On April 26, the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
put on display the Goyas of Zubieta, three portraits of the Adán de Yarza family painted by Francisco de Goya at the end of the decade of the 1780s. Up until then, and following their evacuation to France by the Basque government in 1937 for their safekeeping during the Civil War, they had only been known through academic references and in the press and through photographs from the era.
Since then, and with no change in ownership, the three portraits have remained intact and in the most absolute anonymity, but thanks to the wishes of their descendants, it has been possible to restore, study and exhibit them for the first time to the public and to the scientific community in the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum, where they are on display together with historic documentation and with the original case they were transported in eight decades ago. In these months of public showing, the owners have expressed 'their enormous satisfaction from having had the chance to put the works of art on display' as well as their wish that 'they continue to be linked to their history and to their country'.
The findings of the ambitious research project carried out by the museum have been set down in the digital publication The Goyas of Zubieta. Portraits of the Adán de Zarza familyfreely available at www.museobilbao.comwhere it is explained that the paintings portray three members of the illustrious Basque Adán de Yarza family, native to Lekeitio, and whose lineage dates back to the 10th century: Bernarda Tavira, the widow and mother of Antonio Adán de Yarza, who was to enter into marriage in 1787 with María Ramona de Barbachano. Painted in Madrid, undoubtedly round about the date of the wedding, they are a prime example of Goya's intense activity around 1790, when he was the King's court painter.
Unai Rementeria, the General Deputy for Bizkaia and Chairman of the Museum Board, welcomes the fact that, 'following the recovery and study of this extraordinary artistic heritage of Bizkaia, it can now be announced that Zubieta's three Goyas will remain on display in our museum until 2027'. He also acknowledged this fresh gesture by the family, 'which is a brilliant end to a decisive year for the museum in which we have been able to verify how the link between the institutions and citizens continues to bear the best fruits'.