The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Friday, April 18, 2014


First U.S. Exhibition in 25 Years of Luis Meléndez's Still Lifes to Premiere at the National Gallery of Art
Luis Meléndez (Spanish, 1715 - 1780), Still Life with Melon and Pears, c.1772, oil on canvas, overall: 63.8 x 85.1 cm (25 1/8 x 33 1/2 in.) Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Margaret Curry Wyman Fund.
WASHINGTON, DC.- Delights of the Spanish table depicted by 18th-century painter Luis Meléndez (1715-1780) will be presented to American audiences for the first time in nearly 25 years at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, May 17 through August 23, 2009. In a rare opportunity to explore the artist’s working method, Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life will showcase 31 paintings, some of which have never been exhibited publicly, and nine examples of 18th-century kitchenware similar to those used as studio props by Meléndez.

"The greatest still-life painter of 18th-century Spain, Luis Meléndez had an extraordinary talent for rendering everyday objects with convincing detail, marvelous effects of color and light, and subtle variations in texture," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are grateful to the museums and private collectors who graciously agreed to share their paintings, some for the first time."

Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the exhibition will travel to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, on view September 23, 2009, through January 3, 2010, and to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, on view February 1 through May 9, 2010. Fourteen of Meléndez’s still-life paintings now in American collections will be shown with 17 relevant works by him from collections abroad, exploring the artist’s creative process and celebrating his compelling artistic achievements. Loans of paintings come from major museums such as the Museo Nacional del Prado, Museé du Louvre, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as from private lenders.

Luis Meléndez (1715-1780)
In 1771 Meléndez received a commission from Charles III, Prince of Asturias (later King Charles IV), and his wife, Princess Maria Luisa, to paint an extensive series of still lifes for the New Cabinet of Natural History in the Royal Palace. The commission was intended to depict "the four Seasons of the Year…with the aim of composing an amusing cabinet with every species of food produced by the Spanish climate."

The royal commission, a central event in Meléndez's life, led to modest success with other patrons, although it was cancelled abruptly in 1776. By 1778 these rich and lifelike paintings were moved from the New Cabinet of Natural History to the recently constructed Casita del Príncipe at El Escorial outside Madrid.

Luis Meléndez, who was born in Naples, Italy, and was initially trained in the art of miniature painting by his father, Francisco Antonio, began his career with great promise, studying at the provisional royal academy of art in Madrid, an institution that his father helped to establish. Both Meléndez and his father were expelled from the academy—an event that significantly damaged the son's career prospects.

After studying in Italy, Meléndez returned to Madrid in 1753 to assist his father with a commission to illuminate choir books for King Ferdinand VI. Although Meléndez aspired to the more prestigious post of royal painter, all four of his petitions to the king were denied. In 1780 Meléndez died shortly after declaring himself a pauper, and his reputation sank into relative obscurity.

Overshadowed for centuries by the work of fellow Spaniard Francisco Goya (1746-1828), Meléndez's paintings have received increasing attention and appreciation from scholars as well as collectors. Modern scholarly study of Meléndez's art, including extensive technical examination, has taken on new momentum in the last few decades. The National Gallery of Art acquired Still Life with Figs and Bread (c. 1770) in 2000, and monographic exhibitions in Madrid and Dublin in 2004 have enhanced understanding and recognition of his remarkable talents.

Exhibition Highlights
Paintings, which will be loosely grouped by subject, include nine still lifes from the royal commission and the elegant Self-Portrait (1746) painted while the artist was a student at the academy. The first of his characteristic vertical-format compositions, Still Life with Small Pears, Bread, White Pitcher, Glass Bottle, and Earthenware Bowl (1760), illustrates Meléndez's typical method of painting from foreground to background.

Meléndez often created compositions based on meals served at a particular time of year or according to the religious calendar. He presented the elements of a meatless Lenten meal in Still Life with Cauliflower and Basket of Fish, Eggs, and Leeks (c. 1770), for instance, and the ingredients for a traditional winter dish in Still Life with Bread, Oranges, Garlic, Condiments, and Kitchen Utensils (1772).

Hot chocolate, a favorite of the Spanish upper classes since its introduction from South America in the 16th century, was showcased in Meléndez's Still Life with Chocolate Service, Bread Roll, and Biscuits (1770). An 18th-century copper chocolate pot and wooden whisk, like those used to make hot chocolate in Meléndez's day, will be on view in an adjacent case.

