13 (Breeskin 23)
Toreador
Alternate title(s): After the Bullfight; Matador; Spanish Matador; Toréador; Toreador Smoking; Torero
1873
Oil on canvas
32 1/8 x 25 3/16 in. (81.6 x 63.98 cm)
Inscribed lower left: M.S C./Seville/1873.
Art Institute of Chicago: Bequest of Mrs. Sterling Morton

provenance / ownership history
John Ruderman
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Padawar, New York
Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, by 1959
Sophia P. (Mrs. Sterling) Morton, Chicago, 1959
to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1969, by bequest

exhibition history
1970 National Gallery DC: #2, ill., as Toreador, lent by the Art Institute of Chicago
1980 Toulouse-Lautrec: #42, ill., as Torero
1998--99 Chicago AIC: #6, ill., as After the Bullfight, lent by the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Boston)

published references
Hirschl & Adler 1959: p. 8, ill., as Torero
Sweet 1966: color pl. 1, ill.; pp. 26--27, as Toreador
Sweet 1967: p. 32, ill.; pp. 35, 49n1, as Toreador
Bullard 1973: p. 41; p. 42, ill., as Toreador
Hale, N. 1975: pp. 52, 53, as Toréador; p. 94, as Matador
Henkes 1977: p. 3, as Toreador
Yaegashi and Kashiwa 1978: p. 85, ill.
Love 1980: p. 11, as Toreador
Pollock 1980: pp. 11, 76, 111, as Toreador
Lindsay 1985: p. 37, as Toreador
Mathews 1987: p. 16; p. 17, ill.; p. 25, as Toreador
Conrads 1990: p. 28, ill., as Toreador
Effeny 1991: p. 44, as Toreador
Boone 1995: p. 58, ill., as Toreador
Constantino 1995: p. 17, ill.
Gruitrooy 1996: p. 13, ill., as Toreador
Pollock 1998: pp. 10, 105; p. 106, ill., as Toreador Smoking
Webster 2004: p. 34n21, as After the Bullfight
Boone 2007: p. 103; p. 104, ill., as After the Bullfight; p. 106, as "calmly lighting a cigarette"

commentary

Like the other three paintings inscribed with a location of Seville and date of 1873, Cassatt's Toreador was likely completed in that year between January and late April when the artist left Spain for Paris and then the Low Countries.

Toreador is a unique work in Cassatt's oeuvre, the only known painting of a single male figure who was neither a family member nor a friend of the artist's. Furthermore, it is the most masculine of all her images, fully partaking in the majismo associated with the bullfight.[1] The toreador's left elbow brings to mind the gendered connotations of bent-elbow poses in the history of art, with all their intimations of self-possession and power: even while lighting a cigarette, the torero dramatically lifts his elbow as he would when brandishing his red cape in front of the bull.[2] As with Torero and Young Girl, Cassatt designed Toreador as a painterly exploration of substances and textures, from the elaborate metallic embroidery of the man's jacket and the wood of the railing he leans upon to the more ephemeral fire and smoke from the match and cigarette. The figure's flesh is composed using the small, dabbing strokes of paint typical of Cassatt's Spanish works, and the artist's bold and assured facture in this picture in general exhibits the influence of the great Spanish masters such as VelĂ zquez.

While paintings by Spanish artists and Iberian subject matter enthralled French artists for most of the nineteenth century, such paintings took on new meaning for artists interested in realism through the innovations of Édouard Manet, who learned from Velàzquez how to invest the mundane with a sense of grandeur. Though some scholars have related Cassatt's bullfight pictures to those by academic painters who treated the subject in a touristic manner, in many ways her pictures have more in common with Manet's torero pictures of the 1860s. Unlike the pictures of the academic painters, which were intended to present a convincing scene, Cassatt's bullfight pictures share with images such as Manet's A Matador (The Saluting Torero), 1866–67 (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) an indeterminate, stage-like setting and a preference for bravura brushwork over the anecdote.

PAI

[1] On this topic see Elizabeth M. Boone, "Bullfights and Balconies: Flirtation and Majismo in Mary Cassatt's Spanish Paintings of 1872–73," American Art 9 (Spring 1995) pp. 55–71.

[2] For more information on pointed-elbow poses in art, see Joneath Spicer, "The Renaissance Elbow," in A Cultural History of Gesture, eds. Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992), pp. 84–128. For more about pointed elbows in Cassatt's work, see Pamela A. Ivinski, "Mary Cassatt, the Maternal Body, and Modern Connoisseurship" (PhD diss., City University of New York, 2003), pp. 55–58.

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keywords:
 Spanish
 man
 bullfighter
 costume
 red
 cape
 cigarette
 smoking
 looking right
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