Meadows Museum acquires album of drawings and letters by important Spanish and European artists

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Meadows Museum acquires album of drawings and letters by important Spanish and European artists
Mariano Fortuny i Marsal, “Fragment of a Letter sent to William H. Stewart from Portici, Italy, on September 4, 1874,” [Puppeteer’s Show], Pen, ink wash, and gouache on paper, 8 7/16 x 12 3/8 in, from The Stewart Album, 2nd Half of the 19th Century, Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum Purchase Thanks to a Gift from The Eugene McDermott Foundation and Ms. Jo Ann Geurin Thetford.

DALLAS, TX.- A unique collection of drawings, personal correspondence with artists, and photographs amassed by American collector and connoisseur William Hood Stewart in the late 19th century has been acquired by the Meadows Museum, director Mark A. Roglán announced today. Stewart was an influential patron of the Modern Spanish School and the majority of the items in his personal album are letters written by prominent Spanish artists, many of whom became his close friends. The letters—many of which are illustrated and contain personal stories and business discussions—show the critical role Stewart played in the development of these artists’ careers. The album and a significant number of the letters will be on view in the Meadows Museum exhibition The Stewart Album: Art, Letters, and Souvenirs to an American Patron in Paris from August 25 – November 10, 2013. The journal was acquired thanks to gifts from The Eugene McDermott Foundation and Jo Ann Geurin Thetford (SMU ’69, ’70).

The Stewart album holds a collection of 370 photographs and includes 193 letters from artists, collectors, aristocrats, and dealers from Europe and the United States – among these are Jean-August-Dominique Ingres (1780-1867), Jean-Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891), Jean-León Gérôme (1824-1904), and Mihály von Munkácsy (1844-1900). The majority of the letters were written by artists of the Modern Spanish School, particularly Mariano Fortuny i Marsal (1838-1874), Eduardo Zamacois y Zabala (1841-1871), Martín Rico y Ortega (1833-1908), and Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (1841-1920). These letters are a testament to Stewart’s connoisseurship, taste, and prominence in the international art scene of his time. The acquisition of this robust primary source will further advance the Meadows’ role as one of United States’ leading institutions for research and scholarship on Spanish art.

“Stewart’s collection of correspondence and images provides an intimate look into the careers and stylistic developments of artists who were the masters of the Modern Spanish School and who had a lasting impact on Spanish artists who came after them,” said Mark A. Roglán, director of the Meadows Museum. “The album is an incredible archival resource, and we look forward to welcoming scholars to the Museum to use it in their research. The addition of the album to our collection comes at a particularly exciting time—our current Martín Rico retrospective and upcoming Joaquín Sorolla exhibition allow us to show the influence Stewart, who fostered the taste for Spanish art, had on the artists he supported and subsequent generations of painters from Spain.”

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