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Adolfo del Águila y Acosta
'Spanish Beauty at a Garden Window' by Adolfo del Águila y Acosta, orientalism




'Spanish Beauty at a Garden Window' is an exquisite example of orientalist painting by the Spanish artist Adolfo del Águila y Acosta. The artist produced several examples of Spanish 'Beauties' in painting, especially after 1900, often featuring women wearing elaborate lace mantillas. This example, however, from an earlier period in his career, is certainly his magnum opus in how it combines the subject of a Beauty with an elaborate floral and architectural still life: In the painting, Adolfo presents a vision of a Moorish woman leaning over a wood screen. Wearing a headdress adorned with gold pendants, a gold bracelet, and a gossamer veil, her gaze is transfixed upon the viewer. Above, purple morning glories reach across the arch of the window, the horseshoe form and elaborate carving of which typify Mudéjar style in Islamic architecture. Below, an elaborately decorated cobalt ceramic ewer rests within a burst of chrysanthemums, roses and cockscomb. Orientalist paintings like this one are part of the Romantic spirit of the nineteenth century, casting a gaze on the past and of cultures exotic to the European eye. Painters often turned to the Islamic world, and especially the harem, as their subject. The harem was a space in Muslim households reserved for women and were spaces where European men were generally not allowed to enter. Because of this lack of access, male artists relied on hearsay and imagination to construct genre scenes of these spaces: they imagined the spaces with opulent decoration and filled beautiful women, slaves or concubines in oriental dress and often with European features. In addition to the implicit eroticism of these scenes, they also evoked a sense of cultivated beauty and pampered isolation to which many Westerners aspired. Oil on canvas 48.5 x 24.75 inches, canvas 57 x 33.25 inches, frame Signed "A del Aguila Acosta Cadiz 1893" bottom center Plaque with artist's name, lower center of frame Overall good and stable condition consistent with age; light yellowing to varnish; missing one canvas key; areas of loss to gilded surface of frame. Adolfo del Águila y Acosta (Spanish, 1858 – 1910) was from a family of Spanish painters active in the cities of Jerez and Cádiz. His father Adolfo del Águila y Pimentel (1830 – 1895) was was well decorated himself for his still lifes, portraits, and genre paintings, as was his brother Luis (1860 – 1920). Adolfo is best known for his images of Spanish beauties in traditional dress, a subject he was productive with especially after 1900. Like his father and brother, he also produced a number of genre scenes. These took romanticized visions of Spain’s past and present as their subjects, looking, for example, to middle and lower class celebrations in the countryside. Other times, he might produce Rococo revival images of the grandeur of eighteenth-century aristocratic pastimes. Along with his father, Adolfo exhibited in several exhibitions, including the 1880 Cádiz Exhibition. In 1886, he was teaching drawing and painting in the Calle Guadalete in Jerez de la Frontera. By 1909 he was a professor at the Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales y Bellas artes de Cádiz and in 1911 he is recorded teaching at Calle San José. He was married to Elena Mendoza y Carisomo who died in 1905, and Adolfo died soon after. His son José Aguila y Mendoza emigrated to Argentina in 1912 following his father’s death.


  • Creator
    Adolfo del Águila y Acosta
  • Creation Year
  • Dimensions
    Height: 57 in. (144.78 cm)Width: 33.25 in. (84.46 cm)
  • Medium
  • Movement & Style
  • Period
  • Condition
    Overall good and stable condition consistent with age; light yellowing to varnish; missing one canvas key; areas of loss to gilded surface of frame.
  • Gallery Location
    Milwaukee, WI
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 12595c1stDibs: LU60536768942

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    Ships From: Milwaukee, WI
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    A return for this item may be initiated within 14 days of delivery.

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