North West What's On

Bowes Museum’s Spanish Paintings to Tour

A selection of The Bowes Museum’s Spanish paintings are being prepared for their journey to America. The 11 paintings will form an exhibition called El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum at the Meadows Museum, SMU, in Dallas, Texas.

It’s the first time many of these works from the Barnard Castle based Museum have been shown in the United States and follows a successful tour of a similar selection to the Wallace Collection in London in 2017.
The exhibition will span three centuries and explore one of the largest collections of Spanish art in Britain.  The majority of the paintings were acquired by John and Joséphine Bowes between 1862 and 1863 from the collection of the Countess de Quinto in Paris, through the art dealer Benjamin Gogué.  This collection was formed in Spain by the Conde de Quinto after the dissolution of the ecclesiastical institution – known as Desamortización – carried out by the Government from 1835 to 1837.
Religious themes and iconography are displayed in many of the works, others depict monarchy and social injustice.
Some of the masterpieces in the exhibition include: The Tears of Saint Peter by El Greco; the Interior of a Prison and Portrait of Juan Antonio Melédez Valdes by Goya; Portrait of a Carmelite Monk by Juan Baustista Maino and Tobias Restoring his Father’s Sight by Antonio de Pereda y Salgado.
The exhibition will also include selected archival materials that demonstrate John and Joséphine’s process of collecting, such as the catalogue from the de Quinto sale with John Bowes’ annotations.
It will be accompanied by a catalogue which features essays by curators from both institutions that not only illustrates the paintings on view in the Meadows exhibition but also includes an appendix listing other Spanish paintings from The Bowes Museum.
Adrian Jenkins, the Director of The Bowes Museum, will present a lecture about the paintings and the Boweses at the Meadows as part of the opening events for the exhibition.
Adrian Jenkins, said: “When The Bowes Museum opened its doors to the public in 1892 it had the largest public collection of Spanish paintings in the UK.  Neither John nor Joséphine Bowes lived to realise their vision and I’m sure they would have been delighted to think that their acquisitions will be shown on the other side of the world.”

Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum, said: “We are delighted to welcome these amazing paintings to the United States, some, for the first time. They capture the richness of Spanish art and its development from the early Renaissance to the Enlightenment.  Additionally, each of the artists represented in this exhibition are also represented within our permanent collection, so this is an opportunity for our visitors to see different aspects of each painter’s work.”
El Greco, Goya, and a Taste for Spain: Highlights from The Bowes Museum will be open from 15 September 2019 until 12 January 2020.
Visitors to The Bowes Museum during the loan will see the paintings replaced by among others, the Osequio a el maestro by Goya, a reproduction print of the Tears of Saint Peter and Marie Louis of Orleans, Queen of Spain by Francisco Ignazio Ruiz de la Iglesia.
Room 36 in The Bowes Museum, the 1800 – 1900 picture gallery will be closed from 19 August to 23 August to allow for the dismount of the paintings.
The Meadows Museum is the leading US institution focused on the study and presentation of Spanish art.  In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings and the funds to start a museum to Southern Methodist University.  The museum opened to the public in 1965.
It is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain spanning from the 10th to the 21st centuries and includes paintings and works on paper by such artists as El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Ribera, Sorolla, Picasso, Miró and Dali.