Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos etchings, one of the most influential graphic series in the history of Western art, will be presented at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, South Carolina from Saturday, September 20, 2014 through Saturday, January 3, 2015. This exhibition features a superb first edition of the complete set of 80 etchings, which by tradition was one of the four sets acquired directly from Goya in 1799 by the duke of Osuna. It then came into the hands of Pedro Fernández Durán, of the house of the marquis of Perales, the greatest Spanish collector of the 19th century and a major donor to the Prado. His collector's mark appears on all 80 prints of this set. The exhibition includes an essay contributed by Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator in Charge, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Other works by Goya are also included in the exhibition for instructive comparison including a few later edition prints from Los Caprichos and examples from each of Goya's other major graphic series: Los Desastres de la Guerra, Los Proverbios, and La Tauromaquia; and his early etchings after Velasquez. Additionally, to demonstrate the broad influence of Los Caprichos, the exhibition includes a 1920's drawing after Los Caprichos plate 51, "Se Repulen," by Edward Hagedorn, as well as eight etchings by contemporary artist, Enrique Chagoya, entitled, "Return to the Caprichos."
In his original essay for the exhibition, Robert Flynn Johnson takes a fresh approach to Los Caprichos. Johnson has also undertaken an enlightening comparison between three contemporary interpretive manuscripts on the etchings—the “Prado,” the “Ayala,” and the “Madrid Biblioteca Nacional,” adding his own illuminating observations to each of the eighty plates. Additionally, Johnson ‘fast-forwards’ from Goya’s major opus to contemporary relevance in the work of two artists working in the 20th century—Edward Hagedorn and Enrique Chagoya.
Enigmatic and controversial, Goya's Los Caprichos were published in 1799 at a time of social repression and economic crisis in Spain. Influenced by Enlightenment thinking, the painter set out to analyze the human condition and denounce social abuses and superstitions. Los Caprichos was his passionate declaration that the chains of social backwardness had to be broken if humanity was to advance. The series attests to the artist's political liberalism and his revulsion towards ignorance and intellectual oppression; at the same time it mirrors Goya's ambivalence toward authority and the church.
Los Caprichos deals with themes such as the Spanish Inquisition, the abuses of the church and the nobility, witchcraft, child rearing, avarice, and the frivolity of young women. The subhuman cast of Los Caprichos includes goblins, monks, procuresses, prostitutes, witches, animals acting like human fools, and aristocrats; these personages populate the world on the margins of reason, where no clear boundaries distinguish reality from fantasy.
The Jones-Carter Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10AM to 6PM and Saturday from 11AM to 5PM. Admission is FREE. Large groups are encouraged to call ahead. On September 20, the gallery will be open from 10AM to 8PM. Guided tours will be available for school groups 6th grade through 12th grade. Please call the gallery at 843-374-1505 for additional information.