The Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas, is dedicated to the understanding of art and advancement of knowledge through the collection and interpretation of important historical art. Located on the Southern Methodist University campus, this premier art establishment attracts visitors from all over the world.
Nicknamed the Prado of the Prairie, the Meadows Museum houses one of the world’s most important collections of Spanish Art. Founded by Algur H. Meadows, a Texan philanthropist who regularly visited Spain, the Meadows Museum opened in 1965 with the aim of sharing Meadows’ passion for Spanish art with his fellow Texans.
The Meadows Museum houses important sculptures and paintings from some of the world’s most celebrated Spanish artists, such as Pablo Picasso, in addition to historical documents, like the first map of the Americas drawn by Christopher Columbus.
Here we take a look at some of the Meadows Museum’s most important works of Spanish art.
1. Portrait of King Charles II by Juan Carreño de Miranda
Dating back to 1675, this oil on canvas depicts the last Spanish king of the Hapsburg Dynasty.
Carlos II, the son of Felipe IV and Mariana of Austria who ruled Spain from 1661 to 1700, appears as a young man dressed in black, standing in the Hall of Mirrors in the Royal Alcázar of Madrid. Art experts consider the piece to be one of the most sophisticated court portraits of its time.
Born in Spain in 1614, Juan Carreño de Miranda is one of the country’s most celebrated Baroque artists.
2. Corral de Locos (Yard with Madmen) by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
Goya produced this oil on tin-plated iron masterpiece in Bordeaux, France, in 1794. A dark piece, Corral de Locos is a bleak portrait of mental illness, reflecting on people of the community who were prone to marginalization and were institutionalized and effectively swept under the carpet in Goya’s day.
Many art aficionados consider Goya to be one of Spain’s most important romantic painters, with his career serving as an invaluable commentary and chronicle of the era and earning him a distinction as one of the last Old Masters.
Born in 1746 to a family of modest means in Aragon, Spain, Goya rose to the rank of court painter to the Spanish Crown, painting royalty and aristocracy. A mysterious illness left Goya deaf in 1793, marking a demonstrable change in his artistic style, which became progressively darker.
Goya’s work began to reflect his increasing disillusionment with the upper echelons and high society of Spain, though he continued to climb in ranks as a court painter. In 1799 he reached the highest rank a court painter could reach: primer pintor de cámara.
In his later years, Goya’s focus shifted from pensive portraits to the gritty struggles of the working classes as his own health started to fail. Goya eventually retired to Bordeaux, the French city where he painted Corral de Locos. Left paralyzed on his right side from a stroke and suffering failing eyesight, Goya died in 1828 in his Bordeaux residence at age 82.
3. Modern Muse (Meditation with Arms | Eve in Despair) by Auguste Rodin
The Dallas Meadows Museum features an impressive sculpture collection, with this Rodin masterpiece, in particular, standing out.
Auguste Rodin’s story recounts the archetypical struggle of the starving artist. Born into poverty in Paris’ 5th arrondissement, Rodin was repeatedly rejected by official art academies despite showing early promise. He worked as an ornamental artist before success and scandal catapulted him to international acclaim. By the time of his death in 1917, Rodin was likened to Michelangelo, earning an enviable reputation as the father of modern sculpture. Rodin remains revered by artists the world over to this day.
Rodin carved Modern Muse from marble between 1908 and 1910. It has passed through numerous private collections over the years—from Paris, to Rhode Island, to New York—before arriving at the Meadows Museum in 1969.
4. L’homme poisson (The Fish Man) by Salvador Dalí
The Meadows Museum acquired this important work of early surrealist art in 2016, making it the first painting by Dalí to enter a Texas museum.
Famed for his flamboyance and eccentricity, Dalí is one of the most revered artists of all time, producing a vast portfolio of works throughout his long, prolific career.
Born in Figueras near Barcelona in 1904, Dalí showed talent from an early age, producing two accomplished paintings by the age of 10.
L’homme poisson, an oil on canvas produced in 1930 by the eminent 20th-century artist, is a striking example of Dalí’s most creative and prolific period. He inscribed the work with “pour l’olivette,” dedicating it to his wife and muse, Gala.