ZURBARÁN MASTERWORKS MAKES FIRST U.S. TOUR,WILL PREMIERE AT MEADOWS MUSEUM IN SEPTEMBER 2017
Exhibition Will Reveal New Details On The Creation Of These Works, Following Analysis at the Kimbell Art Museum’s Conservation Lab
Dallas (SMU)—September 15, 2017—This September, the Meadows Museum at SMU will present an exhibition focused on 13 life-size paintings by the Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), all but one on loan from Auckland Castle in County Durham, England.Co-organized by the Meadows, The Frick Collection, and Auckland Castle, in association with the Kimbell Art Museum, the exhibition will present details from the first technical analysis of the paintings, conducted over the past year at the Kimbell’s noted conservation lab. The analysis revealed new information about the artist’s materials andcreative process, as well as about the print sources for Zurbaran’s figures.
This exhibition marks the first time these works will travel to the United States—and the first time any such series of paintings by Zurbarán has been presented together in the U.S.—and is made possible in part by a restoration project at Auckland Castle. Following the premiere at the
Meadows on September 17, 2017, the exhibition will travel to The Frick Collection in January 2018, after which the paintings will be reinstalled at Auckland Castle in May 2018.
Jacob’s deathbed act of bestowing a blessing on each son, blessings which foretold their
destinies and those of their tribes. They were created in the 1640s and have hung in the former
seat of the Prince Bishops of Durham for more than 250 years as a representation of the
progression in relationships between the Christian and Jewish communities in the UK. Twelve
of the 13 works in the series were purchased by Bishop Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham, at a
London auction in 1756 from the collection of a Jewish merchant named Benjamin Mendez.
Trevor redesigned Auckland Castle’s Long Dining Room to house the series, seeing in the
public presentation of these works an opportunity to make a statement about the need for
social, political and religious tolerance and understanding between Christians and Jews in the
13th—depicting Jacob’s son Benjamin—on loan from Grimsthorpe and Drummond Castle
Trust, Bourne, Lincolnshire. Also presented will be a number of the engravings and prints that
Zurbarán drew upon for visual inspiration, by artists such as Martin Schongauer, Albrecht
Dürer and Jacques de Gheyn II.
among the most important collections of his work outside of Spain,” said Mark Roglán, the
Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. “We are thrilled that as
Auckland Castle undergoes an important restoration, we are able to bring these works from the
Golden Age of Spanish painting to Dallas, giving visitors an opportunity to experience Jacob
and his Twelve Sons contextualized within the history and aesthetic traditions of Spanish art.”
Museum and Auckland Castle has been an exceptional opportunity,” said Ian Wardropper,
Director of The Frick Collection. “We have long wanted to collaborate on a project with the
Meadows, with whom we share a strong interest in Spanish Golden Age art, and doing so on
this project—which allows us to present Jacob and His Twelve Sons to East coast audiences
prior to their return to the newly refurbished castle—has been particularly gratifying.”
in the Long Dining Room, the home of the paintings for most of the last 250 years. Wallpaper by
Zoffany, a facsimile of the wallcoverings at Auckland Castle, will be used as a backdrop, giving
visitors the opportunity to experience the works much as they are usually seen in England.
Kimbell Art Museum’s conservation lab, where the works were examined with natural and UV
light, a stereomicroscope, x-radiography and infrared reflectography. In addition, canvas-weave
analysis was carried out on all 13 paintings for the first time. This revealed a wealth of new
information about each work, including the type of canvas used, the Sevillian clay earth that
comprised the double ground layer, the artist’s application of pigments and glazes and the
ways in which he altered aspects of the compositions in the final stages of painting.
underpainting in arranging his compositions from the earliest part of his process. The artist
created monochromatic preparatory sketches for each work, using the ground layer as well as
areas of red-brown and gray tones to establish his initial design. This approach also helped him
determine how to use light and color to its best effect, as can be seen in the opaque
underpainting of light areas, such as on Joseph’s coat. Consistent with this approach to
planning, Zurbarán created formal contours of certain iconographical elements in the series,
such as where he outlined Asher’s hooked cane and certain loaves of bread, with black and redbrown,
respectively, before he actually painted them.
by a single artist that have hung in the same place for the better part of two and a half
centuries,” said Claire Barry, Director of Conservation at the Kimbell Art Museum. “Through
this process, we have learned about how intimately involved Zurbarán himself was in the
paintings creation, rather than it being delegated solely to his workshop. These paintings now
conveyed the tactile qualities of the figures’ garments to the expressiveness of each individual’s
character and pose.”
