Goya/Chagoya features eight sets of prints—one by Spanish artist Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746–1828) paired with its counterpart by American artist Enrique Chagoya (born Mexico City, 1953).
At first glance, Chagoya’s prints appear to be copies of Goya’s work. A closer look reveals important differences. Chagoya’s work is both an homage to Goya’s art and an updating of it. Their messages are timeless.
Goya was court painter to the Spanish Crown and a keen observer and chronicler of his world. In 1799, he published a series of 80 prints that presented witty but bitter critiques of Spanish society. His Caprichos (follies or foibles) satirized greed, ignorance, flattery, evil, deceit, abuse of power and other human vices.
Two hundred years later, in 1999, Chagoya issued a series of prints entitled Return to Goya, which similarly lampooned contemporary vices and mannerisms. The Stanford University art professor wrote:
“The concept of this work is based on the question: How would Goya have portrayed events in the 20th century if he had witnessed it, if he had traveled in time? My etchings are my own version of the answer, without the pretension to compete with the old master.”