RAIMUNDO DE MADRAZO Y GARRETA (Spanish School, 1841-1920) An Exceptional and Palatial Oil on Canvas "Portrait of Isabelle McCreery” depicting an elegant woman gracefully exiting a litter (Sedan Chair), situated within a lovely fairytale setting of a fantastical vista dominated by verdant and blue-green hues, a pair of swans and a lily pad frame the scene in the foreground, within it's original impressive and ornate French 19th Century Rococo Style gildwood carved and gesso frame. Signed and dated ‘R. Madrazo, 1880' (lower left). At the bottom center of the impressive frame there is a gilded, wooden cartouch bearing in italicized script “Portrait of Isabelle McCreery.” This is original to the frame. Sometime after the death of the artist, possibly at the time the painting was given to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the painter’s name was added in block letters.
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (Donated by Mrs. Richard McCreery in 1950)
Canvas Height: 104 ¾ inches (266.1 cm)
Camvas Width: 68 ½ inches (174 cm)
Frame Height: 132 inches (335.3 cm)
Frame Width: 87 ½ inches (222.3 cm)
RAIMUNDO DE MADRAZO Y GARRETA (Spanish, 1841-1920)
The work of Raimundo de Madrazo, an artist who lived in Paris the greater part of his life, is among the most representative and influential of the ‘school’ of Spanish painters resident in Paris during the nineteenth century.” (Carlos González and Montse Martí, Spanish Painters in Paris 1850-1900, London, 1989, p. 53). The wonderful imagination and artistic genius of Madrazo y Garreta established his fine reputation, and created an international demand for his exquisite portraiture. This particular work features an elegant woman who gracefully exits a litter, situated within a lovely fairytale setting of a fantastical vista dominated by verdant and blue-green hues. Isabelle McCreery was a member of the noted Gold Rush pioneer McCreery family of Irish background who settled in San Francisco in the mid nineteenth century. She later lived in Burlingame, an early San Francisco suburb south of the city, fronting on the bay. Burlingame was named after President Lincoln’s minister to China who loved the area, purchased land and built an estate. Miss McCreery lived in Burlingame, together with her brother Richard and his wife, for several decades. They are listed as living at Forest Hill, Burlingame, in the 1924 Burlingame Blue Book. Richard was a member of the nearby country club. Today there is a McCreery Drive in the area .
Portraits present both the attitudes and lifestyles of the upper-class in any age. This especially is seen during the years following the Civil War and the era of the Belle Époque of the 1890s to World War I. The French and Spanish influence in portraiture reached as far as the United States and especially California. To judge by the lighting, it is safe to say that Isabelle McCreery posed for her painting, as the illumination is vertical and typical of a studio. Such commissions allowed the artist to fully showcase his exceptional talent and academic training, as every texture and colour is carefully treated to render an ethereal quality. The gentlewoman’s dress flows in a floral pattern that wonderfully compliments the curved forms and tones of the carriage from which she retires.
The vista is purely imaginary with its iridescent sky of periwinkle hues that heighten the lush quality of the vivid green landscape. A pair of swans and a lily pad frame the scene in the foreground. Florid curves decorate the entire composition - from the graceful necks of the swans, to the winding road which recedes into the countryside. The magnificent frame is original. It is a French carved swept frame - full of rococo details
High society of the Belle Époque regarded the woman as an ethereal creature, undaunted by the travail of everyday existence. The refined brushwork and sublime setting render a regal quality to the portrait and indisputable grounds for the international esteem earned by the portraitist Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta.
Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta, the fashionable and extremely popular Spanish portraitist of the Belle Époque, was born in Rome on July 24, 1841 and died at his residence in Versailles on September 15, 1920. While he lived and worked in France for most of his life, he also spent time in the United States where he received numerous commissions to paint prominent Americans living on the east and west coasts as well as in the mid west. The artist was born of an aristocratic family of notable Spanish artists, and his childhood days were surrounded by wealth and the finer things in life. His father was the great history and portrait painter Federigo de Madrazo (1815-1894); his grandfather was José de Madrazo (1781-1859), the founder of the National School of Painting and Director of the Academy and Museum in Madrid. He also was the brother-in-law of the celebrated Mariano Fortuny y Carbó (1838-1874), noted as the greatest nineteenth century Spanish artist of the academic tradition.
At the young age of fourteen Madrazo accompanied his father to the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris where he visited the studio of Leon Cogniet (1784-1880). He then attended school at la Escuela de San Fernando. He exhibited for the first time in Seville in 1858.
In 1862, the young artist entered Cogniet’s studio for official instruction. He regularly visited the Louvre as well as the Luxemborg in order to practice copying the grand masters of the collections. Visits to the London museums led to his interest in the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). During this period Madrazo made contact with Ernest Meissonier (1815-1891) who was a former student of Cogniet. In 1864 the artist temporarily resided in Madrid to study works at the Prado where he gained an admiration for the Spanish masters El Greco (1548-1625), Goya (1746-1828) and Velazquez (1599-1660).
Early in his career Madrazo painted seascapes, small landscapes and Spanish genre pictures which, in their use of brilliant colors, were reminiscent of Fortuny’s work. This phase, however, was only a prelude to the artist’s career which would include his spectacular success in Madrid and Paris as a painter of elegant society portraiture in a delicate, almost classical style. Indeed, he received many portrait commissions from prominent Americans of his day. In 1902 he painted separate portraits of Charles Phelps Taft and Mrs. Charles Phelps Taft. Both of the Taft portraits are in the Cincinnati Art Museum. Portraits of other prominent Americans include Mrs. A.T. Stewart, William Astor, William H. Vanderbilt, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt (which can be seen at The Breakers, the Vanderbilt estate in New Port, Rhode Island), Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont, Henry C. Gibson, A.J. Drexel, Mrs. H. M. Flagler, Elihu Root (Secretary of State from 1905 to 1909, Root’s portrait is part of the Department of the Army Art Collection) and Isabelle McCreery. In the words of Richard Muther, Madrazo: “was . . . much sought after as a painter of ladies’ portraits, as he lavished on his pictures sometimes a fine hautgoût of fragrant rococo grace á la Chaplin, and sometimes devoted himself with taste and deftness to symphonic tours de force á la Carolus Duran.” (R. Muther, The History of Modern Painting, Vol. III, p. 322)
Madrazo exhibited in Paris where he received a First Class Medal at the Salon of 1878. Richard Muther recalls the Munich Exhibition of 1883: “Particularly memorable is the portrait of a graceful young girl in red . . . She is seated upon a sofa of crimson silk, and her feet rest upon a dark red carpet.” And he writes: “Equally memorable in the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1889,” when he won a Gold Medal, “was a pierrette, whose costume ran through the whole gamut from white to rose-colour.” He was named Chevalier in the Legion of Honor in 1878 and Officer in 1889. During this phase of his career he also would make sojourns to the cities of Chicago and Buenos Aires where he painted several commissions. Between the years of 1900 and 1905 he took residence in a New York studio and was named a member of the Hispanic Society in 1905.
His titles include: “Femme à l’ éventail,” “Aprés le bal,” “La Marquise de Monzanedo,” “Bal Costume,” “Jeune fille à la fenêtre,” “Emma de Madrazo,” and “Portrait de Mrs. James Leigh Coleman.” Four of his portraits are in the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, a museum devoted to nineteenth century art. His portrait of “Samuel P. Avery (1822-1904),” painted in 1876, is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Avery was the most successful of the many art dealers active in New York City in the late nineteenth century. Madrazo painted two other pictures in the Metropolitan, “Girls at a Window,” a modern upper-class genre scene, and “Masquerade Ball at the Ritz (Paris, 1909).”
