The theme of women on a balcony overseen by watchful, somewhat threatening male companions strongly engaged Goya, who treated this subject in a painting now in a private collection. Dating from about 1810, the latter is among Goya's masterpieces. The Metropolitan's painting is sometimes considered a variant composition, its attribution questioned by some experts. Expressively and stylistically, however, the two paintings are quite different and the Metropolitan's painting has suffered from abrasion and past overcleaning.
Infante Sebastián María Gabriel de Borbón y Braganza, Madrid (by 1835; inv., 1835, no. 48); Museo Nacional de la Trinidad, Madrid, under state sequestration (1835–60; inv. 1854); restored to Infante Sebastián, Madrid (1860–68), later Pau (1868–d. 1875); his estate (returned to Madrid 1881–83; invs., 1885 and 1887, no. 1160); his son, Francisco de Borbón y Borbón, first duke of Marchena, Madrid (1887–1904); [Durand-Ruel, Paris, 1904; sold for $50,000 to Havemeyer]; Mr. and Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, New York (1904–his d. 1907); Mrs. H. O. (Louisine W.) Havemeyer, New York (1907–d. 1929)
Asile de Pau. "Tableaux exposés dans les salons de l'ancien asile de Pau appartenant aux héritiers de feu Mgr l'Infant don Sébastien de Bourbon et Bragance," September 1876, no. 582.
Madrid. Ministerio de Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes. "Goya," May 1900, no. 112 (as "Las majas al balcón," lent by the Duke of Marchena).
New York. M. Knoedler & Co. "Loan Exhibition of Paintings by El Greco and Goya," April 2–20, 1912, no. 5 (as "The Women on the Balcony").
New York. M. Knoedler & Co. "Loan Exhibition of Paintings by El Greco and Goya," January 1915, no. 13 (as "The Women on the Balcony").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The H. O. Havemeyer Collection," March 11–November 2, 1930, no. 65 (as by Goya) [2nd ed., 1958, no. 190, as by Goya].
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Francisco Goya: His Paintings, Drawings and Prints," January 27–March 8, 1936, no. 14.
Art Institute of Chicago. "The Art of Goya: Paintings, Drawings, and Prints," January 30–March 2, 1941, no. 80.
Toledo Museum of Art. "Spanish Painting," March 16–April 27, 1941, unnumbered cat.? (pls. 96–97).
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Diamond Jubilee Exhibition: Masterpieces of Painting," November 4, 1950–February 11, 1951, no. 66.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Art Treasures of the Metropolitan," November 7, 1952–September 7, 1953, no. 126.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Goya: Drawings and Prints," May 4–30, 1955, no. 184.
London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition: Goya and His Times," December 7, 1963–March 1, 1964, no. 84.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Masterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 16–November 1, 1970, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 15, 1970–February 15, 1971, no. 327.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," May 22–July 27, 1975, no. 36.
Moscow. State Pushkin Museum. "100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum," August 28–November 2, 1975, no. 36.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27–June 20, 1993, no. A296.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Goya in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 12–December 31, 1995, unnumbered cat.
Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "La collection Havemeyer: Quand l'Amérique découvrait l'impressionnisme...," October 20, 1997–January 18, 1998, no. 8.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Goya: Images of Women," March 10–June 2, 2002, no. 61.
Paris. Musée d'Orsay. "Manet/Velázquez: La manière espagnole au XIXe siècle," September 16, 2002–January 12, 2003, no. 17.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting," March 4–June 8, 2003, no. 14.
Louis Viardot. Les Musées d'Espagne, d'Angleterre, et de Belgique, guide et mémento de l'artiste et du voyageur, faisant suite aux musées d'Italie. Paris, 1843, p. 168, states that the "Musée national" in Madrid [presumably the Museo Nacional de la Trinidad] has only one painting by Goya, "Loge au cirque des taureaux (un Palco en los toros)" [probably this painting interpreted as a scene in a box at a bullfight].
G. A. Hoskins. Spain, as it is. London, 1851, vol. 1, p. 149, lists it among the paintings at the Museo de la Trinidad, as "Ladies in a Balcony" by Goya.
Ramón de Mesonero Romanos. Nuevo manual histórico-topográfico-estadístico, y descripción de Madrid. Madrid, 1854, p. 448, calls it "Majas al balcon" by Goya and describes it as "one of the most perfect works of this famous artist".
Charles Gueullette. Les peintres espagnols: Études biographiques et critiques sur les principaux maîtres anciens et modernes. Paris, 1863, p. 156, calls it "Loge au Cirque de taureaux" and describes it as "caricature esquissée dans un style spirituel et indépendant".
A. Lavice. Revue des musées d'Espagne: Catalogue raisonné des peintures et sculptures exposées dans les galeries publiques et particulières et dans les églises. Paris, 1864, p. 218, calls it "Une loge au cirque des taureaux" at the Musée national de Madrid; describes it as a "composition originale dont l'execution laisse à désirer".
H. O'Shea. A Guide to Spain. London, 1865, p. 300, calls it "Two Majos and two Majas looking out of a Balcony" by Goya; notes that the picture hangs in the Gallery of the Infante Don Sebastián in Madrid, whose collection was returned to him "a few years since" from the Museo National, where it had hung after being confiscated by the crown; observes that the Infante is "himself a good painter".
Charles Yriarte. "Sa biographie, les fresques, les toiles, les tapisseries, les eaux-fortes et le catalogue de l'oeuvre." Goya. Paris, 1867, p. 90, calls this picture and the version in the collection of the duc de Montpensier [now Rothschild] "complétement authentiques"; believes a third version in the Salamanca collection [later Groult, now Pezzoli] was probably painted by Alemsa [sic, for Leonardo Alenza].
J. Laurent. Catalogue des principaux tableaux des musées d'Espagne. Madrid, 1868, supplement, p. 51, no. 541, lists it among works by Goya as "Les majas au balcon (copie)" at the gallery of the Infante Sebastián [Laurent photographed a watercolor copy of the MMA painting; see Ref. Glendinning 2002].
J. Puiggari. "Cuadros fotográficos: Goya—El Carnaval—Las majas." La Ilustración Española y Americana 7 (January 1, 1872), pp. 101–2, ill. (etching by Severini)
, describes the majas in this picture as "two dubious beauties... fishing for love".
Paul Lefort. "Francisco Goya." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 13 (February 1876), p. 343, ill. opp. p. 342 (etching by L[éopold] Flameng).
Catalogue abrégé des tableaux exposés dans les salons de l'ancien asile de Pau appartenant aux héritiers de feu Mgr l'Infant don Sébastien [Gabriel] de Bourbon et Bragance. Pau, 1876, p. 66, no. 582.
Jean Laurent y Minier. Guide du touriste en Espagne et en Portugal... Catalogue des chefs-d'oeuvre de peinture ancienne et moderne. Madrid, 1879, supplement, no. A.541
, listed as "Les majas au balcon" by Goya; [identified by Glendinning as "probably the version in the Infante Don Sebastián's collection which Laurent might well have photographed when it formed part of the National or Trinity Museum"; see Ref. Glendinning 1976, Apollo].
