Meadows Museum acquires monumental portrait by Ignacio de Zuloaga y Zabaleta
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Meadows Museum acquires monumental portrait by Ignacio de Zuloaga y Zabaleta
Ignacio Zuloaga y Zabaleta (Spanish, 1870-1945), Portrait of the Duchess of Arión, Marchioness of Bay, 1918. Oil on canvas. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum Purchase with funds generously provided by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Levy and Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Heremele, MM.2014.05. Photo: Michael Bodycomb.

DALLAS, TX.- The Meadows Museum announces the acquisition of a life-size portrait by the modern Spanish master Ignacio de Zuloaga y Zabaleta as part of its ongoing initiative to expand and enhance its collection and further strengthen its role as a leading center for the study and presentation of Spanish art. Portrait of the Duchess of Arión, Marchioness of Bay (1918) builds on the Meadows’s prior acquisition of additional works this year— including those by artists Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, Miquel Barceló, and Juan Muñoz—as well as the Meadows’s holdings of two works by Zuloaga, The Bullfighter “El Segovianito” (1912) and View of Alquézar (c. 1915-20). Portrait of the Duchess of Arión complements and strengthens the Museum’s existing collection of early 20th-century art. The painting is currently undergoing cleaning at the Meadows conducted by Lucía Martínez Valverde, a conservator at the Museo Nacional del Prado. The cleaned work is on public view at the Museum.

“This work is an exciting addition to the Meadows’s collection both in terms of the significance of its creator—one of Spain’s great modern artists—and the painting’s place within Zuloaga’s oeuvre,” said Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. “Zuloaga was a key player in the 20th-century art scene, and this piece will perfectly complement our growing collection of early modern Spanish art. We are extremely grateful to the Levy and Hermele families for making the acquisition of this work possible.”

Portrait of the Duchess of Arión previously hung in the subject’s residence, the Palacio de Montellano, for almost fifty years. After the Duchess’s death in 1959 and the subsequent demolition of her palace in 1966, the Duchess’s portrait remained with her descendants until it was offered for purchase earlier this year.

The work reflects Zuloaga’s diverse artistic influences, from Spanish masters such as Velázquez, Zurbarán, Ribera, El Greco, and Goya, to his contemporaries, including Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Zuloaga’s unique mix of styles earned him a reputation for innovative depictions of aristocrats and intellectuals. Along with Joaquín Sorolla, Zuloaga is regarded as one of the most important Spanish painters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Together, Sorolla and Zuloaga represent the culmination of the Spanish early modern school, adopting some of the principles of international modern movements such as Impressionism and Symbolism, but reinterpreting those principles within Spanish historical and artistic traditions.

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