NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s sale of Old Master Drawings in New York on 29 January 2014 will present a rich survey of three and a half centuries of European drawings, particularly from the Italian and Netherlandish schools, during Old Masters Week. Leading the sale are two very different, yet equally magical images by Giandomenico Tiepolo, who captures the spirit of 18th century Venetian life like no other artist. Incontro al molo: a ‘codega’ showing the way to a noble couple on a molo is a magnificent and superbly preserved drawing and one of the finest Venetian drawings of any type to have appeared on the market in a generation (est. $600/800,000). This amusing and delightful work, dated 1791, is one of the artist’s ‘Scene di vita quotidiana’ and represents an elegantly dressed couple stepping out of their gondola onto a molo. The exhibition will open to the public on 25 January 2014 in our New York galleries.
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (Venice 1727 – 1804), Incontro al molo: a 'codega' showing the way to a noble couple on a molo; pen and brown ink and brown and gray wash over traces of black chalk, estimate $600/800,000. Photo Sotheby's
signed and dated in pen and brown ink over the roof of the gondola: Dom.co Tiepolo f. 1791; 289 by 417 mm; 11 3/8 by 16 7/16 in.
Provenance: Alfred Beurdeley, Paris,
his sale, Paris, Hotel Drouot, F. Lair-Dubreuil, H. Baudoin, 31 May 1920, part of lot 170;
Adrien Fauchier-Magnan, Cannes-La Bocca;
sale, London, Sotheby's, 6 July 1967, lot 43,
where bought by Robert Lehman;
Joseph P. Goldyne, San Francisco;
with Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, European drawings. Recent acquisitions, 1988, no. 43, reproduced;
with Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, from whom purchased by the present owner
Exhibited: Washington, National Gallery of Art, Venetian Drawings from American Collections, 1974, (catalogue by T. Pignatti), p. 53, no. 111, reproduced fig. 111
Literature: H. de Chennevières, Les Tiepolos, Paris 1898, p. 138 reproduced;
W.K. Juynboll, 'Een Caricatuur van Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo', Bulletin Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, VII, Rotterdam 1956, no. 3 (wrongly as in the Louvre);
J. Byam Shaw and G. Knox, Italian 18th Century Drawings, The Robert Lehman Collection, VI, New York and Princeton 1987, p. 209, under no. 172;
D. Succi, I Tiepolo, Virtuosismo e ironia, exhib. cat., Mirano, Barchessa - Villa XXV Aprile, 1988, no. 32;
A. Mariuz, Domenico Tiepolo, 1727-1804, Udine 1996, p. 34;
B. Aikema and M. Tuijn, Tiepolo in Holland, Works by Giambattista Tiepolo and His Circle in Dutch Collections, exhib. cat., Rotterdam, Boijmans van Beuningen Museum, 1996, under no. 61, p. 144, reproduced fig. 3;
G. Pavanello, 'Tutta la vita dal principio alla fine e una comica assurdità', Tiepolo, ironia e comico, exhib. cat., Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 2004, reproduced p. 46; and in the catalogue section, p. 174, under no. 116;
A.M. Gealt and G. Knox, Giandomenico Tiepolo, Scene di vita quotidiana a Venezia e nella terraferma, Venice 2005, p. 42; p. 165, no. 63, reproduced p. 166, fig . 63, and p. 187, under nos. 83, 83A.
Note: This magnificent, and superbly preserved drawing is one of the finest Venetian drawings of any type to have appeared on the market in a generation. An elegantly dressed couple has just stepped out of their gondola onto a molo, and, although it does not appear to be getting dark, a lantern-bearer, or codega in Venetian dialect, is already at work, possibly to earn some extra money, pointing with his left hand as he steps forward. The presence of the codega has sometime been interpreted as a satirical social comment, as the man's services cannot possibily be needed in daytime.1 According to Byam Shaw, though, Giandomenico was not a politically minded artist and was indeed rather conservative, although it is not surprising that in his later works, and especially in this type of drawing made for personal amusement, we can sometimes detect hints of the events and ideologies of the French Revolution. Yet all the same, there seems no particular reason to believe that this is an image conceived with social criticism in mind, rather that it is simply a depiction of a late afternoon moment, when an eager codega could already be soliciting work. The fact that the gondola is equipped with its felze, a cover used in winter or at night that has the added benefit of permitting a noble and loving couple to travel in anonymity, could be an indication that dusk is not far off. A young boy and a dog complete the left side of the scene, while in the background, as Gealt and Knox suggest, is a church that may be S. Giorgio Maggiore. In striking contrast to the animated left side of the composition, Giandomenico has left the right side of the sheet almost empty, with only a group of birds flying above the horizon as if to suggest the freedom of the imagination.
