T00866 Imaginary Portrait of Goya 1966
Inscribed 'Saura | 66' t.l.
Oil on canvas, 51 x 38 (130 x 97)
Purchased from the artist through the ICA (Mara Savic Bequest) 1966
Exh: Saura, ICA, London, June-July 1966 (11)
One of a series of imaginary portraits of Goya inspired by Goya's mysterious late painting of the head of a dog peering over a rock in a deserted landscape (or perhaps a dog buried up to its neck in sand). The artist writes (2 July 1969) that 'The point of departure for this series was the Goya "Dog appearing" from the series of Black Paintings in the Prado, a work which had fascinated me since childhood. This image has however always been associated in my mind with others such as the birth of a child at the moment of emerging from its mother's womb, or more recently of an astronaut emerging from his capsule. This deserted landscape, or this wall, is above all a "space" from which a being emerges. And I have always thought of this head as Goya himself watching "something happen".'
He finds it impossible to say how many works have been made altogether on this theme as here were also a number of drawings, gouaches and oils on paper; as far as he can remember the earliest dates from 1959. (The catalogue of the New Spanish Painting and Sculpture exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1960 lists and reproduces a version in oil of 1959-60).
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.671, reproduced p.671