Museums: Baltimore (Walters Art Gallery); Bayonne (Musée Bonnat); Cambridge (Harvard University Portrait Collection); Chicago (The Art Institute of Chicago); Cincinnati (Cincinnati Art Museum); Copenhagen (Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek); Glasgow (University of Glasgow Centre for Whistler Studies); Havana (The National Museum of Cuba); London (National Portrait Gallery); Madrid (Museo del Prado, Palais de Liria, Palais Montellano); Newport, Rhode Island (The Breakers); New York (Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Hispanic Society of America); Paris (Musée d’Orsay, Musée du Petit-Palais); Philadelphia (Philadelphia Museum of Art); Pontevedra, Spain (Museo de Arte); Washington DC, The Department of the Army Art Collection); Williamstown, Massachusetts (Clark Art Institute).
Bibliography: E. Bellier & L. Auvray, DICTIONNAIRE GENERAL DES ARTISTES DE L’ECOLE FRANCAISE
E. Bénézit, DICTIONNAIRE DES PEINTRES, SCULPTEURS, DESSINATEURS ET GRAVEURS
J. Busse, INTERNATIONALE HANDBUCH ALLER MALER UND BILDHAUER DES 19. JAHRHUNDERTS
Aleksa Celebonovic, SOME CALL IT KITSCH: MASTERPIECES OF BOURGEOIS REALISM, New York, Harry N. Abrams, pp, 28, 136, 186, 188 (A full page color reproduction of “The Marquise d’Hervey, as Diana 1888” is illustrated on page 29. This portrait, which was in the Louvre, now is in the Musée d’Orsay. A black and white reproduction of “Female Nude,” which is in the Prado, is illustrated on p. 136.)
J.D. Champlin, Jr., CYCLOPEDIA OF PAINTERS AND PAINTINGS, Vol. III
C. E. Curinier, DICTIONNAIRE DES CONTEMPORAINS, Vol. III, 1906
G. Diecks, MODERNER SPANISCHEN MALER, 1890
Carlos Gonzáles & Montse Martí, PINTORES ESPANOLES EN PARIS 1850-1900, Madrid, Sammer, 1988, pp. 159-165 (English Edition, SPANISH PAINTERS IN PARIS 1850-1900, London, 1989)
P. Hook & M. Poltimore, POPULAR 19TH CENTURY PAINTING, A DICTIONARY OF EUROPEAN GENRE PAINTERS
William R. Johnston, THE NINETEENTH CENTURY PAINTINGS IN THE WALTERS ART GALLERY, Baltimore, 1982, pp. 178-179, plate 217 “Coming out of Church”
M. de Madrazo, F. DE MADRAZO, 1923
Augusto. L. Mayer, HISTORIA DE LA PINTURA ESPANOLA, Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1942
K. McConkey, EDWARDIAN PORTRAITS: IMAGES OF AN AGE OF OPULENCE,1987
BASE JOCONDE, Ministere de la culture, France (Internet Database for French Museum Collections)
MASTERPIECES FROM THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CUBA: SPANISH AND CUBAN PAINTINGS OF THE 19TH CENTURY, Exhibition Catalogue, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, 1997 (exhibition included Madrazo y Garreta)
S. Monneret, DICTIONNAIRE INTERNATIONAL ILLUSTRE, L’IMPRESSIONISM ET SON EPOQUE, Vol. II, p. 252; Vol. III, pp. 224, 243, 257
E, Montrosier, LES ARTISTE MODERNE, Vol. I, 1881, pp. 97-100
Priscilla E. Miller & Juan J. Luna, DE GOYA A ZULOAGA: LA PINTURA ESPANOLA DE LOS SIGLOS XIX Y XX (PAINTINGS IN THE HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA), Exhibition Catalogue, Madrid, Bilbao, Seville, 2000-201, (exhibition included four painting by Madrazo y Garreta)
R. Muther, THE HISTORY OF MODERN PAINTING, Vol. III, p. 322
G. Norman, NINETEENTH CENTURY PAINTERS AND PAINTINGS; A DICTIONARY
B. de Pantorba, LOS MADRAZOS: ENSAYO BIGRAFICO CRITICA, 1947