This amusing and delightful drawing is one of Giandomenico's 'Scene di vita quotidiana', called by Byam Shaw The Contemporary Scene, the series that he described as the most original of all Giandomenico's contributions to Venetian art. Byam Shaw believed the origins of this series could be traced to the frescoes painted by Giambattista and Giandomenico together in 1757 for Giustino Valmarana, in the Foresteria of his villa near Vicenza, pointing out the striking difference between Giandomenico's modern and direct approach in describing the scenes from daily life, and his father Giambattista's more traditional interpretation of similar subjects, still conceived in the grand Venetian manner. Very unusually for Giandomenico, many of the drawings in the 'Scene di vita quotidiana' series are dated. Mostly, they are, like the present work, dated 1791, but Byam Shaw believed some are earlier, and others are certainly later (one seems to be dated 1800).2 They are generally, as here, finished, pictorial horizontal compositions, of a large format, and surely created as independent works in their own right, not preparatory for paintings. Byam Shaw wrote: 'When a picture of nearly the same composition occurs, that must be regarded as another example of Giandomenico's repetitive methods: and whether the drawing was done before the painting, or the painting before the drawing, must be decided on the evidence of each case.'3 Also particularly characteristic of the scenes of Venetian life series is what Byam Shaw describes as 'a dash of caricature', an element characteristic of the artist's later years, and surely inspired by his father's successful caricatures of single figures, which he often copied and reused in his own compositions. This leaning towards caricature is discernible in the depiction of the present couple. When creating these amusing scenes portraying the bourgeoisie or fashionable society, Giandomenico was clearly also influenced by popular theatre, and in particular by the realistic and innovative style of the famous Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni, whom he must have known personally.
Giandomenico reused part of this composition, the elegant couple and the young codega, in another drawing, now in Rotterdam.4 Smaller than the present sheet and very different in character, the five figures standing alongside the lantern bearer in that drawing are all grotesquely deformed, thereby losing the realistic touch found in the scenes of Venetian life. The Rotterdam drawing was engraved, in the same direction, by Teodoro Viero;5 Gealt and Knox suggest that the form of its signature, Dom,o Tiepolo Inv. f, implies that it was done for the engraver, although the engraving is in fact slightly larger.
Gealt and Knox have suggested that the pivotal figure of thecodega could be inspired by one of Giovanni David's acquatints 'Le Gondolier' in his Ritratti vari, a publication printed in Venice in 1775. As Aikema notes, however, the same young lantern bearer wearing a bautaalready appears in the room of Carnival scenes, part of the late 1750s decoration in the Foresteria of the Villa Valmarana at Vicenza. He is used again by Giandomenico in his Punchinellos waiting outside the circus, where he directs attention to a poster of an elephant attached outside the wooden gate of a circus.6
1. Exhib. cat., op. cit., Washington 1974, p. 53, and Aikema and Tuijn, op. cit., p. 144
2. A.M. Gealt and G. Knox, op. cit., p. 151, no. 51
3. J. Byam Shaw, The Drawings of Domenico Tiepolo, London 1962, p. 47
4. Ibid., p. 187, no. 83, reproduced p. 186
5. Ibid., p. 187, no. 83A, reproduced p. 186
6. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Robert Lehman collection, inv. no. 1975.1.469, see J. Byam-Shaw and G. Knox, op. cit., p. 209 , no. 172, reproduced.
Tiepolo’s Punchinello collapses on the road is one of an immensely lively and varied series of 104 drawings illustrating scenes from the life of Punchinello, the famous character from the Commedia dell’Arte (est. $400/600,000). These drawings are among the most celebrated and desirable of all the artist’s works This endlessly inventive series of drawings, though never bound, remained together and complete from the late 18th century until they were dispersed in the 1920s;only rarely do outstanding examples from the series such as this come on the market.
Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (Venice 1727 – 1804), Punchinello collapses on the road; pPen and brown ink and two shades of brown wash over black chalk, within brown ink framing lines, estimate $400,000 — 600,000. Photo Sotheby's
signed lower right in pen and brown ink: domõ Tiepolo f.,and bears numbering top left in pen and brown ink: 13; 360 by 475 mm; 14 1/4 by 18 3/4 in.
Provenance: Sale, London, Sotheby's, 6-7 July 1920, lot 41, (purchased by Colnaghi for £610);
With P. & D. Colnaghi, London (purchased by Richard Owen for £800)
Richard Owen, Paris;
Léon Suzor, Paris;
Private Collection, Paris by 1950;
With Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox, London, from whom purchased by the present owners in 1995
Exhibited: Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 1921;
Paris, Musée Carnavalet, Chefs-d'oeuvre des Collections Parisiennes, 1950, p. 47, no. 151;
Paris, Galerie Cailleux, Tiepolo et Guardi dans les collections françaises, 1952, no. 56, reproduced, pl. 36;
Paris, Orangerie des Tuileries, Venise au dix-huitième siècle, 1971, no. 311, reproduced fig. 311
Literature: J. Byam Shaw, The Drawings of Domenico Tiepolo, London 1962, p. 56, note 3;
A. Gealt and M.E. Vetrocq, Domenico Tiepolo's Punchinello Drawings, exhib. cat., Bloomington, Indiana University Art Museum, et al., 1979, p. 145, S20, reproduced p. 122;
G. Knox, 'Domenico Tiepolo's Punchinello Drawings, Satire, or Labor of Love?', Satire inthe Eighteenth Century, New York/London 1983, p. 127;
A. Gealt, Domenico Tiepolo: The Punchinello Drawings, New York 1986, p. 191, no. 100, reproduced
Note: The immensely lively and varied series of drawings illustrating scenes from the life of Punchinello, the famous character from the Commedia dell'Arte, are among the most celebrated and desirable of all Giandomenico's works. Punchinello collapses on the road is one of 104 episodes depicted in this endlessly inventive series of drawings, which, though never bound, remained together and complete, with a titlepage inscribedDivertimenti per i Ragazzi, from the late 18th century until they were dispersed by Richard Owen in the 1920s. Through the detailed studies of James Byam Shaw and, more recently, Adelheid Gealt (see literature), we have become familiar with the adventures of the series' mischievous protagonist, Punchinello, who became a beloved popular hero in Naples when he was introduced onto the stage by the actor Silvio Fiorillo at the beginning of the 17th century. By the 18th century, the improvised adventures of this tragi-comic figure were becoming enormously popular across Europe.
The narrative created by Giandomenico does not appear to be based on any known text; the stories were most probably handed down orally, in accordance with the traditions of popular theatre. The intended sequence of the drawings is also difficult to establish because the numbers which appear, as here, on most of the sheets, were added after Giandomenico's death, possibly, as Byam Shaw suggests, by his executor. The drawings develop further the themes treated in the delightful grisaille frescoes of the Camera dei Pagliacci, in the Tiepolo family villa at Zianigo (1793-97) where Giandomenico spent the final years of his life.1 It was at this late stage in his career that he turned his attention to making several extensive suites of large, finished drawings. The Scenes of Contemporary Life (see the following lot), similar in size and technique to the Punchinello drawings, are in many cases - and unusually for Giandomenico's drawings - dated. They were mostly executed in 1791, although some must have been done later, at more or less the same time as the Large Biblical Series, which can be dated towards the end of that decade. The Punchinello series is the last of all and in many ways the most ambitious, with its extremely diverse narrative, ranging from intimate family scenes to exotic adventures. Byam Shaw suggested that the drawings can be grouped under five broad chapter headings: The Ancestry, Childhood and Youthful Amusements of Punchinello; His Various Trades and Occupations; His Adventures in Strange Countries; His Social and Official Life; His Last Illness and Death.2
In the present composition, brilliantly drawn and washed in two shades of brown ink, Punchinello, much to his companions' dismay, has collapsed on a country road. His typical sugar-loaf hat has fallen off and lies near him on the road. The scene is animated and crowded with the numerous friends coming to help Punchinello, all wearing the distinctive hat and the dark mask with the beaky nose. Another drawing, now in the Stanford University Museum of Art, depicts a similar scene where Punchinello has collapsed and lies by the wall of a villa.3 The reasons for Punchinello's distress are not known and some scholars have suggested a simple case of indigestion.4 There is a degree of playfulness in all these scenes, even when the subjects are more serious; Byam Shaw, taking note of the inscription on the title-page, suggested that the series was created for the amusement of young visitors at the family villa at Zianigo.