Cipriano Muñoz y Manzano, conde de la Viñaza. Goya, su tiempo, su vida, sus obras. Madrid, 1887, p. 297, catalogues the Majas in the duc de Montpensier [now Rothschild] collection; notes that there is another original by Goya with the Infante Sebastián and that the marqués de Salamanca owns "una reproduction, pero apócrifa".
Laurent Mathéron inArtistes contemporains des pays de Guyenne, Béarn, Saintonge et Languedoc. Léon Bonnat, Maxime Lalanne, Fromentin, Brascassat, Goya... Bordeaux, 1889, ill., n.p. (etching by Flameng)
Zeferino Araujo Sánchez. Goya. Madrid, , p. 103, no. 116, calls this picture "Las Manolas al balcón" and accepts it as by Goya; calls the Rothschild and Pezzoli versions repetitions of ours.
P. Lafond. "Goya." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 5 (February 1899), ill. p. 143 (engraving after the painting).
A. Schulze-Berge. "Einiges über die Goya-Ausstellung Madrid im Mai 1900." Zeitschrift für Bildende Kunst, n.s., 17 (May 1900), p. 232.
Elías Tormo y Monzó. "Las pinturas de Goya (con motivo de la Exposición de sus obras, en Madrid)." Revista de la Asociación Artístico Arqueológica Barcelonesa 2 (July–August 1900), p. 597, includes it in a group of works which he dates 1800–09.
"La exposición de cuadros de Goya." La Época (May 17, 1900) [reprinted in "Goya 1900: Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposición en el ministerio de instrucción pública y bellas artes," vol. 1, Madrid, 2002, p. 141], call it one of Goya's greatest and most famous works.
Juan Pérez de Guzmán. "Recuerdos de antaño. Las mujeres de Goya." La Época (May 25, 1900) [reprinted in "Goya 1900: Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposición en el ministerio de instrucción pública y bellas artes," vol. 1, Madrid, 2002, pp. 172, 176], wonders whether the woman on the left side of this picture appears also in "Maja vestida" and "Maja desnuda" (both Prado, Madrid) and if the male figure on the left is meant to be Goya himself.
Rafael Balsa de la Vega. "Exposición de obras de Goya." La Ilustración Española y Americana 44 (May 22, 1900) [reprinted in "Goya 1900: Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposición en el ministerio de instrucción pública y bellas artes," vol. 1, Madrid, 2002, p. 190], calls it one of Goya's most characteristic works, if not his greatest.
Pere Corominas. "Goya." La revista blanca 2 (June 15, 1900), article appears on pp. 702–6 [reprinted in "Goya 1900: Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposición en el ministerio de instrucción pública y bellas artes," vol. 1, Madrid, 2002, p. 206], calls it Goya's perfect work.
Paul Lafond. Goya. Paris, , pp. 77–78, 108, no. 43, ill. opp. p. 4 (Flameng etching), calls it "une des plus belles productions de Goya"; considers the Rothschild and Salamanca versions to be repetitions, with variations, of this picture and suggests the latter may be a copy by Alenza.
S. L. Bensusan. "Goya: His Times and Portraits. Part I." Connoisseur 2 (January 1902), p. 22, ill., mentions the three versions of this picture and appears to list ours in the collection of the Duke of Marchena.
S. L. Bensusan. "Goya: His Times and Portraits. Part II." Connoisseur 4 (October 1902), p. 122, mentions that Goya made replicas of the Rothschild version and suggests that in the latter "the features of the Duchess of Alba are reproduced".
Valerian von Loga. Francisco de Goya. Berlin, 1903, pp. 106, 217, no. 513 [2nd ed., 1921], lists the three versions and dates the original 1800 [presumably the Rothschild picture]; compares the figures in it to a group of women leaning on the railing in the cupola fresco at the church of San Antonio de la Florida, Madrid .
Richard Oertel. Francisco de Goya. Bielefeld, 1907, pp. 42–43, ill. opp. p. 32, probably describes this work but confuses its provenance with that of the Rothschild picture.
Timothy Cole and Charles H. Caffin. Old Spanish Masters. New York, 1907, pp. 168, 174–75, ill. p. 169 (engraving by Cole), notes that he saw this painting at Aranjuez and that it is in the collection of the Duke of Marchena, Paris [1st ed. of this Ref. dated 1901, when painting was with the Duke of Marchena].
S. Reinach. Apollo: An Illustrated Manual of the History of Art throughout the Ages. New York, 1907, p. 257, fig. 459 (watercolor copy), reproduces the watercolor copy of this painting as "Las Majas on the Balcony" by Goya, Museum, Madrid [see Ref. Glendinning 2002].
Albert F. Calvert. Goya, an Account of His Life and Works. London, 1908, p. 150, no. 5, pl. 182, calls the Rothschild and Pezzoli versions repetitions of this picture; mislabels illustrations of the three versions.
Lothar Brieger-Wasservogel. Francisco de Goya. Paris, , p. 68, ill.
Hugh Stokes. Francisco Goya: A Study of the Work and Personality of the Eighteenth Century Spanish Painter and Satirist. London, 1914, p. 350, no. 498, lists the three versions as by Goya; describes the theme of majas on a balcony as an amplification of several ideas in "Los Caprichos".
Christian Brinton. "Goya and Certain Goyas in America." Art in America 3 (April 1915), p. 89, calls it the most satisfying of the three versions; mentions that Edouard Manet's "The Balcony" [Musée d'Orsay, Paris] and Ignacio Zuloaga's "Women at the Bullfight" [then Shchukin collection, Moscow] were influenced by this painting.
A. de Beruete y Moret. Goya. Vol. 2, Composiciones y figuras. Madrid, 1917, pp. 129–31, 169, no. 228, pl. 50, considers the MMA and Rothschild pictures authentic; describes some parts of this picture as "abocetada" [sketchy] and executed with a palette knife; suggests that the figure on the left is based on the same model as the "Naked Maja" (Prado, Madrid).
August L. Mayer. Francisco de Goya. Munich, 1923, pp. 76–77, 213, no. 627, pl. 241 [English ed., 1924, pp. 60–61, 179], confuses the provenance histories of the three versions and suggests that the compositions differ because they date from different periods; dates the example in a private collection [ex. Salamanca, Groult by 1923], Paris, about 1800, the MMA picture 1810–15, and the Rothschild picture 1815–19; finds a progression from shyness to worldliness in the majas's expressions.
A. de Beruete y Moret. Conferencias de arte. Madrid, 1924, p. 245, ill. opp. p. 244, dates it during Goya's late period, well after 1800, and considers it the best version.
Francisco Zapater y Gómez. Colección de cuatrocientas cuarenta y nueve reproducciones de cuadros, dibujos y aguafuertes de Don Francisco de Goya . . . publicadas por Don Francisco Zapater y Gómez en 1860. Madrid, 1924, pl. 294.
Tomás G. Larraya. Goya: Su vida, sus obras. Barcelona, 1928, pp. 198–99.
X. Desparmet Fitz-Gerald. L'oeuvre peint de Goya: Catalogue raisonné. Paris, 1928–50, vol. 1, p. 221–22, no. 187, pl. 148; vol. 2, pp. 304, 329, dates it 1795–96; calls this picture a replica with variations of the Rothschild version [the credit lines for the two pictures are switched]; considers the Groult [now Pezzoli] version a copy by Alenza.
