Francisco de Zurbarán - A Doctor of Law, about 1635

Francisco de Zurbarán (Fuente de Cantos, 1598 - 1664, Madrid)

A Doctor of Law, about 1635

Oil on canvas, 195.5 x 104.5 cm (76 15/16 x 41 1/8 in.)

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Object details

Accession number

P21s28

Provenance

Marquis of Legañes, Madrid before 1700.
Collection of the José de Salamanca y Mayol, 1st Marquis of Salamanca (1811–1883), Paris before 1867.
Collection Ivan Stchoukine, Paris.
Purchased by Ehrich Galleries, New York from the sale of the Stchoukine collection at Hotel Drouot, Paris 19 June 1908, no. 7.
Purchased by Isabella Stewart Gardner from Ehrich Galleries, New York, 15 February 1910 for $20,000.

Dimension Notes

Frame: 205.6 x 140 cm (80 15/16 x 55 1/8 in.) approx.

Bibliography

M. Charles Pillet. Catalogue des Tableaux Anciens des Écoles Espagnole, Italienne, Flamande & Hollandaise compsant la galerie de M. Le Mis de Salamanca (Paris, 3-6 June 1867), p. 157, lot 207. (as attributed to Velasquez)
August L. Mayer. "Zurbaran in America." Arts and Decoration 6, no. 5 (March 1916), pp. 219-22, ill.
Philip Hendy. Catalogue of Exhibited Paintings and Drawings (Boston, 1931), pp. 428-29.
Gilbert Wendel Longstreet and Morris Carter. General Catalogue (Boston, 1935), p. 183.
Stuart Preston."A Doctor of Law" in Alfred M. Frankfurter (ed.). The Gardner Collection (New York, 1946), p. 39.
Martin S. Soria. Francisco de Zurbarán (1953), p. 186, no. 214. (dated as 1658-1660)
Ronald Hilton. Handbook of Hispanic Source Materials and Research Organizations in the United States (Stanford, California, 1956), p. 195.
“Notes, Records, Comments.” Gardner Museum Calendar of Events 7, no. 8 (20 Oct. 1963), p. 2.
José López-Rey. "Zurbarán Retratista: De lo pintado a lo vivo, de lo vivo a lo pintado." Instituto Diego Velázquez (1971), pp. 313-326, ill.
Jonathan Brown. Francisco de Zubaran (New York, 1973), p. 148, pl. 45. (dated as about 1658-1660)
Philip Hendy. European and American Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1974), pp. 301-2. (as Zurbarán and workshop, dated about 1658-1660)
Eric Young. "Notes on Spanish Paintings in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum." Fenway Court (1979), pp. 24-35, nos. 15-16. (dated as about 1635-1640)
Rollin van N. Hadley. Museums Discovered: The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (Boston, 1981), pp. 92-93, ill. (dated as about 1630-1639)
Rollin van N. Hadley (ed.). The Letters of Bernard Berenson and Isabella Stewart Gardner 1887-1924 (Boston, 1987), pp. 436-37, 457, 623
Ana Maria Escallon (ed.). Presencia de Zurbarán (Bogotá, 1988), p. 69. (dated about 1658)
Maria Luisa Caturla. Francisco de Zurbarán (Paris, 1994), pp. 211-13, ill. (as possibly a portrait of Juan de la Lanza, Chair of the Law Faculty, University of Siguenza, dated 1650-1653)
Richard L. Kagan. The Spanish Craze: America's Fascination with the Hispanic World, 1779-1939 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019), pp. 263-264, ill. pl. 4.
Aurelio Á. Barrón García and Miguel Ángel Aramburu-Zabala Higuera. Retratos del Palacio de Soñanes en Villacarriedo: Obras de Domingo de Carrión, colaborador de Diego Velázquez. Exh. cat. (Santillana del Mar: Casas del Águila y la Parra, 2019), pp. 97-100, ill. p. 98. (as Domingo de Carrión and workshop of Velázquez)


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Commentary

Following a spectacular debut in Madrid, Zurbarán returned to Seville and dominated the market for religious paintings. His portraits are extremely rare. The full-length format of this one conveys the lofty status of its subject, possibly Juan de la Lanza on the occasion of his appointment as Chair of the Law Faculty at the University of Sigüenza.

Seventeenth-century Spanish art captivated American collectors and artists, and Gardner went to great lengths to acquire this portrait. After seeing it at the Ehrich Galleries in New York, she “made an offer, just out of pure love!” As part of her negotiation, Gardner invited Louis Ehrich for a private tour of Fenway Court. Enchanted, Ehrich confessed in a follow up letter to remaining “under the spell of your enchanted palace... as to the ‘Zurburan’... Other parties - as I informed you – are interested, but I would prefer it to go to you.” Archer Huntington, founder of the Hispanic Society of America, was among the rival collectors who lamented their loss of this painting.

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