As Byam Shaw also observed, in the drawings from this series Giandomenico seems to go back more than ever before to earlier inventions, and to borrow more frequently from previous compositions, both from his own, especially the Contemporary Life scenes, and from those of his father. Indeed, it is in Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's drawings and etchings from the middle of the 1730s that Punchinello appears first,5 for instance in Punchinello talking to two magicians (circa 1735),6 from the Scherzi di Fantasia, and thereafter he is to be found with some regularity in the work of both father and son. Despite being such late works, Giandomenico's Punchinello drawings from the great series to which the present sheet belongs are, however, still rendered with exquisite liveliness and always pervaded by a sense of amusement and a light-hearted spirit appropriate to the character of the 'hero' and his adventures. The Punchinello drawings, together with the scenes of Contemporary Life, can be considered the greatest contributions that Giandomenico made to Venetian art and will always be emblematic of his wit and fantasy in capturing a moment, and telling a story.
1. The frescoes of the Villa have been detached, and are now in the Museum of Ca' Rezzonico in Venice.
2. J. Byam Shaw, op. cit., p. 56
3. Inv. no. 41.277; A. Gealt, op. cit., 1986, p. 170, no. 73, reproduced
4. Gealt and Vetrocq, op, cit., p. 54
5. For more information on the Punchinello drawings by Giambattista see G. Knox, 'The Punchinello Drawings of Giambattista Tiepolo', Interpretazioni Veneziane, Studi di Storia dell'arte in onore di Michelangelo Muraro, Venice 1984, pp. 439-446
6. A. Rizzi, L'Opera grafica dei Tiepolo, Le acqueforti, Milan 1971, p. 50, no. 12, reproduced p. 51
A further highlight of the sale is a rare work of immense power – an oil on paper portrait sketch by the 16th century Sienese master, Domenico Beccafumi. Head of a bearded man seen in profile (est. $350/450,000) is a relatively new addition to Beccafumi’s small corpus of works in oil on paper, the majority of which are head studies. It featured in the recent exhibition, Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian, at the National Gallery, London.
Domenico Beccafumi (Cortine In Valdibiana Montaperti 1484 - 1551 Siena), Head of a bearded man seen in profile. Oil on paper washed with a brown oil preparation, laid down on board; 443 by 330 mm; 17 1/2 by 13 in. Est. $350/450,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
Provenance: Jacques Petit-Hory, Paris;
sale, London, Sotheby's, 16 January 2002, lot 14
Exhibited: London, National Gallery, Renaissance Faces, Van Eyck to Titian, 2008, p. 259, no. 84, reproduced p. 258
Note: This handsome and important portrait is a relatively new addition to the small corpus of works in oil on paper, the majority of which are head studies, by the Renaissance Sienese master Domenico Beccafumi. Slightly larger than actual size, it is a very rare example of such a work which is certainly made from life and could well be a portrait, although Beccafumi's selfportrait now in the Uffizi (datable circa 1525-28) is as yet the only oil sketch by the artist with an identified sitter.1 The aspect which, unique to this type of painted work on paper, is totally revolutionary and striking for the time, is Beccafumi's confidence in exploring the dramatic and innovative use of the effects of light. With bold and assured brush strokes he achieves results similar to the unparalleled images admired in his pioneering chiaroscuro woodcuts. Carol Plazzotta in her entry on the drawing in the 2008 London exhibition catalogue rightly emphasized: 'The fluid versatility of the oil medium, straddling the boundary between drawing and painting, was particularly suited to his method of building up form through dramatic contrast of light and shade, and to his instinctive feeling for colour, features that give his work an unusual presence and liveliness.'
