April 2023 Catalogue

Goya’s Masterpiece Desastres De La Guerra: Extraordinary 1863 First Edition, Second Issue, One Of Only 500 Copies, Complete With 80 Original Etchings 15. GOYA Y LUCIENTES, Francisco José de. Los Desastres de la Guerra: Colección de ochenta láminas inventadas y grabadas al agua fuerte por Don Francisco Goya. Madrid, 1863. Total of 80 numbered and titled copperplate etchings done with drypoint, burin, aquatint and lavis, on wove paper with watermark J.G.O. and palmette. Oblong folio, contemporary three-quarter straight-grain plum morocco gilt. $175,000. First edition, second issue, of “the most brutally savage protest against cruelty and war which the visual imagination of man has conceived”—one of only 500 copies in the first printing. Fine, early impressions, with tonal variations in the lavis that disappear in later editions. Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1807 and 1808 brought about the abdication of the Bourbon rulers and sparked violent protests against the French. During the war years, Goya vented his horror and outrage at the atrocities committed by soldiers and compatriots alike: “In 80 small, compact images, each etched with acid on copper, Goya told the appalling truth. He aimed a high-power beam on hideous sights: guerillas shot at close range; the ragged remains of mutilated corpses; and the emaciated victims of war’s partner famine. Never before had a story of man’s inhumanity to man been so compellingly told, every episode reported with the utmost compassion, the human form described with such keen honesty and pitying respect” (Goya in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 25-26). “Nothing in art reflects with more terrible emphasis the horrors of war than Goya’s Desastres de la Guerra… In the unflinching courage with which he probes right to the heart of social rottenness he proves himself the true satirist who battles with abuses” (Hind, 255-56). This is a second-issue copy of the first printing, with corrections to the captions of plates 9, 32-36, 39 and 47. Harris Ib. Owner signature on front flyleaf (blank, laid in loose). Light rubbing to sound and attractive contemporary morocco-gilt binding, plates fine. An excellent copy of this rarity, with clean, sharp impressions.