An important and critical re-evaluation of the Galerie Espagnole, this book presents new interpretations of the special collection of Spanish (or purportedly Spanish) paintings formed under Louis-Philippe and exhibited in the Louvre from 1838 through 1848. Alisa Luxenberg undertakes a new examination of the Parisian collection in relation to its lesser-known Spanish homologue, the Museo Nacional in Madrid, a collection of mostly old master Spanish paintings and sculptures that was formed at the very same time. Revealing the political agendas behind each museum, and the different manners in which their goals were pursued, Luxenberg analyzes the critical and visual reception of the collections as well as their intersection with contemporary debates about aesthetics and patrimony, the role of the art museum, and national and international politics.
’..With its impressive archival research and uncluttered writing style, this book makes a significant contribution to scholarship in French and Spanish art history and museum studies. Highly recommended…’ Choice
’The most important aspect to this valuable corrective study is that for the first time, we learn about what the Spanish thought about it all. In a finely nuanced account, Luxenberg reveals how many in the Spanish artistic establishment were either ambivalent, or indeed multivalent towards the French. There are fascinating accounts of the equivocal roles played by Carderera, Madrazo and Villaamil, all of whom would become pillars of Isabelline Madrid.’ Journal of the History of Collections
Contents: The two museums from a trans-Pyrenean perspective; The Galerie Espagnole: content and critical reception in France; The protagonists and their priorities; Conception: precedents and provocations; Creation: the mission; Responses in Spain to Taylor's mission and the Galerie Espagnole; The Spanish galleries: the Museo Nacional and Museos Provinciales; Rethinking the visual legacy of the Galerie Espagnole; Closing thoughts; Bibliography; Index.