The drawings of this type, initially incorrectly believed to be in tempera rather than oil, were first studied and published by Donato Sanminiatelli.2 This was prompted by the presence of nine oil sketches by Beccafumi in the H.S. Reitlinger sale in 1953.3 Sanminiatelli stressed the intensity of these works with their almost magic and visionary effect achieved through the use of what he described as '...a technique so very congenial to his researches into the effects of light...' and continued '...the objects are made to emerge from the dark, almost exclusively evoked by the force of a liquid brush-stroke which builds up the volumes with surprising freedom, implying without stating the surrounding space.' He linked the majority of these sketches, thirteen of them, to Beccafumi's frescoes in the Sala del Concistoro in the Palazzo Pubblico, Siena (1529-1535). As noted by Plazzotta, Beccafumi went to considerable effort in the preparation of this commission, the most prestigious of his career, studying in depth even secondary figures, and drawing some of the heads probably from life. Although Sanminiatelli expressed the hope that the known group of sketches might grow in number with time, until Hugo Chapman discovered and published three in the Brighton Museum, only fourteen oil on paper heads by Beccafumi were accepted by scholars, proof of the rarity of such drawings.4
The appearance some years ago of the present example is therefore very significant. It is clearly a portrait of a real sitter, and surely a work executed in its own right. As he does in this type of bozzetto, Beccafumi has first applied over the whole surface a brown oily preparation, thinly painted, before drawing broadly the shape of the head with quick and fluid dark brush strokes. Next he has modelled and completed the individual features and profile of the sitter, this time with thick and reassured strokes of color, using mostly variations of pink and red. These painterly and animated touches are entirely characteristic of his work, strongly contrasting with the different shades of brown and black in the rest of the image, and, in the lower part of the sheet, the strong touches of pure white on the collar, which again catch the light in the most vibrant way. A specific detail clearly detectable in the present study is the round touch of reddish-pink paint over the broadly painted ear. This appears at least in two otherbozzetti: the Head of the Good Thief, a study now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, where we find also the same quick red stroke to suggest the mouth, and the Head of a Young Man, formerly in the de Beistegui collection, now in the Louvre.5 The profile of the sitter in the present work emerges from the dark through the use of light, making it substantial and three-dimensional. This very daring effect could only have been achieved to this extent with the use of oil, or in the artist's magical chiaroscurowoodcuts where he experimented with the combination of vivid and contrasting colors. As Plazzotta notes, the sculptural quality of this work, achieved by the vigorous modelling of the paint and the texture of the impasto, is an anticipation of Beccafumi's involvement with sculpted work in his later years. At the time of the London exhibition a probable dating of 1527-38 was proposed for this head.
The style of Beccafumi, so different from that of all the other artists of his time, is well represented by this work. He created a visionary world of light and colors, often inhabited by elongated and contorted figures which emerge from unnatural light and settings. It differs enormously from the Florentine maniera but is deeply rooted in the Sienese tradition, and had great influence on the following generations.
1. P. Torriti, Beccafumi, Milan 1998, p. 272, D. 64, reproduced
2. D. Sanminiatelli, 'The Sketches of Domenico Beccafumi', The Burlington Magazine,vol. XCVII, no. 623, February 1955, pp.34-40
3. Sale, London, Sotheby's, 9 December 1953, lots 23 to 27
4. London, National Gallery, Renaissance Siena, Art for a City, exhib. cat., 2007, nos. 110-111 (entries by H. Chapman), reproduced
5. Pierpont Morgan Library, inv. no. I. 19 A; Louvre, inv. no. 53005; P. Torriti, Beccafumi,Milan 1998, p. 302, D111, reproduced and p. 300, D107 reproduced
From a lovely, small private collection, put together with great care, come several fine Italian drawings, including a rare, red and black chalk portrait of the playwright Ottaviano Castelli, drawn in the 1640s by the great Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (est. $150/200,000). Bernini has used his favorite media, a combination of red and black chalk heightened with white, a technique which he seems to have used for the majority of these portrait drawings. Excluding selfportraits, the only other portrait drawings by Bernini whose sitters have been identified are the Portrait of Cardinal Scipione Borghese and the Portrait of Sisinio Poli, both in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, and the Portrait of Pope Clement X, Altieri, in the Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig.
Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Naples 1598 - 1680 Rome), Portrait of Ottaviano Castelli. Red and black chalk, heightened with white. Est. $150/200,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
Oval: 245 by 190 mm; 9 5/8 by 7 1/2 in.
