I saw it: The invented Realities of Goya's Disasters of War


On the first day of class, Professor Susan Strauber informed us that it was our obligation to create an exhibition worthy not only of Faulconer Gallery and Grinnell College, but of Francisco Goya y Lucientes himself.  Although this news was rather daunting, she assured us that we would not be alone in this endeavor.  Fortunately, she was right.  We are extremely grateful to those people who have allowed us this unique opportunity and who have supported us along the way.

      We thank Helena Percas de Ponseti, Professor Emerita of Spanish, and Dr. Ignacio V. Ponseti who generously donated the Disasters of War print series used in this exhibition. Without their kindness, there would be no exhibition; we are greatly indebted to them. Throughout the semester, we have been inspired by their passion for Goya and particularly for this series.  We extend our heartfelt thanks to Susan Strauber, Associate Professor of Art, for offering us her endless encouragement and support.  She provided the class with structure and focus, yet still allowed us space to explore the series on our own.  Most importantly, she instilled in us a sense of excitement for the exhibition as well as for Goya’s art.                 

      We owe much to the Faulconer Gallery staff who shared their wisdom and expertise with us and helped to make our vision of the exhibition a reality.  We thank Lesley Wright, Director of the Gallery, Kay Wilson Jenkins, Curator of the Collection, and Milton Severe, Director of Exhibition Design, for giving us a tour of the gallery as well as for listening to our numerous ideas for the exhibition and offering their suggestions.  Lesley Wright worked with student Tala Orngard to coordinate the exhibition reception.  Additionally, she and Dann Hayes, Director of Media Relations, aided students Audrey Coffield and Tala Orngard with the creation of publicity and exhibition announcements.  Students Nathaniel Jones and Madeline VanHaaften-Schick worked with Lesley Wright and Karla Niehus, Curator of Education, in order to create the wall labels used in the exhibit.  Karla Niehus also worked with students Alfredo Rivera, Katherine Skarzynski, and Kimberly Theodore in order to devise programming and education events.  Milton Severe gently but firmly guided us as we worked on a model for the layout of the gallery space.  Working with students Annaliese Beaman and Megan Drechsel, he used his eye for detail in order to perfect the ideas of the class. Without his help, we would have ended up with an exhibition full of awkward spaces or too tight corners. We are especially appreciative of the expertise and patience of Dan Strong, Associate Director and Curator of the Collection, who photographed all of the Goya prints for the catalog.

      We also extend our thanks to Jim Powers, Associate Director of Communication and Events, for helping students Nicole Bungert, Katherine Rochester, and Roxanne Young create a powerful design for the catalogue.  Our class is not particularly computer savvy; thus, we are grateful to Jared Price, Curricular Technology Specialist, for working with students Alfredo Rivera and Roxanne Young in order to produce a website for the exhibit.  We thank Claire Hassett-Moisan, Writing Lab Assistant, for the endless editing and revising that she contributed to the catalogue essays.

      We thank William Patch, Professor of History, for expanding upon our knowledge of Spanish history during Goya’s time.  We also thank Matthew Kluber, Assistant Professor of Art, for enhancing our appreciation of the series through his demonstration of the printmaking techniques that Goya himself most likely used.  He made this complicated process come to life, and left us with a deeper admiration of the great technical skill required to make such prints.

      In closing, we are enormously appreciative of the time and energy that these wonderful people have devoted to this project.  They have helped to make this a truly amazing experience for us, and for that, we are grateful.

—Katherine Skarzynski

Last Updated: September 2, 2004