New Acquisition: Francisco de Goya's La Tauromaquia
Acquisition of La Tauromaquia
In 1974, Montgomery Gallery acquired first-edition sets of three of Francisco de Goya's four etching series: Los Caprichos (Caprices, 1799), Los Desastres de la Guerra (Disasters of War, 1810-14), and Los Disparates (Follies, also known as Los Proverbios or Proverbs, 1815-24). Twenty-five years later, the fourth has, at last, joined the collection. Last fall, a superb first edition of La Tauromaquia (Bullfight, 1816) was purchased with funds provided by the estate of Elise and Walter Mosher. It was worth the wait. With this acquisition, the Gallery joins a small number of museums internationally (including the Louvre, Prado, and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) in which it is possible to see and study first editions of all of Goya's etching series under one roof. Given the Gallery's modest size and means, this is an accomplishment of which the College can be proud, as it offers Pomona students an opportunity available in no other comparable academic museum.
That Pomona College can boast so fine a collection of Goya's prints is due to several individuals. The three series acquired in 1974 were the gift of famed collector Norton Simon, who had taken over the insolvent Pasadena Art Museum in that year, transforming it into a showcase for his extraordinary collection. Simon was a particular admirer of Goya, ranking him, as do many print connoisseurs, with Dürer, Rembrandt, and Picasso as one of the greatest artist-engravers of all time. A scholarly collector, Simon owned several first-edition sets of Goya's print series. His interest in Pomona was the result of his relationship with art historian David Steadman, who had directed Montgomery Gallery since 1973. Simon's gift of the Goyas reflected his respect for the College and support of Steadman's intention to develop a high-quality print collection here.