Newfields acquires a rare painting by Juan de Pareja

Joey Amato | October 13, 2021

The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields recently acquired Dog with a Candle and Lilies (early 1660s), by Spanish painter Juan de Pareja (Antequera, c. 1606–Madrid, 1670). This new painting will be placed on view in an exhibition entitled Juan de Pareja: A Painter’s Story, which will open on October 29 inside The Davis Lab, on the second floor of the IMA Galleries.

Pareja was a mixed-race enslaved assistant to the eminent Spanish painter Diego Velázquez (1599–1660), who was the leading artist at the court of King Phillip IV from about 1630 until his death. Pareja was a talented painter in his own right, but because he was enslaved, his work has been difficult to trace and is just now beginning to be studied by scholars and institutions worldwide. With only approximately 30 paintings attributed to Pareja, 19 of which are now lost, this is an extremely rare acquisition. Pareja was emancipated from Velázquez in 1650 and gained his freedom four years later, in 1654.

In this display, guests will have the opportunity to learn about Newfields’ new acquisition and discover the extraordinary story of Pareja’s journey from enslaved assistant to talented and well-respected independent painter in his own right. Guests will leave with a better understanding of the charming iconography depicted in the painting and what each element in the work represents. Along with Newfields’ new acquisition, guests will learn about the famous portrait of Juan de Pareja painted by Velazquez, widely considered to be one of the most significant portraits ever painted. This influential portrait is permanently on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

This exciting new acquisition has been added to the IMA’s permanent collection and is part of Newfields’ commitment to expand the collection with works by BIPOC and underrepresented artists to ensure that our institution reflects our community and the full canon of art history in all its diversity.

Image credit: Juan de Pareja (Spanish, 1606 –1670), Dog with a Candle and Lilies, about 1660s, oil on canvas, 18-1/2 × 22-1/2 in. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, 2021.175. Image Courtesy of Robilant+Voena.