Goya in Boston

For many years we have been tracking Edith Helman, author of a book about Goya, Trasmundo de Goya, which first appeared in 1963. It was published by Revista de Occidente (Western Magazine), the publishing house of José Ortega y Gasset, who Helman heard talking about Goya in the lectures the philosopher organised in Madrid in 1949, during the second (and last) year of the activities of her ‘Institute of Humanities’. In this book, Helman reveals the results of her research on the literary sources of Goya’s Caprichos and presents Francisco de Goya as a promoter of the Enlightenment’s ideas, especially those of Jovellanos and Moratín, whom he was good friends with. Trasmundo de Goya had a second life when, after the dissolution of Revista de Occidente, it was published by Alianza in 1983. Since 1993, date of Alianza Forma’s last edition, the book has been out of print.

Given the limited information about Edith Helman (who passed away in 1994), and since the author’s papers are stored in the archive of Simmons University, where she taught Spanish for many years, Media Vaca’s publisher, Vicente Ferrer, has flown directly to Boston to study the existent documentation and locate its heirs. He has been fortunate to meet Stephanie Stepanek, emeritus curator of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, role she has inherited from Eleanor A. Sayre, author of studies, monographs, and exhibitions, and who is considered the leading Goya specialist in the United States.

In the photograph, the entrance to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts from Huntington Avenue. (Photograph by Begoña Lobo.)