Goya: Prints from the Arthur Ross Collection

October 7, 2023 – January 7, 2024

On the occasion of the Arthur Ross Gallery’s 40th anniversary, Goya: Prints from the Arthur Ross Collection references the gallery’s inaugural exhibition held in February of 1983 of a first edition of Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes series the Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra). Drawn from the Arthur Ross Collection at Yale University Art Gallery, a selection of Goya’s indelible depictions of war will be complemented by Goya’s last major series of prints, the Follies or the Proverbs (Los disparates or Los proverbios). This exhibition focused on the Arthur Ross Collection is presented in celebration of the Gallery’s 40th Anniversary. An additional print, Goya’s Self Portrait, is lent by the Penn Art Collection. 

Produced between 1810-1820,  Disasters of War  is one of the most powerful and unflinching artistic depictions of war, documenting the atrocities of the Napoleonic invasion of Spain and the Spanish War of Independence (1808-1814). Created using a range of printmaking techniques including etching, aquatint, engraving and drypoint, the series documents the events that Goya witnessed in Madrid and Zaragoza during the War of Independence without glorifying or condemning either side. Goya’s handwritten title on the Disasters of War  was “Fatal Consequences of Spain’s Bloody War with Bonaparte, and Other Emphatic Caprices (Fatales consequencias de la sangrienta guerra en España con Buonaparte, Y otros caprichos enfáticos).” 

The Follies or the Proverbs (Los disparates or Los proverbios) were the last series of prints created at the end of Goya’s career (1816-1819), and this extremely rare complete set of first edition prints were the first works that the Arthur Ross Foundation purchased in 1980. A series of etching and aquatints, the Follies offer timeless indictments of the societal ills of ignorance and insensibility and are considered one of Goya’s most haunting and enigmatic series. 

Although Goya was a famous artist, neither the Disasters of Warnor the Follies were published until more than three decades after his death. The Disasters of War was deemed too difficult for society to accommodate, and theFollies were not published out of fear of the Inquisition. Together these series offer abiding warnings against cruelty, vanity, ignorance, foolishness, and capriciousness.  

The opening of this exhibition will coincide with the Arthur Ross Gallery’s 40th Anniversary Celebration on October 20, 2023, and several programs including a lecture, musical performance, and print workshop will be offered while the exhibition is on view.  

Goya: Prints from the Arthur Ross Collection is co-curated by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, University Curator and former Executive Director of the Arthur Ross Gallery, and Emily Zimmerman, Interim Director of Exhibitions and Programs.