation, and fairly secure attribution, painted by the most important painter of his time.

However, the work cannot be exported, which will eliminate the interest of foreign buyers, limiting -perhaps decisively- the number of collectors and institutions that could bid for the painting. At the end of 2019, the auction house Ansorena auctioned a “Saint Ignatius of Loyola” by Goya with a starting price of around 600,000 euros, but the work (also non-exportable) did not find a buyer as the minimum price was not reached.

According to Alcalá Subastas, the work was painted around 1775, a fundamental year in the painter’s training, as it was the time when he moved to Madrid to paint a series of tapestry cartoons for the Royal Tapestry Factory, with such famous examples as “La Cometa” (1778) or “El cacharrero” (1779). This dating is somewhat confusing. The auction house indicates that “the subject of the Virgin of the Pilar was chosen by Goya on several occasions. We know of a pencil drawing of one of the pages of the Italian Notebook (f.134r) and a small canvas, 56 x 42 cm, which he painted ca. 1771–1775, kept in the Museum of Zaragoza”. However, due to its subject and size, the painting can be immediately related to “The Apparition of the Virgin of the Pilar” in the Museo Nacional de Arte de Cataluña, which the museum dates to between 1775 and 1785, coinciding with the painter’s brief and disappointing stay in Zaragoza, when he hoped to obtain an important commission for the pictorial decoration of the basilica of Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

Alcalá Subastas also highlights “the good state of conservation of the work, whose restoration work was carried out in the restoration workshop of the Prado Museum, just before the exhibition at the Royal Palace in Madrid”. #2022 #ArtMarket #FranciscodeGoya #theartwolf

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