8360 - Exhibition of Zurbarán masterworks from Auckland Castle will tour the U.S.


Naphalti being packaged ready for shipping. Photo: Colin Davison courtesy of Auckland Castle.
The Meadows Museum at SMU announces a touring exhibition of life-size paintings by the Spanish Golden Age master Francisco de Zurbarán (1598–1664), on loan from Auckland Castle in England. Proposed by the Meadows—in collaboration with The Frick Collection, the Kimbell Art Museum, and the Auckland Castle Trust—the project includes an analysis of the paintings at the Kimbell’s noted conservation lab, as well as a scholarly publication about the unique history of this series, the most significant public collection of the artist’s work outside of Spain. The exhibition marks the first time these works will travel to the United States, and will premiere at the Meadows in September 2017, followed by a presentation at The Frick Collection beginning in January 2018.

Depicting the Old Testament figures Jacob and his Twelve Sons, the paintings are a visual narrative of Jacob’s deathbed act of bestowing a blessing on each son, blessings which foretold their destinies and those of their tribes. The works were purchased by Bishop Richard Trevor, Bishop of Durham, at 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 understanding between Christians and Jews in the United Kingdom. The upcoming restoration of Auckland Castle—which involves the temporary desinstallation of the series from the room where it has hung for more than 250 years—presents this extraordinary study and exhibition opportunity.

“Francisco de Zurbarán is one of the greatest masters from the Golden Age of Spanish painting, and we are thrilled to be bringing these works to the United States for study and presentation,” said Mark Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum. “In Dallas, the Meadows Museum’s rich collection of Spanish masters will allow visitors to experience Jacob and his Twelve Sons fully contextualized within the history and aesthetic traditions of Spanish art.”