Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga Requests The Pleasure of Your Company

GOYA: THE PORTRAITS, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2, until 10thJanuary 2016

One of the pictures in this show is well-known to me through my interest in interior decoration.  It is the famous portrait of Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga, who in this exhibition is reunited with Goya’s portraits of his father and mother and sister.

Francisco de Goya Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga 1788 Oil on canvas 127 x 101.6 cm Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.41) © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Francisco de Goya
Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga
1788
Oil on canvas
127 x 101.6 cm
Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jules Bache Collection, 1949 (49.7.41)
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

The portrait was bought from the famed art dealer Joseph Duveen by the American banker Jules S Bache in 1926 and it is believed that his daughter Kathryn was the driving force behind this purchase.  The latter was better known as Kitty Miller, wife of the renowned theatre producer Gilbert Miller, and she employed the noted designer Billy Baldwin to decorate their homes in New York, London and Mallorca.

It is her New York home that is the focus of this story for when Bache donated his collection to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1949 there was a specific condition and that was that the picture could hang in Kitty’s drawing room for half the year.  In his book Billy Baldwin Remembers Baldwin recalls that when the painting was first hung in the drawing room the Millers sent out cocktail party invitations to New York society to come and meet Don Manuel Osorio de Zuñiga. So each year it hung there to Kitty’s great delight until her death in 1979, although in Legendary Decorators of the 20th Century, the famous interior decorator Mark Hampton says that “As she grew older, it became annually more difficult for the Met to get the painting back”.

Well, one can totally understand why she had such affection for this painting and now it is our turn to go and meet him.  While there are no cocktails being served there is the delicious treat of seeing more than sixty of Goya’s remarkable portraits.  It is such a good show you will most likely want to visit more than once – just like visiting the Miller’s!

 

http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk

 

One comment on “Manuel Osorio Manrique de Zuñiga Requests The Pleasure of Your Company

  1. Yes the female figures look out, ref the earlier thread, Goya is often claimed to have been somewhat pushy, perhaps earlier artists were simply afraid to get more involved with the patron’s relatives, or too polite? Rather than any overt politics. Love the cats and birds, and how the magpie, Goya, himself? The show is good I was there last week, some fine jewellery like the sitters wear is also showing & for sale in the foyer bookshop, to dress up with, including fans – these can be useful when the show is crowded.
    Also Giacometti is showing at the NPG round the corner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s