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This is one of Goya's liveliest male portraits. The sitter's relaxed stance reflects
the painter's intimate response to a friend, a young liberal whose disheveled hair
and garb in the mode of revolutionary France speaks not only of his affinity for
contemporary French fashion, but also of his sympathy for current French politics.

Goya's life spanned a period of political upheaval and military turmoil. In the
early years of the nineteenth century, before he witnessed the horror of the Peninsular
wars, Goya welcomed the idea of a Napoleonic invasion, believing the ideals of the
French revolution to be the only antidote to the abuses of the Spanish monarchy.
Bartolomé Sureda was one of a group of like-minded liberal intellectuals.

A clever young industrialist, Sureda studied cotton spinning in England in order
to introduce the technique into Spain. Later he went to France to learn the secrets
of Sèvres porcelain manufacture and in 1802 became director of the Spanish royal
porcelain factory at Buen Retiro. During the French invasion of Spain, Napoleon
considered him so important to Spanish industry that he detained him in France.

Since this portrait predates many of the sitter's illustrious achievements, Goya
presented him, not as a brilliant industrialist, but simply as an urbane young man.

Details

  • Title: Bartolomé Sureda y Miserol
  • Date Created: c. 1803/1804
  • Physical Dimensions: w79.3 x h119.7 cm (overall)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. P.H.B. Frelinghuysen in memory of her father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer
  • External Link: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Theme: portrait, male
  • School: Spanish
  • Provenance: Possibly Pedro Escat, Palma de Mallorca.[1] Sureda family, Madrid and Seville;[2] (Durand-Ruel et Cie, Paris and New York); purchased 28 September 1897 by Mr. and Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer [Henry Osborne Havemeyer, 1847-1907, and Louisine Waldron Elder, 1855-1929], New York;[3] by inheritance 1929 to their daughter, Mrs. Peter H.B. Frelinghuysen [née Adaline Havemeyer, 1884-1963], Morristown, New Jersey; gift 1941 to NGA. [1] Escat's ownership is first mentioned by Charles Yriarte, Goya, sa biographie et le catalogue de l'oeuvre, Paris, 1867: 148, and subsequently is noted in Conde de la Viñaza, Goya, su tiempo, su vida, sus obras, Madrid, 1887: 263, n. 121. [2] Janusz Gerij, a descendant of the Sureda family, wrote to the NGA that the family has photographs of both NGA 1941.10.1 and NGA 1942.3.1 that were taken about 1892 (letter of 13 May 1995, in NGA Department of Visual Services, copy in NGA curatorial files). [3] Frances Weitzenhoffer, "The Creation of the Havemeyer Collection, 1875-1900," Ph.D. diss., The City University of New York, 1982: 265, cited in Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1993: 222, 343 no. 291. Louisine E. Havemeyer, in Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector, New York, 1961: 136, recalls that "we bought...the pair of 'Sureda' portraits for less than fifty thousand [pesetas]." Mrs. Havemeyer inherited the collection after her husband's death in 1907.
  • Artist: Francisco de Goya

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