Meléndez kept in his studio a stock of props, mostly common kitchenware, which are frequent subjects in his paintings. In Still Life with Bread, Bottle, and Jug (c. 1770) and Still Life with Bread, Grapes, Jug, and Receptacles (c. 1770), the bread, a ceramic jug with a broken plate as a lid, and wooden-handled utensils are arranged identically, except the viewpoint has shifted. Although the paintings share motifs, each one is strikingly inventive. For example, Still Life with Pigeons, Onions, Bread, and Kitchen Utensils (c. 1774), the first of Meléndez's works to enter an American collection in 1938, reiterates the pigeons found in Still Life with Game (c. 1770).

Several works by Meléndez relate to each other as pairs. The diagonal landscape settings of Still Life with Watermelons and Apples in a Landscape (1771), and Still Life with Pomegranates, Apples, Azaroles, and Grapes in a Landscape (1771) echo one another, and these works may be his first to incorporate rocky landscapes with distant buildings and cloudy skies, replacing his usual wooden tabletop and dark, undefined interior.

Technical Studies
A new investigation by the National Gallery of Art of 15 of the paintings in the exhibition was inspired by a previous technical study made by Peter Cherry, Trinity College Dublin, and Carmen Garrido, Museo Nacional del Prado, who focused on the series of 44 still lifes from the royal commission. Catherine A. Metzger, senior conservator of paintings, and Gretchen A. Hirschauer, associate curator of Italian and Spanish paintings, examined this smaller group of paintings using wherever possible a microscope, infrared reflectography (a tool frequently used to discover drawings made on the canvas prior to the application of paint), and x-radiography (a well-known diagnostic tool in the medical field, used by conservators to reveal artists' methods and compositional changes).

The combined results of the technical studies of Meléndez's paintings bring to light much about his working method. A perfectionist, he revised many of his compositions before deciding on just the right choice and placement of objects. Some of his still lifes were painted over royal portraits―the x-radiograph of Still Life with Beef, Bowl of Ham and Vegetables, and Receptacles (c. 1772) shows that the image we now see completely obscures a portrait of King Ferdinand VI.

Although Meléndez did not always use the highest-quality materials, his work maintained a consistently superb and refined finish. Comparative findings from both of the technical examinations provide clues as to how this gifted artist accomplished the imitation of life throughout his career. It is clear that the items depicted at some point must have originally been painted directly from life, for the rendering of texture, color, volume, and surface anomalies can only have resulted from close observation of nature, even though no independent preparatory drawings survive.

The artist also frequently adjusted or replaced elements in his works. An x-radiograph of Still Life with Figs and Bread (c. 1770) shows that a large wedge of cheese originally occupied the lower right corner, berries covered the plate that now holds figs, and a knife takes the place of three berries that had spilled onto the tabletop.



Last Week News

April 18, 2009

Exhibition of Pioneer Video Artist Nam June Paik Opens at The James Cohan Gallery

Silences, A statement by Marin Karmitz at Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Of Rage and Redemption: The Art of Oswaldo Guayasamín Opens

Fine Art, Antiques & Decorations Auction, Saturday May 2, 2009 at Gray's Auctioneers

Plug In - Re-Imagining the Collection - New Episodes at Van Abbemuseum

VMFA Sets May 1, 2010, As Grand Opening For James W. and Frances G. McGlothlin Wing

2nd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art: Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty

Art Sway Presents Today Gayle Chong Kwan - Terroir and the Pathetic Fallacy

Daniel Schwartz - Travelling through the Eye of History

An Approach to the Museu Hawai - Fernando Bryce Opens at Museum Het Domein

Art for Darfur Brings National Tour of Exhibit Darfur to Dallas

The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) Art Fair Announces Major changes: Moving to Miami Beach

American Folk Art Dealers and Artists To Hold Festival in Napa Valley to Benefit San Francisco Museum

Group Exhibition at the DCCA Focuses on Portrayals of Contemporary American Culture

Judging Books By Their Cover: A History of Bookbinding at the Bodleian

Stedelijk Goes West: The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour

Museum Adventures in Art continues April 18 & 25

Daiwa Foundation Art Prize 2009 - Introducing British Artists to Japan

April 17, 2009

Amedeo Modigliani Exhibition Opens Today at The Art and Exhibition Hall in Bonn

The Morgan Library & Museum Exhibits Superb Collection of Recent Acquisitions

The National Gallery of Canada Opens Today Nomads Exhibition

Rediscovered Cuban Masterpiece By Mario Carreno Leads Christie's Latin American Art Sale In May

The Exhibition "Made in Korea" Opens Today in Hanover

Greenville (SC) Museum Receives Major Painting by Andrew Wyeth

Found and Lost Opens at Museum of Contemporary Art Puerto Rico

Agnieszka Kalinowska: Draughty House at Museum Moderner Kunst

SOFA New York Opens Today at The Park Avenue Armory

Christie's Rich Array of Irish and Spoting Art in May 2009

Sixth Edition CIGE 2009 In Beijing Energizes the Art World

The San Diego Museum of Art Presents 28th Annual Art Alive

Off The Wall: Contemporary Installation at Manhattanville College Gallery of Fine Art

Historical Works from the Bass Museum of Art Together with Contemporary Works Form Exhibition

Kind Of, But Not Really: Emily Kozik, Alex Zak and Noelle Sharp

Healing through Art - Local Artists to Show Work at Relay for Life

The Bronx Museum of the Arts Announces Three New International Artists in Residence

The Weekend Australian Art Melbourne: Affordable & Collectable

Light in the Attic: 2009 Senior Thesis Exhibition Opens at the University of Richmond Museums and Artspace Gallery

April 16, 2009

Maison Européenne de la Photographie Celebrates Henri Cartier-Bresson's Centennial

National Portrait Gallery Acquires Newly Discovered Portrait of First Poet Laureate

Oakland Museum of California Reinventing Visitor Experience with Reinstallation of Collections

Sotheby's To Offer Five Important Works by Vilhelm Hammershoi in its Sale of Scandinavian Art in June

Art Gallery of Ontario Appoints Tony Gagliano as New President

Tsarist Treasures to be Sold at Sotheby's Russian Art Sales

IVAM Shows Alberto Corazon Retrospective at the Vietnam Museum of Fine Arts

Dorestad. World City in the Middle Ages on View at the National Museum of Antiquities

Saint Louis Art Museum Responds to Economy with Reductions

Mississippi Museum of Art Presents Eudora Welty in New York, New Exhibition Marks Welty Centennial

Plains Art Museum and Red River Watercolor Society Present 16th Annual National Watermedia Exhibition

Everson Presents Syracuse's Young Artist Project: Sitting Still

New Orleans Museum of Art and THNOC Present Women Artists in Louisiana, 1825-1965: A Place of Their Own

Major Awards in British Columbia Visual Arts Announced

Sir Brian McMaster One of Four New Barbican Board Members

Roxy Paine Creates Monumental Sculpture for 2009 Installation of Metropolitan Museum's Roof Garden

Smithsonian American Art Museum Presents Monumental Installations by Jean Shin

Intern Development Program Advisory Committee Selects Recipients of IDP Firm Award and IDP Outstanding Firm Award

April 15, 2009

Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup Chosen to Design New Smithsonian Museum

Grosz Heirs File Suit Against MoMA for Artworks Unlawfully Taken During Nazi Era

First Large-scale Showing of Futurism in Britain in Thirty Years at Tate Modern

Monet's Iconic Water Lilies from the Museum of Modern Art Going to Atlanta this Summer

In a Dream: Film Tells the Story of Philadelphia Artist Isaiah Zagar

Peabody Museum Announces Masked Festivals of Canton Bo, Southwest Ivory Coast

Everson to Welcome Frank Warren's Postsecret Exhibition

Major Work by Contemporary Artist Focuses on Stanford Family

Victoria & Albert Museum Announces Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts

35 Works on Video by 22 Artists, All from Latin America to be Shown in Zurich

American Icon Merce Cunningham Celebrates 90th Birthday on April 16

Colorado River Photographs by Karen Halverson Explored in New Exhibition Space at the Huntington

Mississippi Museum of Art Announces New Exhibition

Conversation with Artist-in-Residence Zhang Peili at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Just Added! Tom McCarthy in Person! at George Eastman House