Provenance: Henry Reveley (L.1356);
his sale, London, Sotheby's, 4 July 1977, lot 113
Exhibited: London, Arts Council, Old Master Drawings from the Collection of Mr. C.R. Rudolf, 1962, no. 9
Literature: A. Sutherland Harris, Selected Drawings of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, New York 1977, p. xvii, no. 36;
idem., in Master Drawings, exhib. cat., London, Colnaghi, 1993, under no. 30;
A. Weston Lewis, 'Portraits of Bernini, Portrait Drawings and Caricatures', in Effigies and Ecstasies, exhib. cat., Edinburgh, National Gallery of Scotland, 1998, p. 48, reproduced fig. 35, p. 201, note 9;
A. Sutherland Harris, 'I Disegni di ritratto di Gian Lorenzo Bernini', in Bernini pittore, exhib. cat., Rome, Galleria Nazionale di Arte Antica di Palazzo Barberini, 2007-08, p. 174; p. 175, reproduced fig. 2; p. 180, in note 8
Note: This is one of the few portrait drawings by the great sculptor and painter Gian Lorenzo Bernini in which the sitter can be confidently identified. He is the playwright Ottaviano Castelli, born in Spoleto in 1605, a distinguished librettist and musician attached to the Roman court of Cardinal Antonio Barberini. Castelli can be recognized here by comparison with an engraved portrait of him, aged 36, by Giovanni Francesco Grimaldi, after a lost drawing by Bernini (fig. 1) which served as the frontispiece to the 1641 publication of Castelli’s libretto for the opera La Sincerità Trionfante. The opera, for which Grimaldi designed the sets, was performed in Rome in 1638, in honor of the birth of the French Dauphin, later Louis XIV.
The present portrait can be dated to the early 1640s. Bernini has used his favourite media, a combination of red and black chalk heightened with white, a technique which he seems to have used for the majority of these rare portrait drawings. They are often, as here, meticulously drawn with an abundance of short strokes which define and enrich the modulations of light and also enhance the chromatism of the use of the three colors. The drawing shows both Bernini's discipline of perfected execution and his virtuosity in capturing the character of the sitter. Castelli and Bernini knew each other because of Bernini's interest in theatrical performances. Ann Sutherland Harris recounts that on the only known occasion on which Bernini attended one of Castelli's plays, a satire against the Neapolitan painter Salvator Rosa, he walked out before the end.1 This happened in 1639 a few years before Bernini made the present portrait.
Excluding self-portraits, the only other portrait drawings by Bernini whose sitters have been identified are the Portrait of Cardinal Scipione Borghese and the Portrait of Sisinio Poli,both in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, and the Portrait of Pope Clement X, Altieri, in the Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig.2
1. A. Sutherland Harris, loc. cit., 1977
2. A. Weston Lewis, op. cit., 1998, p. 48, reproduced fig. 34; p. 47, reproduced, fig. 33; p. 56, reproduced fig. 44; see A. Sutherland Harris, op. cit., 2007-08, p. 174, for lost identifiable portraits by Bernini
From a very different artistic milieu comes the beautiful pastel portrait by the Swiss master Jean-Etienne Liotard, depicting the rather dashing English gentleman Edward Tucker. Portrait of Edward Tucker, which has not been seen on the market since the 1930s, is one of the most refined and sophisticated of all Liotard’s depictions of English sitters, and is also one of the best preserved, even retaining what seems to be its original frame (est. $120/180,000).
Jean-Etienne Liotard (Geneva 1702 - 1789), Portrait of Edward Tucker. Pastel on vellum. Est: $120/180,000. Photo: Sotheby's.
610 by 505 mm; 24 by 19 7/8 in.
Provenance: Sale, London, Christie's, 4 July 1930, lot 149 (to Popoff, Paris);
with G. Stein, Paris, 1932;
with Sauty, Lausanne, 1933, from whom bought by the ancestors of the present owners
Literature: L. Gielly, L'école genevoise de peinture, Geneva 1935, p. 207;
N. Trivas, untitled typescript monograph and catalogue of Liotard's work, Geneva, Musée d'art et d'histoire, 1936, no. 229;
R. Loche and M. Röthlisberger, L'opera completa di Liotard, Milan 1978, no. 171;
M. Röthlisberger and R. Loche, Liotard, 2 vols., Doornspijk 2008, vol. 1, p. 451, no. 280, reproduced vol. 2, fig. 413;
N. Jeffares, Dictionary of pastellists before 1800, London 2006, p. 351
Note: A great deal of Liotard’s career was spent travelling from one European city to another, in an attempt to satisfy the immense continent-wide demand for his superb and distinctive pastel portraits, and he even travelled as far afield as Constantinople, a journey that provided him with much fascinating subject-matter. Rather closer to home, his ceaseless travels took him twice to England, in 1753-55, and again in 1773-74, and on both occasions he found himself much in demand, remaining in the English capital for some two years before setting off again.
