Goya’s themes of war, insurgency, superstition, political revolution, and personal violence have remained perennial human concerns that have found resonance time and time again. His “Black Paintings” (ca. 1819–23), produced at the Quinta del Sordo, are a benchmark of existential dread. “To me, he is one of the defining figures of the 19th century,” said the late critic Robert Hughes in his 2002 BBC film Goya: Crazy Like a Genius. “He looks forward into the 20th century and tells us what we have in common with our past and with our ancestors. There are others who do this; Beethoven and Dickens. But in the visual arts Goya reigns supreme.”
According to Artnet’s “Intelligence Report Spring 2020,”a number of factors make more conservative purchases like Goya prints appealing in today’s market. For one, there’s the overall strength of the market’s middle and lower sectors. In addition, there has been a simultaneous increase in sales volume and a decrease in sales value at auction for the first time since 2014, reversing years of consolidation of value at the top. This means that higher volume, lower price-point works like Goya’s prints might have a greater chance of success in an auction market.Goldsmith owes this trend to a greater number of private sales for high-value works that fall outside publicly available data sets composed of gallery and auction transactions.