PINTURA ESPAÑOLA DE LA COLECCIÓN MEADOWS, Museo de Arte Thyssen-Bornemisza and Museo Nactional d’Art de Catalunya, Exhibition Catalogue, 2000 (exhibition included Madrazo y Garreta)
Michael Quick, AMERICAN PORTRAITURE IN THE GRAND MANNER, 1720-1920, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1981
G. Schurr, LES PETITS MAITRES DE LA PEINTURE VALEUR DE DEMAIN
SPANISH ARTISTS FROM THE FOURTH TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: A CRITICAL DICTIONARY, London, 1996
Guy Stair-Sainty, THE BELLE EPOQUE: FASHIONABLE LIFE IN PAIRS, LONDON, AND NEW YORK 1870-1914, New York, 1981
William W. Story, “Fine Arts,” REPORTS OF THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS TO THE PARIS UNIVERSAL EXPOSITION, 1878, Vol. II, Washington, D.C., 1880, p. 66
Edward Strahan (Earl Shinn), editor, THE ART TREASURES OF AMERICA, BEING THE CHOICEST WORKS OF ART IN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS OF NORTH AMERICA, Philadelphia, Gebbie and Barrie, c. 1878 (lists over thirty-five paintings by Madrazo y Garreta in American collections)
THE SPANISH PORTRAIT FROM EL GRECO TO PICASSO, Exhibition Catalogue, Madrid, Museo del Prado, 2004-2005
Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre, MANET/VELÁZQUEZ; THE FRENCH TASTE FOR SPANISH PAINTING, Exhibition Catalogue, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Press, 2003
Elizabeth du Gué Trapier, CATALOGUE OF PAINTINGS (19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES) IN THE COLLECTION OF THE HISPANIC SOCIETY OF AMERICA, 2 Vols., New York, 1932
U. Thieme & F. Becker, ALLGEMEINES LEXIKON DER BILDENDEN KUNSTLER
Collections of Artworks by Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (1841-1920) at Museums Around the World:
Auction Records for the Artist:
June 21, 1989 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Panel (37" x 28") Titled "The Toast" was sold for $232,050 at Sotheby's London, Lot 546
March 26, 1999 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Canvas Titled "La toilette" was sold for $276,856 at Christie's London, King Street, Sale 6088, Lot 81
October 18, 2000 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Canvas Titled "Pierrette" was sold for $281,000 at Christie's New York, Sale 9494, Lot 85
October 23, 2000 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Board (26" x 18") Titled "Daydreaming" was sold for $216,750 at Duran Subastas de Arte, Madrid Spain, Sale 353, Lot 165
December 21, 2004 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Board (35" x 22") Titled "Aline" was sold for $240,749 at Duran Subastas de Arte, Madrid Spain, Sale 400, Lot 168
April 18, 2007 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Canvas (35" x 46") Titled "Little princess in the garden at Versailles" was sold for $252,000 at Sotheby's New York, Sale N08303, Lot 103
January 27, 2010 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Canvas (44" x 30") Titled "Portrait of Aline Mason" was sold for $218,500 at Christie's New York, Sale 2282, Lot 46
November 23, 2010 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Canvas (65" x 43") Titled "Portrait Of Mercedes De Heeren" was sold for $191,659 at Sotheby's London, Sale L10104, Lot 94
November 22, 2011 - Raimundo de Madrazo y Garreta (Spanish, 1841-1920)
An Oil on Canvas (32" x 26") Titled "Aline, Album De Familia (Aline, Reflections)" was sold for $226,778 at Sotheby's London, Sale L11104, Lot 69