Press Releases

Goya: Prints from the Arthur Ross Collection

August 31, 2023

For Immediate Release
September 5, 2023

Goya: Prints from the Arthur Ross Collection

In celebration of its 40th Anniversary, the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA presents Goya: Prints from the Arthur Ross Collection, an exhibition of rare, first edition etchings by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) that will open to the public on Saturday, October 7, 2023.  

Goya is recognized as the greatest Spanish artist of the late 18th and early 19th centuries—Court painter to Spanish royalty and printmaker. He is the last of the Old Masters, and one of the first modern artists. When his etchings of The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra) andthe Follies orthe Proverbs (Los disparates or Los proverbios) were posthumously published in 1863 and 1864, his influence on contemporary French artists, such as Cézanne, Delacroix, Manet, and Picasso, was immediate and profound. His prints continue to inspire contemporary artists today.

As revolution and conflict erupted across Europe,Goya chronicled the social and political events of his time. His etchings of The Disasters of War document the carnage and savage brutality that he witnessed firsthand in Madrid and Zaragoza during the Spanish War of Independence (1808-1814). Untrained, ill-equipped patriots revolted against the French invaders, and Goya depicts the atrocities in unflinching detail. He neither glorifies nor condemns either side, Spanish or French, and focuses on the misery and horrors of war in an original way. The Disasters of War series remains one of the greatest visual protests of war of all time.

The darkness of Goya’s late work is often attributed to an illness that left the artist entirely deaf. In his final series of haunting and enigmatic prints—the Follies, or the Proverbs (Los disparates or Los proverbios)—Goya reflects on religious and societal ills, the foibles of the human spirit, and the lack of reason. The artist used a wide range of printmaking techniques including etching, aquatint, engraving, and drypoint.

Why Goya? “Goya ushered in a new age in art,” wrote Arthur Ross in February 1983 for the Gallery’s inaugural Goya exhibition. Arthur Ross acquired Goya’s prints in the 1980s for his foundation with a mission to make them easily accessible to the public by sharing them with universities, galleries, and libraries. Ten of the prints in this exhibition were exhibited at the Gallery’s first exhibition forty years ago. Today, we honor our founder, Arthur Ross, and continue to expand access to these rare and exceptional etchings.

Several related public programs, including a lecture, musical performance and a print workshop will be offered while the exhibition is on view through January 7, 2024.

* In celebration of the Arthur Ross Gallery’s 40th Anniversary, 38 first edition prints drawn from Goya’s The Disasters of War (Los desastres de la guerra) and the Follies or the Proverbs (Los disparates or Los proverbios) are lent from The Arthur Ross Collection at Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT).  An additional print, Goya’s Self Portrait, is lent by the University of Pennsylvania Art Collection.


Wednesday, November 1, 2023, at 12:00 PM 
A talk in 12-minutes with Shira Brisman, Assistant Professor of Early Modern Art, Department of the History of Art 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at 5:30 PM 
Lecture by Antonio Feros 
Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania 

Wednesday, December 6, 2023, at 12:00 PM 
A talk in 12-minutes with Lynn Marsden-Atlass and Emily Zimmerman 

Thursday, December 7, at 7:00 pm presented in conjuction with Light Box Film Center 
A rare screening of Goya or the Hard Way to Enlightenment (Goya – oder der arge Weg der Erkenntnis), a 1971 East German film directed by Konrad Wolf.  
The screening will take place at the Light Box Film Center,  
located at 401 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147.  

Arthur Ross Gallery
University of Pennsylvania
Housed in the Fisher Fine Arts Library Building
220 South 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tuesday-Friday: 10 AM – 5 PM
Weekends:        12 -5 PM
Closed Mondays

Free and open to the public

CAPTION: Francisco Goya (Spanish, 1746–1828), Modo de volar (A Way of Flying), also known as Donde hay ganas hay maña (Where There’s a Will There’s a Way), from the series Los disparates (Los proverbios), ca. 1816–19, published 1864 (first edition). Etching, aquatint, and drypoint, 43.5 × 59.35 × 2.55 cm (17 1/8 × 23 3/8 × 1 in.) framed. Courtesy of the Arthur Ross Collection, Yale University Art Gallery.