Overview

The years between Goya's appointment as first painter to the court of Charles IV and the Napoleonic invasion of 1808 were a time of great activity and financial security for the artist. He painted some of his finest portraits at that time, Señora Sabasa García and several others in the National Gallery's collection among them.

In contrast with his earlier work -- The Marquesa de Pontejos, for example -- Goya dispensed with the setting entirely and treated the costume much more impressionistically. Eliminating unessential details, he gave life to the figure with the greatest technical economy, his vibrant brushwork merely suggesting the gossamer qualities of the señora's mantilla rather than defining its details.

Señora Sabasa García was the niece of Evaristo Pérez de Castro, Spain's minister of foreign affairs, for whom Goya was painting an official portrait when, according to a perhaps legendary anecdote, the young woman appeared. The artist, struck by her beauty, stopped work and asked permission to paint her portrait. With images like this, spotlighting the restrained fire and beauty of the subject, Goya created the visual vocabulary that embodies the words "Spanish beauty," just as his earlier tapestry cartoons and genre paintings of popular pastimes distilled the essence of Spanish life.

Inscription

null

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

The sitter [b. 1790] until her death;[1] by inheritance to her goddaughter, Mariana García Soler, Madrid;[2] after her death, sold by her husband Dr. Sota to Don José Joaquin Herrero, Madrid;[3] Dr. James Simon [1851-1932], Berlin, by 1908;[4] Count Paalen, Berlin; Heinrich Sklarz, Berlin, by 1923;[5] (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[6] purchased 21 February 1930 by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington; deeded 28 December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1908
Porträtaustellung, Kaiser Friedrich Museens Verein, Berlin, 1908-09, no. 91, as Junge Madchen.
1934
A Century of Progress Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1934, no. 8.
1934
Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Goya, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., New York, 1934, no. 8, repro.
1980
Bilder von Menschen in der Kunst des Abendlandes, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin, 1980, no. 42, repro.
1986
Goya: The Condesa de Chinchon and Other Paintings, Drawings, and Prints from Spanish and American Private Collections and the National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1986-87 unpaginated brochure.
1996
Goya 1746-1828, Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1996, no. 129, repro.
2001
Goya: La imagen de la mujer [Goya: Images of Women], Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 2001-2002, no. 75 (Spanish cat.), no. 33 (English cat.), color repro.

Bibliography

1908
Hadeln, Detlev Freiherrn von. "Die Portätausstellung des Kaiser Friedrich Museens Verein." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 44 (1908-1909): 203, repro. 197.
1916
Beruete y Moret, Aureliano de. Goya, pintor de retratos. Madrid, 1916: 101, 179, no. 220 (also English ed. Translated by Selwyn Brinton. London, 1922: 123, 213, no. 228). [Citation in NGA Sys. Cat. gives year of Spanish ed. as 1915 and page as 120.]
1923
Loga, Valerian von. Die Malerei in Spanien vom XIV. bis XVIII. Jahrhundert. Berlin, 1923: 414, fig. 207.
1923
Mayer, August L. Francisco de Goya. Munich, 1923: 80, 206, no. 499. Translated by Robert West [pseud.]. London, 1924.
1928
Pantorba, Bernardino de [José López Jiminez]. Goya. Madrid, 1928: 96.
1930
Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier. Goya. Paris, 1930: 70, pl. 46.
1930
Valentiner, Wilhelm R., ed. Unknown Masterpieces in Public and Private Collections. London, 1930: n.p., pl. 91.
1930
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Die unbekannte Meisterwerke in öffentlichen und privaten Sammlungen. Berlin, 1930: no. 91, repro.
1934
Siple, Ella S. "A Goya Exhibition in America." The Burlington Magazine 64 (1934): 228, fig. B.
1937
Cortissoz, Royal. An Introduction to the Mellon Collection. Boston, 1937: 43.
1937
Crowninshield, Frank. "The Singular Case of Andrew W. Mellon." Vogue (1 April 1937): 74, 142-143, color repro. 75.
1941
Duveen Brothers. Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941: no. 235, repro.
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 89-90, no. 88.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 241, repro. 214.
1945
Cook 1945, 160-161, fig. 7.
1949
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 47, repro.
1951
Sánchez Cantón, Francisco Javier. Vida y obras de Goya. Madrid, 1951: 104, pl. 59. Translated by Paul Burns. Madrid, 1964.
1952
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds., Great Paintings from the National Gallery of Art. New York, 1952: 130, color repro.
1958
Gaya Nuño, Juan Anotonio. La pintura española fuera de España; historia y catàlogo. Madrid, 1958: 171, no. 1021.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 321, repro.
1964
Trapier, Elizabeth du Gué. Goya and His Sitters. New York, 1964: 33, 55, no. 59, pl. 59.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 60
1966
Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:344, color repro.
1966
The Women I Love: These Lovely Immigrants Are Part of Our National Treasure.” This Week Magazine (January 9, 1966): 10, color repro.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 53, repro.
1969
Harris, Enriqueta. Goya. London, 1969: 9, 87, no. 28, color pl. 28.
1970
Gassier, Pierre, and Juliet Wilson. Vie et oeuvre de Francisco Goya. Paris, 1970. Translated by Christine Hauch and Juliet Wilson. New York, 1971: 158, 167, 198, no. 816, color repro. 155 (also 1981 ed. same pp. as above).
1971
Gudiol y Ricart, José. Goya: 1746-1828; Biography, Analytical Study and Catalogue of His Paintings. Translated by Kenneth Lyons. 4 vols. New York, 1971: 1:132, 309, no. 527; 4:color fig. 832.
1974
de Angelis, Rita. L'opera pittorica completa di Goya. Milan, 1974: 119, no. 447, color pl. 33.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 158, repro.
1979
Licht, Fred. Goya: The Origins of the Modern Temper in Art. New York, 1979: 247-248, 257, fig. 123.
1979
Salas, Xavier de. Goya. Translated by G. T. Culverwell. London, 1979: 102, 190, no. 381, repro. 96.
1979
Watson, Ross. National Gallery of Art. London, 1979: 96, pl. 86, color repro.
1983
Valverde Madrid, José. "El Retrato de doña Sabasa Garcia por Goya." Goya 177 (1983): 108-109, repro. 169.
1984
Camón Aznar, José. Francisco de Goya. 4 vos, Saragossa, 1984: 3:156-157.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 404, no. 577, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 183, repro.
1990
Brown, Jonathan, and Richard G. Mann. Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1990: 9-12, color repro. 11.
1992
National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 93, repro.
1993
Muller, Priscilla E. "Goya's portrait of Sabasa Garcia." The Burlington Magazine 135, no. 1079 (February 1993): 99-101, repro.
2001
Goya: Images of Women. Exh. cat. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2001-2002: no. 43.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: xi, 266-267, no. 216, color repros.
2006
Brettell, Richard R., and Stephen F. Eisenman. Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum. New Haven and London, 2006: 50, 52 fig. 5a.

Conservation Notes

The support is a medium-weight plain-weave fabric, probably linen, lined to another fabric of the same type. The tacking margins have been removed, and there is cusping along the edges. The grayish white ground and the paint layers are of moderate thickness. Small lumps scattered in the background are probably caused by slubs in the canvas weave. Areas of old repaint in the face and hands have turned white.

Related Works

Related Resources

  • Event Type
    Event Name
    March 1–June 1
    Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
    March 5, 2012 at 2:00
    March 7, 2012 at 4:00
    East Building, Auditorium
    Name of docent
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum
    60 minutes
    Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
    Download the program notes (100k)
  • Self-Guided Tour
    Italian Collection
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum