Portrait of a Lady
San Juan, Puerto Rico, about 1800-05
Oil on canvas
105 x 85 cm
Acquired in 1940 as a portrait by the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya of his mother, this attribution has long been dismissed – along with the authenticity of two accompanying letters, also supposedly by Goya, that mention the painting. Recently, several specialists have suggested it is by José Campeche. A Puertorican artist whose father was a freed Black slave, Campeche is now acclaimed as the finest painter working in central America in the 18th century. The identity of the sitter remains unknown, but her brooch represents the Virgin of Solitude: she may have been a member of a specific lay religious society in Puerto Rico.
Purchased 1940 (No. 40.5)