The present portrait, which has not been seen on the market since the 1930s, is one of the most refined and sophisticated of all Liotard’s depictions of English sitters, and is also one of the best preserved. Against the distinctive light brown background, famously described by Pierre-Jean Mariette as the colour of gingerbread (pain d'épice1), this classic English gentleman’s handsome face is modelled with fine, carefully modulated hatchings, yet in the immensely subtle treatment of his red jacket there is no hint of any visible texture in the pastel. Alongside this jacket, in a virtuoso display of technique and modesty, Liotard has almost casually depicted some of the finest embroidered lace to be seen anywhere in his work. These virtuoso passages, and these immensely subtle contrasts, were surely to be found in many of Liotard’s pastels at the time when they were executed, but it is only when the state of preservation is as good as here that these effects remain so apparent today.
When the pastel was last sold, in 1930, the sitter was identified as Edward Tucker; it was one of a series of portraits of different members of the Tucker family, by various artists, offered for sale, presumably from the collection or estate of a descendant. Röthlisberger and Loche2 have provided a biographical sketch of Edward Tucker, but some of the information they gave actually referred to Edward’s uncle, John Tucker (1701-1779), also known as ‘Hell-Fire Jack’, a significant and colourful politician who was MP for Weymouth for many years, and was a member of the famous Hell-Fire Club established by Sir Francis Dashwood, which met from the 1740s until 1762 at West Wycombe Park, Buckinghamshire, to indulge in all sorts of excesses.
Edward Tucker seems, however, to have led a less eventful – and consequently less well documented – life than his uncle. As Neil Jeffares has kindly informed us, he was born in 1739, and in 1764 he married Radigan Lisle, the daughter of Warren Lisle of Upwey, a political associate of the Tuckers. No record of Edward Tucker’s date of death has yet been found, but he probably died before 1777, as his uncle John’s will, drawn up in that year, makes no mention of him, although his sisters were included. Edward Tucker would have been only 16 years old when Liotard first came to England, and around 35 at the time of the artist’s second visit, and as Neil Jeffares has pointed out, that means that if the identification of the sitter is indeed correct (and there is no reason to think it is not), then the pastel must have been executed not, as previously thought, during Liotard’s first English journey, but during the second, much later visit, a dating that also fits better with the style of the pastel itself, with its strong, somewhat stylised chiaroscuro and clearly visible hatching in the sitter’s face.
The exceptional, Chippendale-style frame is very likely the original.3
1. Abecedario, MS, 1771-1774, cited Röthlisberger and Loche, op. cit., 2008, p. 89
2. Loc. cit., 2008.
3. For other English portraits by Liotard that are apparently still in their original frames, see O. Millar, The Tudor, Stuart and Early Georgian Portraits in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London 1963, no. 578
The subject of Rinaldo and Armida (est. $80/120,000), taken from Torquato Tasso’s epic poem Gerusalemme liberata, was very popular in 17th and 18th century France, both in painting and in the theatre: Lully’s 1686 opera was widely performed and revived, and the artist of the drawing, François Boucher, himself worked on the sets of the 1761 production, and possibly also on those of 1746 and 1747, at which time he was officially working for the Opéra. Boucher also chose this theme for his morceau de réception, the grand canvas, now in the Louvre, which he submitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture following his election in January 1734. The present drawing is a wonderfully energetic and extremely well preserved example of Boucher’s fully formed mature style.
François Boucher (Paris 1703 – 1770), Rinaldo and Armida. Pen and brown ink and and brown and red wash over black chalk within black ink framing lines. Est $80/120,000. Photo: Sotheby's
204 by 315 mm; 8 by 12 3/8 in.
