Goya, Francisco de

Fuendetodos, Spain 1746 - Bordeaux 1828
Biography & List of works

Portrait of Pedro Gil de Tejada

Medium: Oil on canvas

Size: 112 x 84 cm

Provenance:

Pedro de Alcántara Tellez-Girón y Pacheco, IX Duque de Osuna (d. 1807);  Francisco de Borja Tellez-Girón y Pimentel, X Duque de Osuna (1820); Pedro de Alcántara Telelz-Girón y Beaufort-Spontin, XI Duque de Osuna, XIV Duque de Infantado, XVI Marques de Santillana, Conde de Ampudia (1844); Mariano Tellez-Girón y Beaufort-Spontin, XII Duque de Osuna, XV Duque de Infantado, Marques de Santillana, Conde de Ampudia (1882); Andres Avelino de Arteaga y Silva, XVI Duque de Infantado, VII Marques de Valmediano, Marques de Santillana, Conde de Ampudia (1915);  Joaquin de Arteaga y Echagüe, XVII Duque de Infantado, VII Marques de Valmediano, Marques de Santillana, Conde de Ampudia (d. 1947); Elisa de Arteaga y Falguera, Condesa de Ampudia, and by descent.

Literature:

J. Gudiol, Goya, Barcelona, 1970, vol. 1, p. 318, cat. 453 (image, vol. III, p. 604, fig. 726); J. Gudiol, Goya, Barcelona 1985, vol. 1, cat. 430 (image vol. II, fig. 410); A.L. Mayer, Francisco de Goya, Madrid, 1925 (Spanish edition), no. 431; P. Gassier and J. Wilson, Vie et oeuvre de Francesco de Goya, Paris, 1978, p.170, no. 364; R. de Angelis, L’Opera pittorica complete di Goya, Milan, 1981, no. 299; J. Camon Aznar, Goya, Zaragoza, 1980-82, vol. III, p.31. 

Exhibited:

Madrid, Nacional Exposition of Portraits, 1902; Madrid, Museo del Prado, 1928, Pinturas de Goya, no. 91; Madrid, Casón del Buen Retiro, 1961, Francisco de Goya IV centenario de la Capitalidad, no. LXXXII; Madrid, Real Academia de Bellas Artes, 1992, La década de los caprichos. Retratos 1792-1804, no. 72; Haro, La Rioja, 2013, Exposition La Rioja Tierra Abierta: Lucas de la Modernidad.

Goya’s portrait of a gentleman in a black frock coat has long been identified as a portrait of the distinguished Spanish banker, Don Pedro Gil de Tejada y del Saz. It dates from the height of Goya’s fame as painter to the Spanish court and aristocracy, before the humiliating overthrow of the Spanish Monarchy by the French in 1808 when the sitter lost his life. Goya’s portraits demonstrate his genius at capturing both a physical likeness and the character of the sitter, particularly notable in this painting in which the artist portrays the soberly dressed banker seated on a gilt wood chair upholstered in red silk. The portrait has remained in the collection of the heirs of the sitter’s friends, the Duke and Duchess of Osuna, to the present day.

Gil de Tejada was born in 1741 in Gallinero de Cameros, a mountainous area between the Navarrese city of Logrono and Soria in the the heart of the famed Rioja wine region. As a young man he was invited by a family connection, Policarpo Saenz de Tejada, to join the newly founded Bank of San Carlos, the precursor of the Bank of Spain, founded by King Charles III in 1782. His intelligence soon led to a more senior role and the friendship of his near contemporary and fellow employee of the bank, Gasparo Melchior de Jovellanos (1744-1811), who like Gild e Tejada came from the north of Spain (Asturias), thus providing Pedro with an entrée into the highest levels of Madrid’s intellectual society. In 1784 Jovellanos was appointed director of the Madrid Economic Society (Sociedad Económico Matritense), set up by the king in 1782 to examine the state of the Spanish economy, and Pedro Gil de Tejada became one of its councillors.

Jovellanos’s career had been advanced initially thanks to the support of Don José Álvarez de Toledo y Osorio Gonzaga, XV Duke of Medina Sidonia, whose wife (and cousin) Teresa de Silva Alvarez de Toledo, XIII Duchess of Alba, is renowned today as a friend and patron of Goya. Both the Duke and Duchess were painted several times by Goya, the two portraits of the Duke (who died in 1796, leaving no children) dating from 1795, approximately the same date as the portrait of Gil de Tejada. The latter was already well-acquainted with the ducal couple through Jovellanos and also the Duke and Duchess of Osuna, who later acquired this portrait. In 1799 Gil de Tejada was appointed director of the Bank for the province of Leon, a post he held until 1807. Despite his age (he was sixty-seven), Pedro Gil de Tejada joined the uprising against the French occupation on the 2 May 1808. He was wounded in the subsequent action and died of his injuries, a Spanish patriotic hero.