ALBERTO GIRONELLA (Mexican, 1929-1999)
    Metamorfosis Par Una Reina (triptych), 1959
    Oil on canvas
    35-1/2 x 24 inches (90.2 x 61.0 cm) each
    Signed and inscribed lower left: "De Goya Gironella"
    Each of three canvases numbered respectively: I, II, III

    Washington, D.C., Pan American Union, "Alberto Gironella of Mexico," March 18 - April 13, 1959, nos. 9 and 10 (Metamorphosis of the Queen, nos. 1 and 2, labels verso); n.b. Number 3 in the triptych is not listed in the exhibition brochure, a copy of which is preserved in the artist's clipping file at the Ingalls Library, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio.

    As the artist acknowledged in his inscription, this triptych showing the metamorphosis--grotesque physical decay--of Queen Maria Luisa of Spain is based upon her likeness in Francesco Goya's 1800-1 famous Portrait of the Family of Charles IV of Spain in the Prado, Madrid. In a manner that can be regarded as a visual equivalent of Oscar Wilde's literary work The Picture of Dorian Gray, the Queen's malevolence, coarseness, and viciousness of spirit manifested itself ultimately in her outward appearance over time. Indeed, one aspect of the Mexican painter Gironella's artistic production was devoted to highly expressionistic, scathingly satirical portraits of Spanish monarchs based upon iconic paintings by Velazquez and Goya. In their powerful anticolonial sentiments, these works by Gironella are direct descendants of the work of the great Mexican muralists of the previous generation.

    Gironella chose the Metamorphosis of the Queen to represent him in his first exhibition held in the United States, although he apparently did not exhibit the most challenging part of the triptych--the third panel--in which the Queen had entirely transformed into a monster. Indeed, the details of her life paint an unflattering portrait.

    Maria Louisa of Parma (December 9, 1751-January 2, 1819) was queen of Spain and consort of King Charles IV of Spain. She was the daughter of Philip of Bourbon, Duke of Parma (March 15, 1719 or 1720) and his wife Princess Louise-√Člisabeth of France. She was described by contemporaries often as a mean and debased woman who thoroughly dominated the king. Reportedly Manuel de Godoy, her husband's prime minister, was her long-time lover. She was taken to France as prisoner, and her husband abdicated the throne of Spain in 1808, due to pressure from Napoleon. Maria Luisa, Godoy and the abdicated king spent remainder of their lives outside Spain. She and her husband both died in 1819. Reportedly, several of her 14 children were not sired by her husband, who was her paternal first cousin. Infante Don Francisco's (the Duke of Cadiz) features are reported to have resembled very closely those of Godoy.

    The painter Alberto Gironella was born in Mexico City and was largely self-taught. One of his major artistic influences was the Spaniard Jose Gutierrez Solana.

    Estimate: $15,000 - $25,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Very good condition, original unlined canvas

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2009
    10th-11th Wednesday-Thursday
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