"Havemeyer Collection at Metropolitan Museum: Havemeyers Paid Small Sums for Masterpieces." Art News 28 (March 15, 1930), p. 35, ill. p. 37, notes that the Havemeyers purchased the work for $50,000.
Harry B. Wehle. "The Exhibition of the H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25 (March 1930), p. 60.
"The H. O. Havemeyer Collection." Parnassus 2 (March 1930), p. 4, ill., cover, dates it 1800.
The H.O. Havemeyer Collection: A Catalogue of the Temporary Exhibition. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1930, p. 11, no. 65, ill., dates it about 1810 and calls it the second of the three versions.
F.J. Sanchez Cantón. Goya. Paris, 1930, pp. 72, 102, mentions three versions by Goya of this theme dated 1798, 1810 [ours], and after 1815; mislabels the Rothschild version as from the Groult collection.
Frank Jewett Mather Jr. "The Havemeyer Pictures." The Arts 16 (March 1930), pp. 468–69, ill. p. 455, describes it as "a picture that has lost by coming nearer the light of day... an incomplete impressionist picture... a precedent for Manet, Courbet, and Renoir".
H. O. Havemeyer Collection: Catalogue of Paintings, Prints, Sculpture and Objects of Art. n.p., 1931, pp. 42–43, ill., date it about 1810.
Francisco Goya: His Paintings, Drawings and Prints. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1936, unpaginated, no. 14, ill., note that "its broad, decorative character" recalls Goya's frescoes in San Antonio de la Florida and some of the tapestry cartoons.
August L. Mayer. Letter to Harry B. Wehle. July 29, 1937, dates the Rothschild version about 1798–1801 and our picture at least ten years later, about 1810–14.
Harry B. Wehle. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: A Catalogue of Italian, Spanish, and Byzantine Paintings. New York, 1940, pp. 248–50, ill., dates it about 1810–15 and notes its relationship to the 1798 frescoes in San Antonio de la Florida; mentions a fourth and smaller version of the picture, now lost, but confuses its provenance with that of the Rothschild picture
Elizabeth du Gué Trapier. Eugenio Lucas y Padilla. New York, 1940, pp. 52, 60, states that Eugenio Lucas copied Goya's "Majas on a Balcony" twice, but does not specify which version; also notes that Lucas made a drawing after "the splendid Goya [majas on a balcony] now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art," but confuses the provenance of the latter with that of the Rothschild painting.
José Gudiol. Goya. New York, 1941, p. 88, ill. p. 55 (color detail), dates it about 1805 and calls this picture the best of the versions.
Daniel Catton Rich. The Art of Goya: Paintings, Drawings and Prints. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1941, p. 52, no. 80, ill. p. 53, dates it 1810 or later, at least ten years after the first version; observes the use of the palette knife in this "more forceful version"; confuses its provenance with that of the Rothschild picture.
Harold E. Wethey. "The Goya Exhibition." Art in America 29 (April 1941), p. 99.
Jean Adhémar. Goya. Paris, 1941, pp. 16–19, pl. 68; [English ed., 1948, pp. 18, 21, pl. 68; both eds. illustrate a watercolor copy of the MMA picture; see Ref. Glendinning 2002], dates it 1800 in the text and 1810 in the caption; calls the MMA picture the first of the versions and the Rothschild picture [erroneously labelled "Collection Groult"] a replica by Goya in a "very different style".
Josep [sic] Gudiol. "The Goya Exhibition at Chicago." Art Bulletin 23 (June 1941), p. 169.
Walter W.S. Cook. "The Exhibition of Spanish Painting at the Toledo Museum of Art." Art Bulletin 23 (September 1941), p. 224.
"A Notable Goya Restoration." Burlington Magazine 79 (October 1941), p. 111, calls the theme of figures behind a railing "an entirely original 'find' of Goya's" that he would repeat several times, including in the MMA painting.
Regina Shoolman and Charles E. Slatkin. The Enjoyment of Art in America. Philadelphia, 1942, pp. 472–73, pl. 429, date it about 1810.
Leonardo Estarico. Francisco de Goya: El hombre y el artista. Buenos Aires, 1942, pl. 143, dates it about 1810.
F.J. Sánchez Cantón. "Como vivía Goya." Archivo español de arte 19 (April–June 1946), pp. 86–87, confuses the provenance of the MMA and Rothschild pictures; identifies the pictures from the Louis-Philippe [Rothschild] and Salamanca [now Pezzoli] collections as those cited in the 1812 inventory drawn-up following the death of Goya's wife as "dos quadros de unas jóvenes al balcon".
A. Hyatt Mayor. "Goya's Creativeness." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 5 (December 1946), p. 108, ill. p. 109 and cover (color detail), reproduces the MMA, Rothschild and Groult [now Pezzoli] versions and states that Goya "repeated the Majas on the Balcony in canvases that hardly differ".
Enrique Lafuente Ferrari. Antecedentes, coincidencias e influencias del arte de Goya: Catalogo ilustrado de la exposicion celebrada en 1932. Madrid, 1947, pp. 217–18, 245, 248, fig. 40, notes that Federico Madrazo described a copy of this subject by Franciso Lameyer that admirably followed the spirit and technique of the master; tentatively identifies the MMA painting with the Lameyer copy, noting that the latter was exhibited at the 1932 Goya exhibition in Madrid; mistakenly claims that our picture [instead of the Rothschild version] was on view at the Louvre in the 19th century, as part of King Louis Philippe's collection.
Fiske Kimball and Lionello Venturi. Great Paintings in America. New York, 1948, pp. 156–57, no. 71, ill. (color), state that most connoisseurs regard the MMA painting as the original version and date it between 1810–19.
André Malraux. "Goya." Art News Annual, part 2, 49 (November 1950), pp. 69, 74, ill. p. 68 (color).
André Malraux. Saturne. Paris, 1950, p. 96 [English ed., London, 1957, p. 94, ill. p. 97].
F. J. Sanchez Canton. Vida y obras de Goya. Madrid, 1951, pp. 92, 101–2, 144, pl. 67, tentatively dates it 1813 and confuses its provenance with that of the Rothschild picture; suggests the influence of Tiepolo in this work.
Art Treasures of the Metropolitan: A Selection from the European and Asiatic Collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1952, p. 230, no. 126, colorpl. 126.
F. J. S[anchez]. C[anton]. "Las versiones de 'Las majas al balcón'." Archivo español de arte 25 (October–December 1952), pp. 336–38, pl. 2, fig. 1, corrects previous mistakes in provenance history for the three versions; identifies the two Maja paintings in the 1812 inventory as the versions owned by Louis Philippe [now Rothschild] and the marqués de Salamanca, since their respective sale catalogues list Javier Goya in the provenance and Javier owned all of the paintings in the 1812 inventory; mistakenly connects the MMA picture with the picture in the 1867 Salamanca sale; calls the Groult [now Pezzoli] version probably a copy which surfaced in the second Salamanca sale of 1875.
Robert L. Delevoy. Goya. Paris, 1954, pl. 40 [watercolor copy of the MMA picture; see Ref. Glendinning 2000], dates it about 1810.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "A Guide to the Picture Galleries." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 12, part 2 (January 1954), p. 6.
