After the death of Goya's wife, Josefa Bayeu, on 26 June 1812, an inventory of the paintings in the couple's possession was drawn up (see Document I, below). This document included twelve still lifes by the artist, all of which probably dated from the period 1808-1812. The present painting was one of twelve. Two others, described in an 1865 inventory (see Document III, below) as depicting dead game with partridges and fruit and fish, remain untraced. The others are preserved in the following collections: Sheep's Head and Joints (Musée du Louvre, Paris; Gassier-Wilson, no. 903), Dead Turkey (Museo del Prado, Madrid: Gassier-Wilson, no. 904), Dead Birds (Museo del Prado, Madrid; Gassier-Wilson,no. 905), Plucked Turkey and Fish in Frying Pan (Alte Pinakothek, Munich; Gassier-Wilson, no. 906), Golden Bream (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Gassier-Wilson, no. 907), Duck (Anda-Bührle collection, Zurich; Gassier-Wilson, no. 908), Woodcocks (Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas; Gassier-Wilson, no. 910), Salmon Steaks (Museum Stiftung Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur), and Bottles, Fruit and Bread (Museum Stiftung Oskar Reinhart, Winterthur).
All twelve still lifes remained together until at least 1865. They had passed by inheritance to Goya's grandson Mariano and are recorded in 1845 in an inventory of the estate of the latter's father-in-law, Francisco Javier de Mariátegui, a prosperous architect (see Document II, below). Mariátegui bequeathed the twelve paintings to his daughter, Maria de la Concepción, Mariano Goya's wife. In June 1846, she mortgaged the set of paintings, along with other property from her father's estate, as security against a loan from one of Mariano's business partners, Francisco de Narváez, Conde de Yumuri (see N. Glendinning, 1994, p. 107, note 28). Having defaulted on the loan (which was intended to purchase a patent of nobility for the socially ambitious Mariano), Maria de la Concepción deeded the paintings on 1 August 1851 to Yumuri. After the latter's death on 1 September 1865, they were inherited by his son. The next recorded owner of four of them, including Still Life with Hares, was Comte Huytens de Terbecq (see I. Rose-De Viejo, 1997, under literature). At his sale in 1877, they were bought in and his heirs subsequently sent them to auction in 1882, where they were acquired by an unknown party. This was the last time any of these were to appear at auction.
The importance of Goya's contribution to the genre of still life painting is perhaps best described by William B. Jordan and Peter Cherry, in their essay 'Goya and the Still Life' in the catalogue of the exhibition, Spanish Still Life from Velázquez to Goya, London, The National Gallery, 22 February - 21 May, 1995, p. 175ff.:
'Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) did not paint many still lifes; so far as we know he did not paint any until he was over sixty years old. Seen against the backdrop of eighteenth - and early nineteenth - century still-life painting, Goya's still lifes represent a rupture with tradition as abrupt and shocking as that produced by any aspect of his work. They are at once beautiful and poignant objects; all but one depicts dead animals. Not the courtly game of a hunter's trophy, not the meat on a butcher's stall, nor the dead beasts traditionally symbolizing life's brevity or nature's bounty - but animals that have been slaughtered, from whom life has been violently torn, in whose images there is a depth of pathos as life-affirming as anything to be found in the greatest works of Velázquez or Zurbarán. In the unorthodox technical explorations of these works, Goya expanded the reach of his medium beyond the limits previously known: using his brushes, his knife, his fingers, combining patches of heavy impasto with the thinnest of glazes, producing shimmering transparencies and iridescences and the most desolate voids of darkness. Considering the impact of those works, one might well wonder why Goya waited so long to paint a still life, as well as why he painted any at all. We have to understand how they fit into his overall oeuvre, because, when he finally did approach the genre, he changed it for future generations, just as he reinvented nearly every form of painting and graphic art that he embraced. . . Growing sick of painting what others wanted him to paint in his youth, such as the tapestry cartoons, he had no need, unlike Meléndez, to paint still lifes for a living; but in the bitter years of the Peninsular War, preoccupied with death and violence, he seized on the genre as something relevant to his larger concerns. In doing so, he was not wholly unlike the first generation of still-life painters, who acted out of a commitment to deeply held ideas about the nature of art. If there is an important legacy from Goya's still lifes, it is that he made the still life respectable again, by elevating it to a level of seriousness not to be found in the pretty, bourgeois works of his contemporaries. The legitimate heirs of this legacy were not his immediate Spanish followers; they were, perhaps, Cezanne, Picasso and all who finally saw the potential he rediscovered'.
A Still life of dead hares
Oil on canvas
Kindly note the date on the last line of the Provenance should read 1882 and not 1822 as specified in the entry.
José de Goya y Lucientes
New York, Wildenstein, Loan Exhibition of Goya, 9 November - 16 December 1950, no. 43, illustrated.
Richmond, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The Art of Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, January 1953, no number.
Milwaukee, Art Institute and Cincinatti Art Museum, Still Life Painting Since 1470, September - October 1956, no. 25, fig. 25.
Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Six Master Paintings, Two Glasses, One Sculpture, 20 March - 21 April 1963, no number.
