Villegas y Cordero has achieved tremendous recognition in recent years, peaking when a painting we had sold some years before made $650,000 in a New York auction.
He is a good example of an artist who made no pretensions to change the course of art history but painted exceptionally beautiful works that are well drawn and wonderfully coloured - in other words paintings that appeal to the buying public.
He was well versed in academic study however, as he became Director of the Prado Museum in Madrid. A painter of figurative subjects, born in Seville in 1922, he started his art studies in the same town. He was later sent by his patron, the Marquis de Polavieja, to Madrid to study with Federico de Madrazo, Edouardo Rosales and Mariano Fortuny.
He was greatly impressed with Fortuny’s Orientalist works, and was prompted to go to Morocco with Francisco Peralto del Campo, an artist now best known for his Venetian subjects. Later in life Villegas was named head of the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, then becoming director of the Prado Museum in Madrid. His paintings are represented in many important collections and national museums, including the Museum of Buffalo in America, Florence, Madrid, Munich, Metropolitan Museum in New York, Stockholm and Stuttgart.