Tableaux anciens, tableaux modernes, objets d'art... Galerie Charpentier, Paris. May 24, 1955, unpaginated, under no. 143, state that the MMA and Rothschild pictures came from the sale of Javier Goya; catalogue the Pezzoli picture (no. 143) as school of Goya.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. The Metropolitan, New York. New York, 1957, p. 46, colorpl. 17.
A. Hyatt Mayor. "The Gifts that Made the Museum." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (November 1957), p. 100, ill. p. 96, calls it the second of three versions by Goya.
Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. La pintura española fuera de España. Madrid, 1958, pp. 162–63, no. 931, dates it 1795–96 and calls it the most beautiful version of the theme.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The H. O. Havemeyer Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1958, p. 34, no. 190, unnumbered pl.
Gabriel Rouchès. La peinture espagnole des origines au XXe siècle. Paris, 1958, p. 426, dates the MMA picture about 1810 and considers it the second version, based on the one painted in 1798 [apparently the Rothschild picture].
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. New York, 1961, pp. 83, 138, 144, 155–58, mentions that she had hoped to buy the painting owned by the Montpensier family [Rothschild version], but instead purchased "Goya's larger and more important one from the Bourbon branch of the family" through Durand-Ruel; relates that Mary Cassatt facilitated the purchase of this picture and that it was seen by several critics in Paris before being shipped to New York; quotes Cassatt: "Roger Marx congratulates you on the possession of this Goya which he considers very fine, and says it is extraordinary for Goya to paint the women's faces as if they were miniatures.".
Goya and His Times. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 1963, pp. 46–47, no. 84, date it about 1800–05 and add "Francisco Javier de Goya, 1812?" to the provenance, in reference to the 1812 inventory; call the MMA painting "certainly original," the Rothschild version a close replica, and the Pezzoli (ex-Groult) version a contemporary variant, probably not by Goya; observe this painting's similarities to Goya's frescoes at San Antonio de la Florida and to his portraits of 1800–06, as well as the "Maja nuda" and "Maja vestida" (Prado); dismiss the idea of its depiction of a spectator box at a bullfight, saying "the balcony was certainly important in the Madrid social scene".
Charles Bouleau. Charpentes: La géométrie secrète des peintres. [Paris], 1963, p. 144, ill., provides a geometrical analysis of this painting's composition.
Goya: Paintings, Drawings and Lithographs by Francisco Goya Selected from the Exhibition "Goya and His Times". London, 1963, ill. p. 31.
Xavier de Salas. "El segundo texto de Matheron." Archivo español de arte 36 (October–December 1963), p. 298, identifies Flameng's etching after this picture as the illustration for the Goya section in Ref. Matheron 1899.
Nigel Glendinning. "Goya and His Times at Burlington House." Connoisseur 155 (January 1964), p. 19, fig. 3, tentatively dates it before 1812; finds its "rigidly classical" composition provides a static, tranquil effect that captures "the placidity and delicacy of the two majas".
José López-Rey. "Goya at the London Royal Academy." Gazette des beaux-arts 63 (May–June 1964), p. 360, describes our Majas as hanging beside the Prado's "Maja nuda" and "Maja vestida," and equally magnificent.
Xavier de Salas. "Dos exposiciones de la obra de Goya en Londres." Archivo español de arte 37 (January–March 1964), p. 90.
Jacques Chastenet in "La vie de Francisco Goya y Lucientes, peintre." Goya. Paris, 1964, fig. 14, dates it about 1795–96.
"Goya and His Times." Burlington Magazine 106 (January 1964), p. 4, lists it among the works by Goya that "took one's breath away" at the 1963 London exhibition.
Xavier de Salas. "Sur les tableaux de Goya qui appartinrent à son fils." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 63 (February 1964), p. 108, observes that while one of the "Majas" versions may have been included in entry 24 of the 1812 inventory, the other work mentioned in this entry definitely corresponds to "Maja and Celestina" (Bartolomé March Servera collection, Madrid), which bears the inventory mark "X 24" in an old photograph.
Francisco Javier Sánchez Cantón. Goya. New York, , p. 17, fig. 29 (color) [Spanish ed., 1963], dates it about 1794.
Denys Sutton. "The Royal Academy Exhibition. Goya: Apostle of Reason." Apollo 79 (January 1964), p. 69.
G. S. Whittet. "Goya, Angry Old Man of Art." Studio 167 (March 1964), p. 125, fig. 6, places it in "the first few years of the 19th century".
José Gudiol. Goya. New York, 1965, pp. 37–38, 132, ill. p. 133 (color), dates it about 1811; notes that this painting and "Maja and Celestina" (March collection) may be the two works described in entry 24 of the 1812 inventory.
Michael Levey. "The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries." 20,000 Years of World Painting. Ed. Hans L. C. Jaffé. New York, 1967, p. 284, ill. (color), dates it about 1810–15.
Claus Virch. Francisco Goya. New York, 1967, p. 43, no. 14, ill., dates it 1800–05; identifies this painting as one of the two balcony pictures in the 1812 inventory; notes that the inventory entry reads "young people on a balcony" and the term "majas" did not appear in the title until later; suggests that the women depicted could very well be aristocrats donning the costumes of Majas, which was fashionable at the time, and are not necessarily "ladies of easy virtue".
Gaspar Gómez de la Serna. Goya y su España. Madrid, 1969, pp. 194–95, 285, dates it about 1795–98.
Enriqueta Harris. Goya. London, 1969, p. 11 [2nd ed., 1972; reprinted 1975], states that two "Majas on a Balcony" appeared in the 1812 inventory, without identifying them.
Introduction by Kenneth Clark. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 286, no. 327, ill.
Calvin Tomkins. Merchants and Masterpieces: The Story of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1970, p. 209 [rev., enl. ed., 1989].
Edith A. Standen inMasterpieces of Painting in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. New York, , p. 59, ill. (color).
Pierre Gassier and Juliet Wilson. Vie et oeuvre de Francisco Goya. Ed. François Lachenal. Fribourg, Switzerland, 1970, pp. 256, 266, no. 960, ill. [English ed., 1971], date it "1800–14?," commenting on its "smoother, sweeter style and technique compared to the Rothschild picture," which they date 1808–12; suggest the MMA Majas may have formed a pair with a replica of "Les Vieilles" (formerly Marqués de la Torrecilla, Madrid) or that it was part of a unified series including the Rothschild picture, the original "Les Vieilles" and "Les Jeunes" (both Musée des Beaux Arts, Lille), "Maja and Celestina" (March collection), and "El Lazarillo de Tormes" (Marañon collection, Madrid); propose that the Infante Sebastián acquired this picture at the first Salamanca sale of 1867 where it was exhibited with the provenance "vente Goya"; cite copies of this picture by Alenza [formerly Groult collection] and Lameyer [see Ref. Lafuente 1947].
José Gudiol. Goya 1746–1828: Biographie, analyse critique et catalogue des peintures. Paris, 1970, vol. 1, pp. 149, 313–14, no. 576; vol. 4, figs. 925 (detail), 926 (color detail) [Spanish ed., 1969–70; English ed., 1971, vol. 1, pp. 151–52, 320–21, no. 576; vol. 4, figs. 925 (detail), 926 (color detail)], dates it about 1805–12 and erroneously cites the 1867 Salamanca sale in the provenance; calls the Rothschild painting a variant of ours, seemingly by Goya, and "possibly even more poignant in its expression".
