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Lo Que Puede Un Sastre, 1799
Now almost deaf, Goya’s work showed greater elements of fantasy and satirical observation. Completed in 1799, the Caprichos etchings analysed humanity’s flaws and provided the stylistic basis for his greatest and darkest work, The Disasters of War, composed during the Peninsular War. Goya later returned to Spain, but soon went into voluntary exile in Bordeaux, working until his death there in 1828.
Not only is this a first edition, but one of the earliest. After the first 25 or so pulls were taken, a scratch appeared on plate 45, which is to be seen on all subsequent editions. This print is from one of these rare sets, before scratch.
The suite was published in 1799 and Goya is thought to have sold only 27 copies before withdrawing it from circulation due to the Inquisition. Most of the remaining copies of the edition were alter purchased by King Charles IV of Spain. The work was an enlightened, tour-de-force critique of 18th century Spain, and humanity in general. The informal style as well as the depiction of contemporary society found in the Caprichos, makes them and Goya himself, a precursor to the modernist movement almost a century later.
The subtlety of tone and lush quality of the aquatint printing in this etching is unrivalled and will be exactly as Goya had intended. It is also highly likely that Goya would have handled this very print.
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