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Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life

May 17 – August 23, 2009
East Building, Mezzanine, Northwest

Luis Meléndez, Still Life with Figs and Bread, c. 1770, oil on canvas, Patrons' Permanent Fund, 2000.6.1

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Overview: 31 paintings by 18th-century Spanish still life painter Luis Meléndez were presented in this exhibition. Included was Still Life with Figs and Bread from the collection of the National Gallery together with loans from public and private collections in Europe and the United States. A self-portrait of the artist on loan from the Musée du Louvre was included. Wall panels provided information on the artist's techniques based on detailed examination of 15 of the paintings by the National Gallery's conservation department. Also on view were 9 examples of 18th-century kitchenware similar to items used by the artist as studio props also were on view.

Curators Catherine A. Metzger and Gretchen A. Hirschauer presented a lecture, Luis Meléndez: Marvelous Works of Nature Revealed, on May 17, the opening day of the exhibition. A Sunday concert of music by Boccherini and other period composers also was performed that day. The Garden Café España offered a special cuisine of Spanish foods.

Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art. Catherine A. Metzger, senior conservato of paintings, and Gretchen A. Hirschauer, associate curator of Italian and Spanish paintings, National Gallery of Art, were curators.

Sponsor: The exhibition was sponsored by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art. It was supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. In-kind promotional support was provided by Chef José Andrés of Jaleo and THINKfoodGROUP.

Attendance: 73,039

Catalog: Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life by Gretchen Hirschauer et al. Washington: National Gallery of Art in association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2009.

Other Venues: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, September 23, 2009–January 3, 2010
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, January 31–May 9, 2010

Garden Café España y las Tradiciones Culinarias Españolas
Audio, Released: September 1, 2009, (10:25 minutes)
Garden Café España and the Culinary Traditions of Spain
Audio, Released: August 18, 2009, (10:07 minutes)
Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life, Part 2: Meléndez's Working Method
Audio, Released: July 28, 2009, (18:22 minutes)
Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life, Part 1: The Artist
Audio, Released: July 21, 2009, (9:00 minutes)
Press Event: Luis Meléndez: Master of the Spanish Still Life
Audio, Released: May 12, 2009, (1:24:37 minutes)