Jeannine Baticle. Goya. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1970, unpaginated, under nos. 41, 43, mentions its considerable differences from the Rothschild version; based on an old photograph of the Rothschild picture bearing the mark "X24," associates it with the 1812 inventory along with "Maja and Celestina" (March collection); calls ours the second version and compares its facture to that of "Les Vieilles" (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille).
Enriqueta Harris. "Goya at the Hague and in Paris." Burlington Magazine 112 (October 1970), p. 716, calls the Rothschild painting a variant of ours.
Julián Gállego. "Goya en el arte moderno." Goya (January–February 1971), p. 256.
Jeannine Baticle and Claudie Ressort. Eugenio Lucas et les satellites de Goya. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille. Castres, 1972, unpaginated, under no. 117, calls the Rothschild painting the original version, ours another version, and the Pezzoli painting "school of Goya".
José López-Rey. "Book Reviews: A New Goya Catalogue." Apollo 96 (October 1972), p. 359, claims that Gassier and Wilson [see Ref. 1971] refer to our painting as a replica of the Rothschild version.
Christopher Andreae. "Two Balcony Scenes." Christian Science Monitor (May 29, 1973), unpaginated, ill.
Nigel Glendinning. Letters to the MMA. September 10, 1973 and January 11, 1974, believes this painting may have been in the Infante Sebastián's collection when it was confiscated in 1841 or 1842; cites references to the painting on view at the Museo Nacional de la Trinidad in the 1850s, proving that it could not have been in the Salamanca collection in the 1860s [see Ref. Gassier and Wilson 1971].
Rita de Angelis. L'opera pittorica completa di Goya. Milan, 1974, p. 121, no. 472, ill., p. 121 and colorpl. 32, tentatively dates it 1805–12 and calls it a repetition with variations of the Rothschild picture.
Marcus B. Burke in100 Paintings from the Metropolitan Museum [in Russian]. Exh. cat., State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad. Moscow, 1975, pp. 102–6, no. 36, ill. (color, overall and detail), mentions a fourth, smaller version in the Ybarra Mac-Mahón collection, Vizcaya [which is, in fact, a copy of the Rothschild picture]; notes that a 9 cm. wide strip has been added to the left-hand side of our picture.
Nigel Glendinning. "Variations on a Theme by Goya: 'Majas on a Balcony'." Apollo 103 (January 1976), pp. 40–47, fig. 1, states that Goya painted three balcony scenes between 1808–14, "Maja and Celestina" (March collection), the Rothschild version, and ours; notes that the MMA picture "makes the greatest use of geometrical relationships" and has been the most influential of the three; describes the subject as Goya's most copied and imitated composition and states that Eugenio Lucas y Padilla made two copies and two variations of the MMA version.
Nigel Glendinning. Goya and His Critics. New Haven, 1977, pp. 11–12, 15, 18–19, 109, 217, 230, 280, 301, 306 n. 16, 332 n. 2, pl. 10, dates it about 1800–14; notes that the paintings confiscated from the Infante Sebastián, including this one, were hung in the National "Trinity" Museum in Madrid between 1842 and the early 1860s; illustrates a 1900 tableau vivant based on this work.
Sarah Symmons. Goya. London, 1977, p. 18, 73, 103, pl. 48, dates this painting about 1800–12 and calls it the second version; confuses its provenance with that of the Rothschild version.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 394, fig. 710 (color).
Jacques Dufwa. Winds from the East: A Study in the Art of Manet, Degas, Monet and Whistler 1856–86. Stockholm, 1981, p. 62.
José Camón Aznar. Fran. de Goya. Vol. 3, Saragossa, 1981, p. 183.
Mercedes Águeda. "La colección de pinturas del Infante Don Sebastián Gabriel." Boletin del Museo del Prado 3 (May–August 1982), pp. 104, 107, 116 n. 48, publishes an 1835 inventory of the collection of Sebastián Gabriel de Borbón, where this work is listed as number 48, "...7 pies de alto, por 4 y 6 pulgadas de ancho. Dos Majas con dos majos, aquellas asomadas a un balcón. Tiene marco de talla dorado... Goya.".
Juliet Wilson Bareau. "Martigny, 'Goya dans les collections suisses'." Burlington Magazine 124 (November 1982), p. 725, asserts that the Rothschild version was painted for Goya's own pleasure, like "a high proportion of his most interesting, original compositions" and may have been "reinterpreted at the request of an admiring patron" in the MMA version.
José Camón Aznar. Fran. de Goya. Vol. 4, Saragossa, 1982, ill. p. 242.
Michael Wilson. Manet at Work. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 1983, p. 26.
Frances Weitzenhoffer. The Havemeyers: Impressionism Comes to America. New York, 1986, pp. 141, 154–56, 254, colorpl. 122, notes that the painting was relined in 1904 and that Roger Marx saw it at the Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, before it was shipped to the Havemayers.
Karen Wilkin. "Goya: Enlightenment at the Met." New Criterion 8 (September 1989), p. 64, expresses disappointment that this picture was not included in the exhibition "Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment," where it could have been compared alongside "Maja and Celestina" (March collection).
E. A. Carmean, Jr. Helen Frankenthaler: A Paintings Retrospective. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1989, p. 24, fig. 2 (color), states that as an homage to Goya, Helen Frankenthaler based the structure of her 1958 painting, "Las Mayas" (Collection Norman and Irma Braman), on this painting.
José Manuel Pita Andrade. Goya: Work, Life, Dreams . . . Madrid, 1989, p. 166, considers it a replica by Goya, dated early 19th century, and calls it the most famous version.
Anne Distel. Impressionism: The First Collectors. New York, 1990, p. 239.
Alfonso E. Pérez Sánchez, ed. Museo del Prado: Inventario general de pinturas. Vol. 2, El Museo de la Trinidad (bienes desamortizados). Madrid, 1991, p. 123, no. 123, ill. (detail), describes this picture as "firmado Goya" [signed Goya] when it was included in an 1854 inventory of the Museo de la Trinidad.
Sarah Carr-Gomm. Manet. London, 1992, pp. 30, 94, ill. p. 30 (color).
Jeannine Baticle. Goya. Paris, 1992, p. 380, calls it a larger replica of the Rothschild picture; suggests that the Rothschild picture, "Maja and Celestina" (March collection), and "Les Vieilles" (Musée de Beaux-Arts, Lille) formed a group with social and moral connotations.
Louisine W. Havemeyer. Sixteen to Sixty: Memoirs of a Collector. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein. 3rd ed. [1st ed. 1930, repr. 1961]. New York, 1993, pp. 83, 132, 138, 144, 153, 155–58, 291–92, 319 n. 139, p. 323 n. 181, p. 324 nn. 196, 202, 206, p. 325 n. 215, p. 345 nn. 464, 469, quotes a 1906 letter from Cassatt relating that Roger Marx felt the relining of this picture "was not well done".
Susan Alyson Stein inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 229, 238–39, 243, 283.
