Goya’s Last Works
Goya’s Last Works, the first exhibition in the United States to focus exclusively on the final phase of Goya’s career, opened last week at the Frick Collection in New York. According to the review of the exhibition which appeared in the New York Times,
The compact Frick show is sublime. An early French biographer, Laurent Matheron, writing about Goya during his twilight in exile, blew off the late work as “feeble and slack.” Matheron must have been blind, or saw pictures now lost. They’re certainly not here. I can’t recall too many exhibitions on this scale more revelatory.
The exhibition presents about fifty of the innovative and intimate pieces Goya created in the last four years of his life as a political exile in Bordeaux (1824-1828), including oil portraits of friends and family, experimental paintings on tiny slivers of ivory–“original miniatures,” Goya rightly claimed, “which I have never seen the like of before”–as well as several lithographs, a medium he first picked up at the age of eighty. These late works attest to the artist’s continuing vitality in old age, and in fact “achieve a whole new level of freedom and depth, haunted by death but exalted.”