London, Royal Academy of Arts, Goya and His Times, 7 December 1963 - 1 March 1964, no. 126.
Newark, Museum of Art, The Golden Age of Spanish Still-Life Painting, 10 December 1964 - 26 January 1965, p. 14, no. 10.
New York, Wildenstein, The Object as Subject, 4 April - 3 May, 1975, no. 31.
Madrid, Museo del Prado, Goya, 30 March - 2 June 1996, no. 137 (entry by J.J. Luna); also cited pp. 32, 405, under no. 134 and note 2; under no. 135 (entries by J.J. Luna), illustrated pp. 232; 407.
17¾ x 24¾ in. (45 x 63 cm.)
F.J. Sánchez Cantón, 'Como vivía Goya.' Archivo Español de Arte, XVIII, No. 74, April-June 1946, p. 106.
J. López-Rey, 'Goya's Still Lifes,' Art Quarterly, XI, No. 3, Summer 1948, pp. 251, 254, 257-259, fig. 7.
X. Desparmet Fitz-Gerald, L'Oeuvre peint de Goya, Paris, 1928-1950, II, p. 286, no. 54.
Marqués de Saltillo, Miscelánea madrileña, histórica. Goya en Madrid, su familia y allegados (1746-1856) Madrid, 1952, p. 48. J.A. Gaya Nuño, La Pintura española fuera de España, Madrid, 1958, p. 182, no. 1133.
E.C. B[aker], 'Lucid Spanish Interspace,' Art News, January 1965, p. 57.
P. Gassier and J. Wilson, Vie et oeuvre de Francisco Goya, Paris, 1970, p. 263, no. 909; also cited pp. 254, 381, illustrated p. 263 (English language ed., The Life and Complete Work of Francisco Goya, New York, 1971, p. 263, no. 909; also cited pp. 254, 381).
J. Guidol, Goya: biographie, analyse critique et catalogue des peintures (trans. By L. Mirisch), Paris, 1970, I, pp. 153-154; 316, no. 588, illustrated IV, p. 782, fig. 942.
R. Torres Martín, La naturaleza muerta en la pintura española, Barcelona, 1971, p. 97.
P. Guinard and R. de Angelis, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Goya, Paris, 1976, p. 123, no. 505, illustrated.
X. de Salas, Goya (English trans. By G.T. Culverwell), Milan, 1979, p. 194, no. 463, illustrated.
J. Camon Aznar, Goya, III, Saragossa, 1982, p. 187.
J. Baticle, Goya, Paris, 1992, p. 385.
J.L. Morales y Marín, Goya, catalogo de la pintura, Saragossa, 1994, p. 307, no. 403, illustrated.
N. Glendinning, 'Spanish Inventory References to Paintings by Goya, 1800-1850: Originals, Copies and Valuations,' Burlington Magazine, CXXXVI, No. 1091, February 1994, pp. 107, 110 (Appendix, Document XII).
W. B. Jordan and P. Cherry, in the catalogue of the exhibition, Spanish Still Life from Velázquez to Goya , London, National Gallery, 1995, pp. 177-180; 202, notes 17, 18, illustrated p. 176, fig. 146.
B. Vischer, 'Goya's Still Lifes in the Yumuri Inventory,' Burlington Magazine, CXXXIX, No. 1127, February 1997, pp. 121-123.
Rose-De Viejo, 'Goya's Still Lifes,' Burlington Magazine, CXXXIX, No. 1131, June 1997, p. 406.
W. B. Jordan, in the catalogue of the exhibition, An Eye on Nature: Spanish Still-Life Paintings from Sánchez Cotán to Goya, New York, Stair Sainty Matthiesen, 1997-98, p. 147.
J. J. Richel, A. Brejon de Lavergnée and B. Vischer, in the catalogue of the exhibition, Goya, un regard libre, Lille, Palais des Beaux-Arts, and elsewhere, 1998-1999, pp. 22, 76-82 and notes 1-3, passim, and p. 210, under no. 42, note 1.
E.P. Bowron and M.G. Morton, Masterworks of European Painting in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Princeton, 2000, pp. 129, 131.
S. Lee, 'Goya's Santa Cueva Revisited,' Apollo, CLIV, No. 474, August 2001, pp. 8; 10, note 41.
collection of the artist; by inheritance to his son,
Francisco Javier Goya (1784-1854), Madrid; by inheritance to his son,
Mariano Goya (1806-1874); acquired by his father-in-law,
Francisco Javier de Mariátegui (died 1845); bequeathed to his daughter,
Señora Mariano Goya, née Maria de la Concepción Mariátegui; acquired from her on August 1, 1851, by
Francisco de Narváez y Bordese, Conde de Yumuri (d. 1865), Carabanchel Alto, near Madrid; by descent to his son,
Francisco Antonio Narváez y Larrinaga, Cone de Yumuri
Comte Victor-François-Léonard Huytens de Terbecq (d. 1879), Monchy-Humières; at his sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 25-26 May 1877, lot 24 where it was bought in; by descent to his heirs until sold, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 19 April 1822, lot 7.