DALLAS, TX.- The Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University presents the first exhibition in the United States of paintings from the collection of Juan Abelló and Anna Gamazo, considered among the world’s top collectors. The Abelló Collection: A Modern Taste for European Masters features more than 100 works spanning the 15th to the 20th centuries—including paintings by such Spanish masters as El Greco, Jusepe de Ribera, Francisco Goya, Salvador Dalí, and Pablo Picasso, as well as by other major artists including Georges Braque, Canaletto, Edgar Degas, Fernand Léger, Henri Matisse, and Amedeo Modigliani, among others. The exhibition also features Francis Bacon’s Triptych (1983), one of the artist’s final works in this iconic format, as well as an ensemble of 15 drawings by Pablo Picasso, representing all periods in his long career.
On view from April 18 through August 2, 2015, The Abelló Collection joins the Meadows’s ongoing series of international partnerships that are bringing Spanish masterworks to the U.S. The exhibition is a cornerstone to the Museum’s 50th anniversary celebration, which will continue throughout 2015.
Based in Madrid, Juan Abelló is one of Spain’s most prominent art collectors—and has been internationally recognized as one of the top 200 collectors in the world since he began collecting art over three decades ago. Along with his wife Anna Gamazo, Abelló has amassed more than 500 outstanding works of art spanning five centuries of Western history. The couple’s collection is grounded in their dedication to bringing back to Spain great national works of art that have been dispersed over time in the turmoil resulting from centuries of European political and economic strife. Abelló’s collecting bears a parallel to that of Meadows Museum founder and SMU benefactor Algur H. Meadows, who similarly devoted his fortune to the collection, study, and presentation of Spanish masterworks, and to strengthening international awareness of Spain’s robust cultural tradition.
“The Meadows Museum is incredibly grateful for the generosity of Juan Abelló and Anna Gamazo, who have so graciously agreed to lend these extraordinary masterpieces from their collection for an international debut in Dallas,” said Mark A. Roglán, The Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts. “We are honored to have the opportunity to present for the first time in the United States paintings from this outstanding collection, which showcases Spain’s powerful artistic legacy, and perfectly coincides with our institution’s founding mission and role as a leader in the research and presentation of Spanish art.”
The Abelló Collection is curated by Almudena Ros de Barbero, curator of the Abelló Collection, who previously served at the Museé du Louvre working on the opening of the new Spanish picture galleries, and was subsequently a researcher at the Wildenstein Institute in Paris. Some of the paintings featured in the exhibition were recently on display in Madrid as part of a larger series of exhibitions mounted by the city, “Patronage in the Service of Art.” In conjunction with The Abelló Collection: A Modern Taste for European Masters, the Meadows has produced a fully illustrated, 222-page English-language catalogue published by Ediciones El Viso.
Highlights of the Meadows Museum exhibition include:
Baptism of Christ by Juan de Flandes (c. 1496–99), the central panel in an altarpiece (now dispersed) devoted to St. John the Baptist that was originally located at the Carthusian Monastery of Miraflores in Burgos, Spain. With the precise technique typical of members of the Flemish school, Flandes created a work of vibrant luminosity, depicting a unique moment during which all three persons of the Holy Trinity were manifest.
Juan de Flandes (Flemish, c. 1465-1519), Baptism of Christ, c. 1496-1499. Oil on oak panel. P48 - 6/1986, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés).
The Stigmatization of Saint Francis by El Greco (c. 1580), the first of several variations of the artist’s renderings of this subject, including a later depiction entitled Saint Francis Kneeling in Meditation (1605–1610), housed in the Meadows’s collection. Created shortly after El Greco arrived in Toledo, the work from the Abelló Collection provides visitors an opportunity to compare the iconographical and stylistic differences between the two works, and observe the evolution of El Greco’s artistic practice.
Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco (Greek, 1541-1614), The Stigmatization of St. Francis, c. 1580. Oil on canvas. P26 – 3/1984, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
The Sense of Smell by Jusepe de Ribera (c. 1615), part of the Five Senses series the artist created for Giulio Mancini, a prominent art writer, collector, and dealer who served as physician to Pope Urban VIII. A follower of Caravaggio, Ribera spent the majority of his working life in Italy, where he was known as “Lo Spagnoletto” or “The Little Spaniard.” This piece is a rare example of the artist’s early Roman period prior to his departure for Naples in 1616, where he would settle for the remainder of his career.
Jusepe de Ribera (Spanish, 1591-1652), The Sense of Smell, c. 1615. Oil on canvas. P73 – 11/1987, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
A pair of portraits by Francisco Goya, depicting his son Javier’s father-in-law, Martín Miguel de Goicoechea, and Martín’s wife, Juana Galarza de Goicoechea (both 1810). This pair particularly resonates with the Meadows’s collection, which features portraits of the couple’s daughter, Gumersinda, and the artist’s son, Javier. Gumersinda gave Goya his only grandson, Mariano, whose portrait was acquired by the Museum in 2013.
