Dozens of works attributed to Goya do not belong to him, the expert says

Art critic Juliet Wilson-Baro

Leading British art historian on the work of Francisco de Goya casts doubt on the authenticity of dozens of paintings attributed to him. She claims that in reality, this is not the work of the Spanish master but the works of numerous apprentices who served the great artist.

Juliet Wilson-Baro, an art historian, specializing in Goya’s work, believes that museums should review their treasures as they contain many “problematic” paintings. She told that auction houses and dealers regularly sell works under the name of Goya, although the scientist is convinced that lesser artists made them.

Juliet Wilson-Baro, who lectured on Goya at the University of Oxford, oversaw major exhibitions of the artist at the Prado Museum in Madrid and the Royal Academy of Arts in London. According to her estimates, dozens of Goya’s paintings need re-attribution.  And this will take years of research.

According to her, partly, the problem was formed in 1812 during an inventory of the workshop and other property of Goya. Wilson-Baro said that they believed that all the works in this list should be created by the hand of Goya. Over time, she came to the conclusion that some of them could not be his work. Goya had an active workshop with assistants. And so, many pictures were created by other people, but everyone left the studio under the name of Goya. The fact that Goya had assistants was not a kind of news. But until recently, the role of these people was ambiguous. Now it became clear, in part thanks to documentary evidence, that people under the same brand bought both Goya’s works and those that did not belong to him.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has already revised the attribution of several of its paintings as non-Goya but was unable to establish a date or authorship.

Dozens of works attributed to Goya do not belong to him, the expert says
Majas on the balcony, Francisco Goya, 1814

These include the large scene, “Majas on the Balcony,” an exact copy of the original Goya from a private European collection. Wilson-Baro believes that its author may be Asensio Julià – a close assistant of Goya. Asensio Julià`s paintings are featured in a large exhibition of the work of the Goya workshop, which Wilson-Baro oversees at the Museum of Fine Arts in Agen in southwestern France.

She says she is worried about dubious attribution when Goya’s paintings change hands for millions of dollars. If the painting is made by an apprentice, its value, of course, falls. Artists in the shadow of the great master can illustrate his imagery, his style, the way he works with paint, but the work isn`t permeated by the unique personality and strength of the original creator.


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