Gary Tinterow inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, pp. 15–17, 52–53 n. 30, pl. 13, notes that the attribution of this picture was changed in 1990 after it was examined during the exhibition "Goya and the Spirit of Enlightenment"; suggests that Javier Goya had this picture made for sale to the Infante Sebastián and kept the original (Rothschild version) for future sale; compares the "overly meticulous execution of a copyist" in this picture to the masterful, broad strokes in the latter and observes that while the two young women in the Rothschild version lean together in order to exchange a confidence, in the MMA picture they do so "without purpose"; notes that Baticle, Eleanor Sayre, and Wilson-Bareau reject the attribution to Goya and that Hubert von Sonnenburg considers it autograph.
Alisa Luxenberg inSpain, Espagne, Spanien: Foreign Artists Discover Spain, 1800–1900. Ed. Suzanne L. Stratton. Exh. cat., Equitable Gallery. New York, 1993, p. 26.
Gretchen Wold inSplendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1993, p. 344, no. A296, ill., as "attributed to Goya" and dated between 1827–35.
Nigel Glendinning. "Spanish Inventory References to Paintings by Goya, 1800–1850: Originals, Copies and Valuations." Burlington Magazine 136 (February 1994), pp. 102–4, 109, fig. 35, translates entry no. 48 from the Infante Sebastián's 1835 inventory: "Another [picture] on the same support [canvas] seven Spanish feet high by four feet six inches wide. Two "Majas" with two "Majos," the former leaning on a balcony. It has a carved gold frame... [by] Goya"; observes that in comparison to the two undisputed balcony scenes by Goya, the composition of this picture is more formal and the disposition of its figures is artificial; further remarks that nothing is known of the history of this picture before its acquisition by the Infante, although its authenticity was not doubted during the 19th century during the lifetime of those who had known Goya well.
José Luis Morales y Marín. Goya: Catálogo de la pintura. Saragossa, 1994, pp. 101, 311–12, no. 416, ill. [English ed., 1997], dates it 1808–12 and attributes it to Goya; describes this picture as having greater plasticity and superior facture compared to the Rothschild version.
Janis Tomlinson. Francisco Goya y Lucientes, 1746–1828. London, 1994, p. 299, fig. 245 (color), calls it an intriguingly problematic painting because while the doubts over its attribution are valid, there are no satisfactory answers concerning its possible author.
Janis A. Tomlinson. "Goya in Context: Painting at the Court of Carlos IV." Goya, Neue Forschungen: Das internationale Symposium 1991 in Osnabrück. Ed. Jutta Held. Berlin, 1994, p. 54, states that "Petimeta and Petimetre," a fresco on the staircase of the Casa del Labrador, Aranjuez and attributed to Zarcarías González Velázquez, anticipates Goya's "Majas" and suggests that Goya's large figural paintings may have been used as interior decoration.
Susan Alyson Stein inGoya in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1995, pp. 8, 47, 54, 57, 65–66, 68, figs. 33, 38 (installation views), fig. 43 (color), calls it "attributed to Goya" and summarizes the debate over its authorship; notes the "sweet prettiness of the faces" which distinguishes this picture from the Rothschild version and observes that the MMA picture "has all the hallmarks of a copy".
Holland Cotter. "World of Goya and Those Who Would Be Goya." New York Times (September 15, 1995), p. C30, ill. (detail).
Nigel Glendinning. "Book Reviews." Apollo 141 (March 1995), p. 66, registers surprise that Morales [Ref. 1994] considers this painting authentic despite its recent declassification by the MMA, "with the assent of many experts".
Gary Tinterow. "The Metropolitan's 'Majas,' not by Goya." Goya in the Museum's Collection: Controversies and Insights. October 20, 1995, outlines stylistic and technical differences between the MMA and Rothschild paintings, calling ours a pastiche; believes the scene represents prostitutes soliciting patrons and finds the absence of communication between the two majas in our picture, in comparison with the knowing glances exchanged by the Rothschild majas, a sign that the picture is not autograph; calls the painting of the balcony rails first with the figures filled in second, apparent in the MMA painting, a means for the copyist to establish and transfer the composition, whereas in the Rothschild painting, he states, Goya painted the rails over the figures; suggests an attribution to Javier Goya, who owned the Rothschild work and thus had access to it for copying; notes that Javier sold it one year after the MMA picture appeared in the Infante Sebastián's collection.
Nigel Glendinning. "Goya at the Metropolitan." Apollo 142 (December 1995), p. 66, fig. 2, attributes certain weak elements in this picture, such as the faces of the men, to a poor relining and considers other features to be characteristic of Goya; agrees with von Sonnenburg that the picture should be hung slightly higher than usual because the figures look down upon the viewer, stating "one can still look up to these 'majas,' whoever painted them".
Eleanor Sayre. Letter. December 5, 1995, notes that the Rothschild picture and the "Maja and Celestina" (March collection) formed a pair, and that the "eye level of viewpoint" in the MMA's picture is inconsistent with both of these pictures.
Hubert von Sonnenburg. Goya in the Museum's Collection: Controversies and Insights. October 20, 1995, believes our painting is by Goya and notes that the lack of exchange between the two majas represented in it—compared with the knowing exchange of glances between the majas of the Rothschild variant—suggests that a different mood was intended; remarks that "little bamboo or cane knives," like the ones described by Goya's friends, were used in its execution; notes that x-rays of the Rothschild picture also show some of the balcony rails painted first, with the spaces between filled in second, and that this method does not detract from our picture.
Juliet Wilson-Bareau. Letter. August 1995, believes the principal copies after the Rothschild picture were made before its sale to Baron Taylor in 1836; mentions a reduced copy of it in the collection of Juan Ibarra (Las Arenas, Bilbao) and a full-size copy in an unknown collection (S.W. France?).
M. Elizabeth Boone. "Bullfights and Balconies: Flirtation and "Majismo" in Mary Cassatt's Spanish Paintings of 1872–73." American Art 9 (Spring 1995), pp. 57–61, 63, 70 n. 10, fig. 6, states that Goya's "Majas on a Balcony" was the most famous balcony painting of the late 19th century and that Cassatt brought one of the versions (ours), now considered an early copy, to the attention of the Havemayers; discusses this painting's influence upon Cassatt's picture "On the Balcony" (Philadelphia Museum of Art) and Manet's "The Balcony" (Musée d'Orsay).
Paul Jeromack. "Goya: Truth and Enlightenment." Art Newspaper no. 51 (September 1995), p. 12, ill., notes that after the 1993 Havemeyer exhibition, all five of the Goya paintings in the Havemeyer bequest were reconsidered and downgraded.
Paul Jeromack. "The 'Majas' Mystery." Art News 94 (December 1995), pp. 121–22, ill. (color), outlines the debate between Tinterow and von Sonnenburg over the authenticity of this picture [see Refs. Tinterow 1995 and Sonnenburg 1995]; notes that the latter believes our picture was painted after 1814 when new canvases were more readily available, that it has suffered from 19th century overcleaning and relining, and sees it as a free variation by Goya of his earlier [Rothschild] composition.
José Manuel Arnaiz. "Nuevas andanzas de Goya: Falsos y auténticos en el Metropolitan." Galería antiquaria no. 136 (February 1996), pp. 43–45.
