GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco de (1746-1828)
Los Proverbios, the complete set of etchings with aquatint and drypoint, 1816-24, on heavy wove paper, watermark Palmette or without watermark, very good, richly printed impressions from the First Edition of three hundred copies, with the lithographic title page
Madrid: Real Academia de Nobles Artes de San Fernando, 1864. Complete set of 18 etchings with aquatint and drypoint, with the lithographic title-page, on heavy wove paper, without watermarks. Sheet size: 17 1/4 x 12 1/8 inches.
Quarter morocco over 19th century marble paper boards. Spine lettered gilt.
First edition, one of 300 copies, of Goya's print series, completed in the years between 1815 and 1824.
The original series comprised 22 plates, which were left with Goya's son Xavier on his departure from Spain in 1824; they remained hidden until Xavier's death in 1854. Eighteen passed through two different owners before they came to the Royal Academy of San Fernando in 1862, where they were published in this first, posthumous edition in 1864. Four remaining plates were discovered in Paris in the early 1870s, and were eventually published in the periodical, L'Art, in 1877. Evidence suggests that Goya started work on this series in 1815 and continued until 1819. When he left Spain and the absolutist regime of King Fernando VII for exile in Bordeaux, France, in 1824, he effectively left the proofs of Los Proverbios in wooden boxes in Spain, and never returned to them. Although Goya almost certainly intended to publish the series, it was never published in his lifetime. The first edition, published by the Real Academia de Nobles Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, in 1864 was at the time titled Los Proverbios (Proverbs). It quickly became apparent that the mysterious scenes depicted by Goya were not illustrating proverbs at all, but in 1864 the proofs Goya had produced in his lifetime were not known, nor was his title for them, Los Disparates (Follies). The series was made in a very particular political and personal context for Goya, at a time when he was not in the court's favour anymore, the new King Fernando VII preferring the court painter Vicente López (1772-1850) to him. Goya had confined himself to his house and focused on a world of his own, fully aware of the political situation and events around him but artistically removed from the demands of the court. The works also came at the end of the War of Independence (the Peninsular War, 1808-1814), the horrors of which the artist had unapologetically explored in one of his other great print series, Los Desastres de la Guerra. This context allowed Goya's fierce imagination to develop in Los Proverbios, in a work stunningly modern for his time.
Deltiel 202-219; Harris 248-265.