Maryhill Museum of Art Receives $2 Million Bequest From Mary Hoyt Stevenson

Art and Power in the Central African Savanna at the de Young Museum

Plains Art Museum Assistant Director of Education and Curator of Outreach Receive Professional Development Grants

Frist Center Kicks Off 2009 Fridaysconcert Series on May 29

April 14, 2009

Italian Earthquake in the Abruzzo Region Damages Art Treasures, Churches and Monuments

Smithsonian Photography Initiative Announces Its New Blog "The Bigger Picture"

Sotheby's Sales of Impressionist and Modern Art to be Held on May 5 & 6 in New York

Musee Rodin Presents Gillian Wearing, Confessions / Portraits, Vidéos

The Film Society of Lincoln Center to Present On the Edge: New Independent Cinema from China 2009

Live Music Returns to MoMA's Sculpture Garden in July and August

Pulitzer Prize Photographs to Open at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics

Modern Works' Titles Reveal Links to Classical Roots

Depleted Uranium OK for Iraqis and US Troops, but Not for North Carolina

Moscow Museum of Modern Art Presents Tatiana Selvinskaya "Playing Classics"

Argentinean Artist Alberto Montoreano to Show Paintings at Schody Gallery in Warsaw

Exhibitions Continue Exploration into Frye Collection

Rock Prophecies: Feature-length Chronicle of Conflicted Photographer Robert M. Knight

Performance, Video, Music, and Audio Features by Contemporary New York Artists Included in Metropolitan Exhibition

The American Institute of Architects Announces the 2009 COTE Top Ten Green Projects

The Window, Carlos Soríns Poignant, Bergman-Inflected Drama, has U.S. Theatrical Premiere at Film Forum

Artists Vie for Honors in Arts & Crafts Guild Competition

"America's Funniest Home Videos" Brings Laughter to the Smithsonian

Announcing the Establishment of The Július Koller Society

April 13, 2009

Governor Schwarzenegger Returns Holocaust-Era Artwork to Heirs of Jewish Family

Peter Zumthor of Switzerland Becomes the 2009 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate

Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts Celebrates 10th Anniversary

New Morgan Exhibition Examines the Artistry and Innovation of Twentieth-century Stage Design

The Boston Athenaeum Presents "Portrait Week" in April

New Museum Presents Works by Fifty International Artists for First Edition of "The Generational"

Tomas Saraceno Looks to the Sky to Envision New Horizons

Sensitive Vision: The Prints of Beth Van Hoesen to Open at the Portland Art Museum

Oriental Theme on Tap for Spring Fundraiser La Table des Artistes: Chinoiserie on April 24

Robert Hull Fleming Museum to Open Quadricentennial Exhibition

Raymond Martinez Returns to the London Art Scene with Exhibition at the Gallery in Cork Street

Brooklyn Museum Celebrates Sufism with an Islamic Art Installation

"Fashion Forward: Photographs by Louise Dahl-Wolfe" At National Museum of Women in the Arts

The Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia Launches Virtual Museum in Second Life

Seattle Art Museum to Present an Intimate Tribute to the Late Andrew Wyeth

National Gallery of Canada will Consult Photographic Community on Future of Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

Michener Art Museum To Host Jim Henson's Fantastic World In New Gallery Space

Employment Opportunity at the Nevada Museum of Art, Museum Looking for Curatorial Assistant

Fashion Retailer Barbara Freeling Presents An Artful Approach to Dressing

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- 'World's oldest message in a bottle', tossed in sea 101 years ago, reaches granddaughter

2.- East-West/West-East: Qatar unveils desert sculpture by American artist Richard Serra

3.- Ming-era 'chicken cup' sells for $36.05 million breaking record for Chinese porcelain

4.- United States pastor Kevin Sutherland convicted over Damien Hirst fake paintings

5.- Major exhibition at Pinacothèque de Paris explores the myth of Cleopatra

6.- Fondation Vincent van Gogh Arles opens with inaugural exhibition "Van Gogh Live!"

7.- Landmark exhibition opens in New York exploring the ancient kingdoms of Southeast Asia

8.- Palm-sized scroll that mentions Jesus's wife is ancient: Harvard Theological Review

9.- Hitler's wife Eva Braun may have had Jewish ancestry: British television documentary

10.- Bonhams to sell Madame de Pompadour's favourite porcelain which surfaced in Devon after 350 years

Related Stories



Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Rmz. - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site