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du Gué Trapier, Elizabeth

    Full Name: du Gué Trapier, Elizabeth

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 05 April 1893

    Date Died: 15 October 1974

    Place Born: Washington, DC, USA

    Place Died: NJ, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Subject Area(s): Spanish (culture or style)

    Institution(s): Hispanic Society of New York


    Expert in Spanish Art. Elizabeth du Gué Trapier was the granddaughter of Paul Trapier (1749-1778), a public official in South Carolina during the American Civil War. After attending college and traveling through Europe, Trapier worked in cataloguing at the Library of Congress of Washington. In 1918, she moved to New York and was selected by the founder, Archer Hilton Huntington (1870-1955), to work at the Hispanic Society. She was first named to be Conservadora de Pintura (Conserver of the Painting) at that institute and began publishing articles on Spanish medieval and modern painting. Her first book, Greco, was published in 1925, and in 1937 she was elected a corresponding member of the Hispanic Society. With the Museum of the Hispanic Society of New York, she published works on Urrabieta (1851-1904) and Martin Rico (1833-1908). From there, she published several other biographical books on Spanish art historians including Eugenio Lucas y Padilla, Velazquez, Ribera, Goya, and Valdez Leal. Her work on José de Ribera (1591-1652) consists of the most comprehensive study of the artist to date and is the first published in English. In 1948, Trapier was elected to serve as the first honorary Vice President of the Hispanic Society and later in 1953 became a part of its advisory department.  In 1968, she was awarded Spain’s Order of Civil Merit and also received the Hispanic Scoiety’s Sorolla Medal and the Mitre Medal throughout her career.

    While she did not receive a formal education in art history, her numerous biographical works on Spanish artists earned her well-deserved recognition as a scholar of Spanish art and art history. Trapier’s contributions played a significant role in continuing Huntingon’s efforts of analyzing the Spanish arts and literature well after his death (De Pantorba).

    Selected Bibliography

    • El Greco. New York: The Hispanic Society of America, 1925;
    • Velázquez. Minnesota River School of Fine Art., 1927;
    • Eugenio Lucas y Padilla. New York: The Hispanic Society of America, 1940;
    • Ribera in the Collection. New York: The Hispanic Society of America, 1952;
    • Luis de Morales and Leonardesque Influences in Spain. New York: The Hispanic Society of America, 1953;
    • Goya, a Study of His Portraits. New York: The Hispanic Society of America, 1955;


    • Angulo Iniguez, Diego. “Miss Elizabeth du Gué Trapier. M. Paul Guinard.” Archivo Español de Arte 49, no. 194 (April 1, 1976): 245–46;
    • Darby, Delphine Fitz. Review of Review of Ribera, by Elizabeth du Gué Trapier. The Art Bulletin 35, no. 1 (1953): 68–74;
    • De Pantorba, Bernardino. Una gran hispanista norteamericana, Elizabeth Du Gué Trapier.New York: Hispanic Society of America, 1957;
    • “Elizabeth Trapier, 81, Dead; An Expert on Spanish Art.” New York Times. 1974;
    • Harris, Enriqueta. Review of Review of Ribera, by Elizabeth du Gué Trapier. The Burlington Magazine 95, no. 609 (1953): 401–401;
    • Proske, Beatrice Gilman. “Horatio Greenough’s ‘Bacchus.’” American Art Journal 6, no. 1 (1974): 35–38;

    Contributors: Denise Shkurovich


    Denise Shkurovich. "du Gué Trapier, Elizabeth." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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