Jeannine Baticle. "Goya au Metropolitan." Connaissance des arts no. 527 (April 1996), pp. 63–66, fig. 7 (color), states that the MMA picture was long assumed to be an authentic Goya because the Rothschild version was not widely known until after 1970; notes differences in style, facture, and type of support between ours and the Rothschild version, "Maja and Celestina" (March collection), and "Les Vieilles" (Musée des Beaux Arts, Lille), which may have formed a trilogy; suggests our picture was painted in the 1830s by a Spanish artist of the Romantic school
Juan J. Luna inGoya: 250 aniversario. Exh. cat.Madrid, 1996, p. 408, calls it a version of the Rothschild picture, sometimes attributed to Eugenio Lucas.
Juliet Wilson-Bareau. "Goya in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Burlington Magazine 138 (February 1996), pp. 95–100, fig. 40, rejects attribution of this painting to Goya and suggests it was made by the artist responsible for "Bullfight in a Divided Ring" (MMA 22.181); finds its composition "looser, [and] far less potent" than that of the Rothschild version and lacking the animation of Goya's drawings and prints of majas; notes that the Rothschild picture, "Maja and Celestina" (March collection), and "Les Vieilles" (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille) were painted on old canvases depicting the Four Elements following engravings by Adrian Collaert, a fact which "adds weight to the view that he conceived them as a coherent ensemble," whereas the MMA picture has no underlying image [see Ref. Baticle 1992].
Enrique Arias Anglés. Goya. Madrid, 1996, pp. 74, 134, ill. p. 135 (color), attributes it to Goya and dates it about 1808–14.
Francisco Calvo Serraller inEugenio Lucas Velázquez en la Habana. Exh. cat.Madrid, 1996, pp. 33, 58, ill. (color), attributes it to Eugenio Lucas Velázquez and states that many pictures which are currently assigned to Goya in museums outside of Spain are actually by Lucas Velázquez.
Janis A. Tomlinson. "Evolving Concepts: Spain, Painting, and Authentic Goyas in Nineteenth-Century France." Metropolitan Museum Journal 31 (1996), pp. 189–90, 196, fig. 1, comments on the use of a palette knife in its execution.
Juliet Wilson-Bareau. "Goya and the X Numbers: The 1812 Inventory and Early Acquisitions of "Goya" Pictures." Metropolitan Museum Journal 31 (1996), pp. 161–62, 168–69, fig. 4, states that the Infante Sebastián acquired dubious paintings through Javier Goya and believes that our "nonautograph version was made with Javier's knowledge if not his active participation"; in comparison with the Rothschild version, finds ours "so lacking in energy and aplomb that it is difficult to see it even as a work from the master's studio".
María Teresa Rodríguez Torres. "Economía de guerra en Goya. Cuadros pintados con cañas." Goya 250 años después, 1746–1996: Congreso internacional. Marbella, 1996, pp. 139–40, 144–46, figs. 4 (x-ray) and 7 (magnified cross-section), after examining the MMA paintings "Majas on a Balcony," "Bullfight in a Divided Ring," and "City on a Rock," concludes that all three are authentic Goyas; notes that the MMA work has suffered badly from overcleaning, states that the bars of the balcony were painted on top of the figures, and observes that this is one of several pictures that Goya made during the Spanish War of Independence when materials were scarce and he used knives, spatulas, and cane reeds instead of brushes; notes that in a photograph of this painting from the Moreno archives, the majas wear a shirt-like garment lightly covering their necklines and the face of the majo on the right is partially erased, indicating that the present face is largely a twentieth-century invention; proposes that the scene depicts a balcony overlooking a bullfight rather than prostitutes at their window.
José Manuel Arnaiz. "Nuevas andanzas de Goya: Majas en el Metropolitan." Galería antiquaria 14 (March 1996), pp. 76, 78–80, 82, 84–87, fig. 1 (color), attributes it to Goya and finds it more characteristic of the master in style and handling than the Rothschild picture, which he also accepts; erroneously states that our picture was in the first Salamanca sale of 1867, no. 166; challenges the traditional view that the women are prostitutes and proposes that the balcony is actually a theater box of a bullfighting ring [see Ref. Viardot 1843]; discusses a possible copy by Lameyer [see Ref. Lafuente Ferrari 1947] and reproduces a watercolor copy by Eugenio Lucas Velázquez [see Refs. Trapier 1940 and Glendinning 1976, Apollo].
Priscilla E. Muller. "Discerning Goya." Metropolitan Museum Journal 31 (1996), pp. 182, 186 n. 29, fig. 18, mentions Eugenio Lucas Velázquez's 1860s copy of this picture.
Hubert von Sonnenburg in "Sobre el cuadro Las Majas al balcón del Metropolitan Museum de Nueva York." Goya 250 Años después, 1746–1996: Congreso internacional. Marbella, 1996, pp. 151–55, fig. 1, following presentation of María Teresa Rodríguez Torres's technical analysis of this painting [see Ref. 1996], participants in a roundtable discussion—including Nigel Glendinning, Julián Gállego, José Rogelio Buendia and José Luis Morales y Marín—agree that it is an authentic work by Goya.
Linda Nochlin in Colin B. Bailey. Renoir's Portraits: Impressions of an Age. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. New Haven, 1997, p. 68.
Manuela Mena Marqués inGoya: Un regard libre. Exh. cat., Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille. Paris, 1998, p. 31, states that Javier and Mariano Goya introduced numerous, seemingly authentic copies into the growing art market for Goya paintings, such as this work, studied in depth and now rejected from Goya's oeuvre.
Eberhard Roters. Malerei des 19. Jahrhunderts: Themen und Motive. Cologne, 1998, vol. 1, pp. 339–40, ill.
Janis A. Tomlinson inGoya: Images of Women. Ed. Janis A. Tomlinson. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2002, pp. 246–49, no. 61, ill. (color), dates it 1814–19? and calls it "attributed to Goya"; suggests that Goya may have been inspired by "Two Women at a Window" by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (National Gallery of Art, Washington) for the "Majas" composition.
Juliet Wilson-Bareau. E-mails to Gary Tinterow. February 11, March 19, November 14, 2002, provides detailed provenance for this painting when it was owned by the Infante Sebastián; suggests that Javier Goya or an assistant, or the Infante himself, could have painted this work; appears to suggest that this painting was copied from the watercolor photographed by Laurent [see Refs. Laurent 1868 and Glendinning 2002].
Nigel Glendinning inGoya 1900: Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposición en el ministerio de instrucción pública y bellas artes. Madrid, 2002, vol. 1, pp. 16, 17 n. 4, 23–24, 26–27, 29 n. 49, 36, notes that Laurent [see Ref. Laurent 1868] considered the MMA painting so difficult to photograph that he photographed a watercolor copy instead, a common practice in the 19th century; observes that because the watercolor is cited as "copy," some scholars [see Ref. Stein] mistakenly interpreted this as casting doubt on the authenticity of the MMA picture itself; believes that Wilson-Bareau [see Refs. Wilson-Bareau 1996] exaggerates the case against the MMA painting, relying too much on a conspiracy theory about Javier Goya's involvement.
