The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thomas Campbell Visits the Prado and States Possibility for Loan of Reattributed Painting
The director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas Campbell, was at the Museo del Prado in Madrid today and talked about the recent reattribution of a painting by Velázquez. Photo: EFE/Kiko Huesca.

MADRID.- "Portrait of a Man", a work of art that is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection, which was reattributed to Velázquez last week, will most probably be shown in the Museo del Prado in the near future, stated Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan.

The news story about the reattribution of the painting to Velázquez was announced last week and it has been considered a great accomplishment for the museum. Campbell talked about this before his participation in the first Art Course at the Prado.

"This reattribution to Velázquez of a work that has been in the Metropolitan Museum's collection for decades is the result of the fine collaborative work of two of the Museum's renowned experts: Keith Christiansen, the newly named John Pope-Hennessy Chairman of European Paintings, and Michael Gallagher, the Sherman Fairchild Conservator in Charge of Paintings Conservation. It highlights the depth of the Museum's collection as well as the acumen of its superb curatorial and conservation staff."

The painting shows a man in his mid-thirties, bust length, wearing a black doublet with a stiff white collar, posed in three-quarter view. It is a study from life rather than a finished work. Many areas are in a simple, sketched-in state, with passages left abbreviated in terms of form and finish. The shadowed side of the torso is indicated with long free strokes of black paint that have an intentionally "broken" quality where they have been dragged over the canvas weave. Although the picture has suffered from abrasion, its quality of directness and immediacy is undiminished.

The picture entered the collection in 1949 as part of the bequest of Jules Bache, who headed one of the most successful brokerage firms in the country before the Second World War, and who was an art collector of great distinction as well as one of the major benefactors of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Acquired sometime before 1811 by Johann Ludwig Reichsgraf von Wallmoden-Gimborn (the illegitimate son of George II of Great Britain) and later in the collection of George V, King of Hannover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Duke of Cumberland (1857–d. 1878), the picture was acquired by Bache from the famous dealer Duveen in 1926. At the time, it was considered by a leading specialist as a self-portrait of Velázquez, and as such it entered the Museum. However, more recent scholarship has had a less favorable view of the picture. In the standard 1963 monograph on the artist by José López-Rey, it is described as a "school piece rather close to Velázquez's manner." In 1979, the Museum demoted the attribution to the workshop of Velázquez. What was not realized was the degree to which unnecessarily heavy retouching and a thick, discolored varnish obfuscated the qualities of the picture, making a proper evaluation impossible.

In conjunction with an ongoing project to catalogue the Spanish paintings in the collection, this summer the picture was examined closely. A test cleaning suggested that beneath the yellowed varnish was a work painted in a pale, light-filled palette. Complete removal of the varnish and of the extensive retouching done in a previous restoration revealed a work of astonishing freshness, with all of the hallmarks of Velázquez's sure touch of the brush.

Jonathan Brown, the author of the authoritative monograph in English on the artist and a professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, was asked to examine the newly cleaned picture. He concurred that the work was, indeed, by the artist – most likely an informal, rapidly painted study, with the head more highly finished than the costume and background, which is a thinly painted gray over a warm pinkish-buff ground. Professor Brown will write an article on the picture, re-introducing it to the scholarly literature.

Scholars have long remarked on the resemblance of the sitter in the Metropolitan Museum's painting to a bystander who appears at the far right of Velázquez's great masterpiece, The Surrender of Breda, painted in 1634-35 to commemorate the Spanish victory over the Dutch (Museo del Prado, Madrid). Because of its placement at the edge of the composition, looking out at the viewer, that figure has sometimes been thought to be a self-portrait, whence the idea that the Metropolitan's painting is also a self-portrait – a study for inclusion in that picture and therefore dating from the same moment, when the artist would have been 35. The matter remains highly speculative. There is no consensus who the figure in the Surrender of Breda actually shows; other depictions of Velázquez – most famously his inclusion of himself in his most celebrated masterpiece, Las Meninas – are all much later in date (Velázquez was 57 when he painted La Meninas). The identification of the sitter will doubtless be much discussed by scholars, but the attribution of the Metropolitan's painting to Velázquez seems now beyond question.

Today's News

September 18, 2009

Thomas Campbell Visits the Prado and States Possibility for Loan of Reattributed Painting

New Exhibition at the Zentrum Paul Klee Focuses on Klee's Biography

Tate Gallery Anounces Exhibition for 2010 Including First Major Gauguin Exhibition

Yale Center for British Art Announces Exhibition of Romantic Drawings

PINTA, the Annual Latin American Art Fair, will Present 50 Carefully Selected Galleries

Josh Faught Named 2009 Betty Bowen Award Winner

Major Contemporary Public Art Commission to go on Display as Part of Royal Academy Exhibition

Lady Dai Tomb Exhibition to Open at Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Sculpture Missing from Bernard Madoff's NY Beach Home

Exhibition of Limited Editions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

V&A Museum of Childhood to Present and Exhibition From Paul Trevor's Eastender Archive

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Received Grant to Digitize Collection

Durham Bids to be UK City of Culture 2013: The North East's Best Kept Cultural Secret

Vauxhall 48-Hour Road Movie Challenge at Branchage Jersey International Film Festival

Director and Chief Curator of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art Presents Young Israel Artist Aram Gershuni

The Brunei Gallery to Show Contemporary Indigenous Tapestries by the Fancy Stitch Group

Arts Council England Announces Improved Grants for the Arts

SUNY Plattsburgh Finds, Donates Ancient Fossil to New York State Museum

Lucy Mitchell-Innes Appointed President of the Art Dealers Association of America

Construction Scaffold in Downtown Louisville will Become an Interactive Digital Installation

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch

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, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful