Attributed to José Campeche y Jordán (1751 – 1809)

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 Puerto Rican artist whose father was a formerly enslaved person who purchased his freedom, Campeche is now acclaimed as one of the finest painters working in the Americas 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)


Art Detective

Who painted this portrait, once thought to be by Goya? Could the sitter have belonged to a well-known Mexican family?

Read the discussion over on Art UK.

Related Posts