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), Portrait of Martín Miguel de Goicoechea, 1810. Oil on canvas. P27 – 4/1984, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (Spanish, 1746-1828), Portrait of Juana Garlaza de Goicoechea, 1810. Oil on canvas. P28 – 4/1984, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
Two vedute (views) by Giovanni Antonio Canal “Canaletto” (c. 1720) of the Grand Canal of Venice, created during the height of Canaletto’s career. These paintings depict several emblematic buildings of Venice, including the Piazza San Marcos, Palazzo Ducale, Biblioteca Marcina, and the Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Granda or Palazzo Barbarigo.
Giovanni Antonio Canal, called “Canaletto” (Italian, 1697-1768), The Grand Canal of Venice From the Campo di San Vio, c. 1729. Oil on canvas. P679 – 1/2007, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
Giovanni Antonio Canal, called “Canaletto” (Italian, 1697-1768), The Pier of Venice Next to St. Mark’s Square, c. 1729. Oil on canvas. P678 – 11/2002, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
The Cellist by Amedeo Modigliani (1909), with a portrait of Constantin Brancusi, the artist’s close friend and neighbor, on the reverse. Brancusi became a crucial influence in Modigliani’s life and work, encouraging the artist to investigate Cycladic sculpture. Modigliani’s fascination with this ancient Aegean culture resulted in a particularly productive period of his career between 1909 and 1915, in which he produced a number of works with monumental and simplified forms. The double-sided painting will be displayed alongside two preparatory drawings for The Cellist and The Brancusi Portrait.
Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884-1920) (recto of next image) Le violoncelliste (The Violoncello Player), 1909. Oil on canvas. (verso) Portrait de Constantin Brancusi(Portrait of Constantine Brancusi), 1909. Oil on canvas. P67 – 6/1987, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
Amedeo Modigliani (Italian, 1884-1920) (verso of previous image) Portrait de Constantin Brancusi (Portrait of Constantine Brancusi), 1909. Oil on canvas. P67 – 6/1987, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
Rum and Guitar by Georges Braque (1918), one of the artist’s Cubist pictures painted in the aftermath of World War I, during which he was severely injured. Prior to the war’s outbreak in 1914, Braque and Picasso jointly established Analytic and Synthetic Cubism and collage, signaling a particularly innovative period of the movement that lead to Braque’s first solo exhibition in Paris in 1908. This piece reflects the reemergence of Cubism after the War, when it began to coalesce as a defined artistic movement.
Georges Braque (French, 1882-1963), Rum and Guitar, 1918. Oil on canvas. P69 – 6/1987, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
Nu assis (Seated Nude) by Pablo Picasso (c. 1922–23), a nearly monochromatic work executed by Picasso during a period when he returned to classicism—in this instance, referencing the iconography of Venus before the mirror. The linear strokes of charcoal outlining the figure and the thick application of white paint on bare canvas give the work volume and confer a sculptural quality.
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Nu assis (Seated Nude), c. 1922-23. Oil and charcoal on canvas. P66 – 6/1987, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
Triptych 1983 by Francis Bacon (1983), one of Bacon’s final works in this iconic format, which references both the popular Renaissance composition and the modern inventions of photography and cinema. The Abelló Collection houses an extensive repertoire of Bacon’s work, and Juan Abelló is the only Spanish collector who owns multiple pieces by the artist.
Francis Bacon (Irish, 1909-1992), Triptych, 1983. Oil and pastel on canvas. P1630 – 1/2007, Archive Abelló Collection (Joaquín Cortés)
“The Abelló Collection represents an exciting moment for cultural scholars and museum audiences worldwide,” said Almudena Ros de Barbero, curator of the Abelló Collection. “Making accessible these works of art—some of the finest and rarest in existence today—to an international audience will foster a broader forum for research, scholarship, and discourse in the field of art history and beyond, and will not only strengthen our knowledge of these artists and their legacies, but also of Spain’s remarkable contributions to our shared cultural experience.”
In 2008, the Meadows presented the exhibition From Manet to Miró: Modern Drawings from the Abelló Collection, which marked the first time any Abelló works had traveled outside of Spain, and featured never-before-seen modern and contemporary drawings by Édouard Manet, Joan Miró, Juan Gris, and Edgar Degas, among other artists. The Abelló Collection: A Modern Taste for European Masters builds on that unprecedented exhibition as the inaugural showcase of Abelló paintings in the United States.