creation of the series, in particular The Twelve Apostles by Martin Schongauer (15th c.). In some
cases, Zurbarán’s figures closely mimic particular engravings, while in other cases the figures
are an imaginative fusion of details from multiple sources. For example, while an engraving by
Dürer provided the model for the figure of Naphtali, Schongauer’s depiction of Saint
Bartholomew served as the prototype for the patriarch’s hand gestures. A selection of these
sources and related reference works will be presented as part of the exhibition, including a
Spanish-language Bible dating from 1630 and three Dürer woodcut prints dating from 1511, on
loan from the Bridwell Library at SMU; Jacques de Gheyn II’s series The Twelve Sons of Jacob
plus an engraving by Philips Galle, on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York;
and the aforementioned engravings by Schongauer, on loan from the Museum of Fine Arts,
the Meadows Museum and the Frick Collection is a thrilling development for us” commented
Chris Ferguson, Curatorial Director for Auckland Castle; “We are very excited that this project
will bring these key works to new audiences in the United States for the first time, and bring
Zurbarán’s works to even greater attention. The purchase of the paintings by Bishop Richard
Trevor in 1756 as a symbol of religious tolerance continues to resonate today. We are grateful to
our partners in Texas and New York for showing the paintings in new contexts before they
return to a restored Auckland Castle and encouraging more visitors to the North East of
England from across the Atlantic”
various historical, religious and artistic perspectives on these paintings, co-edited by Dr. Susan
Grace Galassi, Senior Curator, The Frick Collection, Dr. Edward Payne, Senior Curator, Spanish
Art, Auckland Castle, and Dr. Mark A. Roglán, Director, Meadows Museum, and the Scientific
Director for the project. In addition to essays by Galassi and Payne, the catalogue also contains
essays by: Clare Baron, Curator of Temporary Exhibitions at Auckland Castle; Professor John
Barton, Oriel and Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, Emeritus at Oxford
University; Dr. Christopher Ferguson, Curatorial, Conservation and Exhibitions Director,
Auckland Castle; Alexandra Letvin, PhD Candidate, Johns Hopkins University; and Akemi
Herráez Vossbrink, PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge; and a technical essay authored
by Claire Barry, Director of Conservation at the Kimbell Art Museum. The catalogue will also
include appendices on canvas-weave analysis and print sources, co-authored by Barry and Don
H. Johnson and Barry and Rafael Barrientos Martinez, respectively.
About Auckland Castle
Long a symbol of power and authority in the North East of England, Auckland Castle was built
as one of the primary castles and hunting lodges of the Prince Bishop of Durham. The castle and
its park are at the center of a wider sacred Christian landscape that is more than 1,500 years old,
and it remains one of the most important and best-preserved medieval bishops’ palaces in all of
Europe. Auckland Castle was purchased by Auckland Castle Trust in 2012.
The Auckland Castle Trust is transforming Auckland Castle into a heritage, arts and faith
destination of international significance, helping to reinvigorate Bishop Auckland and stimulate
economic regeneration both in the town and surrounding areas.
including restoration of the 900 year-old Castle, as well as the creation of a new 10 gallery Faith
Museum, exploring a history of faith in the British Isles from prehistory to the modern day.
There will also be a re-imagined 17th Century Walled Garden, housing a contemporary
restaurant within the Castle grounds, as well as a new Welcome Building, Mining Art Gallery
and Spanish Gallery and Research Centre in the nearby Market Place.
Spanish Gallery will house a permanent collection of key works from the Spanish Golden Age,
with a programme of events and exhibitions planned in collaboration with key partners,
including the Museo del Prado, Madrid. This will be complemented by the separate Zurbarán
Centre for Spanish and Latin American Art and Culture, run by Durham University, with a
donation from Santander, which will link new academic research with the gallery’s curatorial
the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and will create a number of opportunities for skills
development and employment. The Trust is proud to be supported by a wide range of charities,
businesses and individuals, including the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). A full list of existing
donors and project partners is available at www.aucklandcastle.org/
and The Frick Collection (January 31 – April 22, 2018), the series of paintings will return to
Auckland Castle in May 2018.
The Meadows Museum is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of
the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his
private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to Southern
fulfilling Meadows’ vision to create “a small Prado for Texas.”
Spanish art outside of Spain. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries and
includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden
Age and modern masters. Since 2010 the Museum has been engaged in a multidimensional
partnership with the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, which has included the exchange of
scholarship, exhibitions, works of art and other resources.