Collecting Goya’s Los Caprichos Etchings Today’s Collector


  Collecting  Goya’s Los Caprichos Etchings Todays CollectorImage

Los Caprichos  was created by Francisco Goya  in 1797 and 1798, and published  album in 1799. The prints were an artistic experiment: a medium for Goya’s condemnation of the universal follies and foolishness in the Spanish society in which he lived. The criticisms are far-ranging and acidic; he speaks against the predominance of supersuperstitionhe ignorance and inabilities of the various members of the ruling class, pedagogical short-comings, marital mistakes and the decline of  reasoning  .. Goya described the series as depicting “the innumerable foibles and follies to be found in any civilized society, and from the common prejudices and deceitful practices which custom, ignorance or self-interest have made usual”

Goya added brief explanations of each image to a manuscript, now in the Prado Museum . These help greatly to explain his often cryptic intentions, as do the titles printed below each image.

 First printed in 1799, Los Caprichos was the first work Goya produced for sale as a single set. In 1803 Goya relinquished the plates to Charles IV, in return for a pension for his son. The plates remain with the Calligraphycio National l and have been used for later editions over the past 200  years.
 The Holy Book ( definitive Catalog of Goya’s Etched Works )  By Harris List both this and all other documented works .

 First Published Edition of  1799 (edition of approximately 300 sets)
Made for Goya and first offered for sale in 1799.  Of in  aqua tone,  soft but strong, laid paper. The sheets measure 320 X 220 mm. Note: for some reason, some auction records give sheet sizes as large as 358 x 260 mm for prints purporting to be from this edition.
 Yes these are the finest Edition and will cost you in the  several of thousands of dollars …here goes you trip abroad or the Children Education ….

  The second edition appeared  1855 , Printed-published by Calcografia Nacional for the Real Academia, Madrid; These sheets measure 320 x 215 mm.  There are executed  in Sepia or dark umber ink. The edition appears to have been very small. These are fine as the first in most cases .This edition is well printed and the plates still show relatively little wear. Without its covers this set is hard to distinguish from the third.

  AS the plates start to show wear to the Burr , the Third  Edition of 1868  Pulled-printed-published again by Calcografia Nacional for the Real Academia. These are on wove paper similar to the 2nd edition. The sheets measure 310 x 230 mm. Note: auction records give sheet sizes as large as 315 x 227 mm and 320 x 235 mm for prints purporting to be from this edition.

Harris states: “This edition is well printed and the impressions are still generally good.”

 Now here the quality becomes visually  less strong impressions in the Fourth  Edition in 1878 . Published again by  the Calcografia Nacional for the Real Academia. Using the  same paper, ink and cover as used for the third edition .The edition was limited to 65.

 Collectors , students keep in mind  , After this edition, the plates do not appear to show any further deterioration and it is therefore likely that they were steel-faced when they were beveled before making this edition.

Now here are where many of good and desirable impressions for the collector of lesser  means can still find quality images .

  The fifth Edition were printed from the plates between 1881 and 1886  Again published by Calcografia Nacional for the Real Academia using the thick, absorbent, wove paper.
The sheets measure: 365 x260 mm., in grey cover; 330 x240 mm., in cream cover;
425 X 300 mm., Plus a  Deluxe Edition published in Sepia or very rich sepia and black inks.  According to the Harris catalog limited to 210 sets.This edition varies in quality. A few sets are very well printed in sepia ink; they are clean-wiped, and there is no attempt to conceal the wear of the plates by trick printing. The normal issue in rich sepia or black inks is poor, and a deluxe edition is badly printed in black ink. There is a marked contrast between the very worn plates and those that are still well preserved.

  Even more editions ,the sixth   Edition published starting 1890 and ending 1900 a gain from the press at Calcografia Nacional for the Real Academia published a Edition of 230 using a wove paper. Using a dark umber ink
The sheets measure: 340 x 240 mm., ordinary edition;
395 x 270 mm., deluxe edition.

  Amazing a Seventh  Edition  starting in 1903  and concluding in 1905  another repeated performance of Calcografia Nacional for the Real Academia on a Yellowish laid paper. Blue ink.

  Further more a eight edition 1905 – 1907 Made in the Calcografia Nacional for the Real Academia between 1905 and 1907. this time on a very fine, thin, smooth, wove paper. The sheets measure 355 X 255 mm using a Sepia and black inks. The edition was limited to 180.

  During the years 1908 – 1912 a nineth edition appeared using a thick, very stiff, absorbent, wove paper on sheets measure 345 x 240 mm.
Dark umber ink. Yes a tenth edition 1918 – 1928 using a heavy laid paper with the watermark “Jose Guarro” and a portrait of Goya wearing a cap. The sheets measure 365 x 260 mm.
170 sets were made. This edition is well printed and is the best after the 4th.

  Why stop a good Thing , a eleventh  Edition  of 1929 also issued-published  by the Calcografia of the Escuela Nacional de Artes Grafica for the Seville Exhibition.
Two types of paper; some paper left over from the previous edition of 1918-28, and laid paper with the watermark Guarro on sheets with Guarro watermark measure 340 x 255 mm. in Sepia ink. The edition was limited to 100.
 Harris note ,This edition is well printed and is similar to the tenth.

 Followed in  Edition 1937 for the twelfth editionPublished by  Ruperez in the Calcografia for the Ministerio de Instruccion Publica in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War. Three different types of paper: Old Japan, Imperial Japan, and laid paper with the watermark Arches. The sheets measure 380 x 285 mm. Inks varying from rich sepia to dark umber.
These Five sets numbered 1-5, on Old Japan paper, were issued in a fine parchment portfolio: three were dedicated in print to Stalin, Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt and the Republican President, Azaiia, and two sets are unaccounted for. Fifteen sets numbered 6-20, on Imperial Japan paper, were to be issued in a parchment portfolio.

The sets on Arches paper were limited to 130, to be numbered 21-150 and issued in a pasteboard portfolio, but few were actually printed.

 You will find some sets have an embossed stamp in the lower right margins: the initials “CN” surmounted by a crest, are surrounded by a border which reads”Calcografia Nacional. Ministerio de Instruccion Publica’.
This edition according to Harris  is very well printed and is equal to the tenth. The impressions are richly inked and clean-wiped.

In a Nut Shell so to speak Harris  assessment of the relative merits of the later  editions: Impressions of all the eighty plates are only perfect in the early impressions of the first edition (1799). The second, third and fourth editions are still quite good…The fifth and sixth editions are inferior to the tenth and twelfth. The twelfth edition is the finest after the fourth. Plates 1, 11, 32, 43, 58 wear particularly badly. You may wish to avoid ….while the Plates 5,13,16, 54, 64 wear particularly well. 

 This is a great , mystery for many Goya collectors as to which impression may or may not be from that so called stated edition . Sheet sizes will vary due to the fact of some sheets had become trimmed  and others factors . Yes this could be a great Mystery Novel.

Due to the 12 editions of this work , and number in each suite of Works times the listed number of editions there are much to choose from .

Do you home work , study the Harris Catalog like a Bible , speak to experienced dealers , visit the collection and with “good old fashion Work ” There are some great works to bee seen and collected by collectors on any budgets.

                                            Please visit us for a vast of Goya’s Works at;

 James Stow & Anthony Yau

Candlewood Yankee Fine Arts




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