Jesusa Vega inGoya 1900: Catálogo ilustrado y estudio de la exposicion en el Ministerio de Instrucción Publica y Bellas Artes. Madrid, 2002, vol. 1, pp. 94, 100, 104, 106, 108, 110, 113; vol. 2, pp. 220–22, no. 112, ill., dates it about 1808–12; records its favorable critical reception during the 1900 Madrid exhibition and states that the Duke of Marchena was one of the first lenders to respond to the call for Goya works to be exhibited; remarks that one motive behind the exhibition was to encourage critical thinking about Goya in order to distinguish between authentic works and copies and finds it significant that ours was one of the most highly praised paintings; dismisses the present day argument against the MMA painting based on its differences with the Rothschild picture since the "Maja desnuda" and "Maja vestida" (both Prado) are also different but neither is questioned as authentic.
Juliet Wilson-Bareau in Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre. Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. New York, 2003, pp. 157, 418, no. 14, ill. [French ed., "Manet/Velázquez: La manière espagnole au XIXe siècle," Paris, 2002, pp. 338–40, no. 17, fig. 79 (color)], dates it about 1812–35, notes that its attribution to Goya is seriously doubted and describes it as derived from the Rothschild version; remarks that Javier Goya may have made adaptations of his father's genre paintings and that the circumstances of this picture's acquisition by the Infante Sebastián are unclear.
Gary Tinterow in Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre. Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. New York, 2003, pp. 38, 57, fig. 1.32 (color), dates it about 1812–35 and calls it a copy of the authentic Rothschild version.
H. Barbara Weinberg in Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre. Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. New York, 2003, pp. 282–83, comments that Cassatt may have seen this picture in Madrid while it was displayed at the Infante Sebastián's private gallery [see Ref. Havemeyer 1993].
Geneviève Lacambre in Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre. Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. New York, 2003, p. 86, mentions that Alexandre Prévost painted a copy of Goya's "Majas on a Balcony," but doesn't specify which version he copied.
Dominique Lobstein in Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre. Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. New York, 2003, pp. 333–34, notes that Prévost's copy of Goya's Majas was purchased for the Ministère de l'Intérieur by the French state in 1874.
Gary Tinterow. "Looking at Art: When Modern Meant Spanish." Art News 102 (March 2003), p. 82, ill. (color), attributes it to a follower of Goya, perhaps his son Javier; states that Manet most likely saw this version during his trip to Spain in 1865 and that Laurent's photographs of it were also circulating in Paris around this time.
Mercedes Águeda Villar. "El Infante Don Sebastián de Borbón. Educación artística y formación de una galería en el siglo XIX (1811–1835)." Reales sitios, 3er trimestre, (2003), pp. 56–58, ill. (color), illustrates it as "School of Goya"; notes that this picture is not listed among works offered to the Infante Sebastián by Javier Goya after Goya's death in 1828, and it is not in the 1828 inventory of the Infante's gallery, so it must have been acquired between 1829–35; observes that the Infante relied on a friend, José Luis Tordera, for advice in the purchase of works of doubtful authorship and although Tordera lacked knowledge of paintings, he would, in turn, consult José Madrazo, Valeriano Salvatierra and José Aparicio, all of whom were well versed in the works of Goya; mentions a May 1876 letter documenting Lameyer's request for permission to copy the Infante's Majas in his gallery at Pau
George Stolz. "Uproar over Goya." Art News 103 (March 2004), pp. 120–22, ill. (color), discusses the debate over this painting's attribution, particularly as argued by Wilson-Bareau [Refs. 1996, 2003] and Glendinning [Refs. 1995, 2002].
Ángel Rodríguez Rebollo. Las colecciones de pintura de los duques de Montpensier en Sevilla (1866–1892). Madrid, 2005, p. 51, fig. 8 (color).
Pierre Rosenberg. Only in America: One Hundred Paintings in American Museums Unmatched in European Collections. Milan, 2006, p. 18, fig. 23 (color).
Tamar Garb. The Painted Face: Portraits of Women in France 1814–1914. New Haven, 2007, pp. 82, 258 n. 58.
Juliet Wilson-Bareau inGoya en tiempos de guerra. Ed. Manuela B. Mena Marqués. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2008, pp. 49–50, fig. 16 (color).
María Teresa Rodríguez Torres. Un Retrato de Palafox en "La Familia de Carlos IV". [Madrid], , pp. 240–41 n. 211.
Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel and Flavie Durand-Ruel inPaul Durand-Ruel: le Pari de l'Impressionnisme. Ed. Sylvie Patry. Exh. cat., Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. Paris, 2014, p. 38 [not in English ed.].
The frame is from Madrid and dates to about 1810 (see Additional Images, figs. 1–4). This sophisticated water gilded carved frame is made of pine and retains its original surface. The crisply carved acanthus leaf and berry sight edge is within a smooth hollow which rises to a larger, more developed identical acanthus leaf carving at the top edge. The corner miters are overlaid by a draped acanthus leaf made of composition material but bearing the same gilded surface as the other leaves. The straight sides are gilded but hollowed at the back edge, maintaining a visual elegance. This frame, strongly influenced by the French Louis XVI style, may be original to the painting.
[Timothy Newbery with Cynthia Moyer 2016; further information on this frame can be found in the Department of European Paintings files]
This picture appears to be a variant of Goya's Majas composition, now in a private collection, Switzerland (Baron Edmond de Rothschild; 162 x 108 cm), and generally accepted as his original. The Rothschild picture was sold by the artist's son, Javier, to Baron Taylor in 1836 for King Louis Philippe's Galerie Espagnole in the Louvre.
Our picture was long considered one of the "two paintings of young women on a balcony" listed as entry no. 24 in the inventory of paintings made over to Goya's son Javier in 1812 following the death of Goya's wife, Josefa Bayeu (first published in Sánchez Cantón 1946). It is now clear, however, that this entry refers instead to the Rothschild picture and the Maja and Celestina (March collection, Madrid). Both the March and Rothschild pictures bear the inventory mark "X.24" which Salas proposed was added by Javier to pictures belonging to him. The X would refer to his initial, as he then spelled his name "Xavier"; this mark was subsequently removed from a number of paintings.
Our picture was first cited in 1835 in the collection of Infante Sebastián (see Provenance), and was perhaps commissioned by him as a variant of the Rothschild picture. Attribution to Goya was consistently accepted until the 1989 exhibition "Goya and the Spirit of the Enlightenment," when it was compared unfavorably with the Rothschild example and identified by some authorities as a later copy or even a falsification. Since then opinion has been divided between the picture's supporters and its detractors. It must be remembered that the Rothschild picture is in excellent condition, while the MMA variant has suffered severely from overcleaning.
A contemporary copy, attributed to Leonardo Alenza by Yriarte (1867; ill. p. 108 in Mayor 1946), was formerly in the de la Huerta, Salamanca, and Groult collections, and is today in the Pezzoli collection, Paris. A copy by Francisco Lameyer is documented, although not illustrated (see Tinterow 1995 and Arnaiz, March 1996; a photograph is in Departmental files). J. Laurent photographed an anonymous watercolor copy of our painting, which is sometimes illustrated in its place (see Laurent 1868, Reinach 1907, Adhémar 1941, Delevoy 1954, Glendinning 2002). Eugenio Lucas Velázquez executed at least two copies of our picture, one in watercolor (see Arnaiz, March 1996, fig. 6). Engravings after our painting by Severini, Leopold Flameng, and Timothy Cole are illustrated in Puiggari 1872, Lefort 1876, and Cole 1907.
A 3 1/2 in. wide strip of linen was stitched onto the left side of the MMA canvas.