Provenance: Madame Josette Day-Solvey, her sale, Paris, Tajan, 24 March 2003, lot 33
Note: The subject of Rinaldo and Armida, taken from Torquato Tasso's epic poem Gerusalemme liberata, was very popular in 17th and 18th-century France, both in painting and in the theatre: Lully's 1686 opera was widely perfomed and revived, and Boucher himself worked, together with his son, on the sets of the 1761 production, and possibly also on those of 1746 and 1747, at which time he was officially working for the Opéra.1 Boucher also chose this theme for his morceau de réception, the grand canvas, now in the Louvre, which he submitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture following his election in January 1734.2
The present drawing, a wonderfully energetic and extremely well preserved example of Boucher's fully formed mature style, must date from much later in the artist's career. Alastair Laing has kindly proposed that it (and also a variant drawing in reverse, in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin3) may be a design for the last in a set of eight Beauvais tapestries of the Aventures de Renaud et Armide that Oudry and Boucher proposed in October 1751. Such a dating is also plausible on stylistic grounds. The tapestry project was never realized, and its only tangible product was Boucher's cartoon for Renaud endormi, a tapestry produced in the following year as part of the set ofFragments d’Opéra.4
1. François Boucher 1703-1770, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Detroit Institute of Art, and Paris, Grand Palais, 1986-87, p. 166
2. Inv. 2720; François Boucher, exhib. cat., op. cit., 1986-87, cat. 26
3. Inv. 1827, as J.-B. Huet. Formerly also attributed to Parizeau, but in Alastair Laing's opinion by Boucher.
4. E. Standen, ‘The Fragments d’Opéra: A Series of Beauvais Tapestries after Boucher’,Metropolitan Museum Journal, no.21, 1986, pp.123-24
Hans Bol’s Panoramic landscape with Thamar and Judith, within a decorative border (est. $60/80,000) is an extremely refined drawing and the study, in reverse, for the fifth plate in a series of 24 prints of similar compositions, executed by Adriaen Collaert after drawings by Hans Bol. None of the other drawings have come on the auction market in recent years, except one which was sold in New York in 2001. The remarkable decorative borders distinguish this series of compositions by Bol from the rest of his drawings and from any other drawings being produced in the Netherlands at the time.
Hans Bol (Mechelen 1534 - 1593 Amsterdam), Panoramic landscape with Thamar and Judith, within a decorative border. Pen and brown ink and wash, indented for transfer. Est $60/80,000. Photo: Sotheby's
signed and dated, lower right of main image: HBol.1584; 144 by 212 mm; 5 3/4 by 8 1/4 in
Provenance: Bears collector's mark (L.4099, verso), possibly Gaston de Ramaix;
with Paul Prouté, Paris, 1997 (Catalogue "Bracque", no. 1)
Note: This extremely refined drawing is the study, in reverse, for the fifth plate in a series of twenty-four prints of similar compositions, executed by Adriaen Collaert after drawings by Hans Bol (fig. 1).1 Although all these designs by Bol consist of landscapes with small figures or figure groups, surrounded by decorative borders, the subjects of the various scenes are very disparate, including episodes from both the Old and the New Testaments, as well as profane hunting scenes. Some 14 of the drawings for these prints are known; examples are in Hamburg, Paris, Rouen, Kansas City, Amsterdam, New York and elsewhere.2 One other was sold in New York in 20013, but otherwise none have come on the auction market in recent years.
It is, though, the remarkable decorative borders that distinguish this series of compositions by Bol from the rest of his drawings, and, indeed, from any other drawings being produced in the Netherlands at the time. The richly varied, frieze-like decoration incorporating images of a wide selection of animals and flowers reprises a much earlier tradition of manuscript illumination, but is highly unusual in a late 16th-century composition in any medium. Yet Bol employed this visual device not only in this spectacular series of designs for prints, but also in one of his greatest gouaches, the superb Landscape with the Story of Venus and Adonis, formerly in the collection of the British Rail Pension Fund, and now at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.4 In the present work, the wonderful border seems in fact to have engaged the artist rather more than the main central composition; although the latter is drawn with great accomplishment, it is in the charming images of the little dog, the beetles, the wild strawberries, and the other flowers and animals that Bol draws with the greatest freedom and spontaneity. As a whole, this group of twenty-four compositions by Bol are among the most original and attractive that he ever produced.
A sketchier drawing by Bol with the same subject as this, in which the basic composition is similar (other than the absence of the decorative border) but the details of the background and buildings differ, is in Budapest.5
1. A. Diels & M. Leesberg, The New Hollstein, Dutch & Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700; The Collaert Dynasty, Part II, Ouderkerk aan den Ijssel, 2005, p. 242, no. 453 , reproduced p. 250 (old Hollstein, vol. IV, no. 483).
2. See J. Shoaf Turner, Rembrandt's World, Dutch Drawings from the Celement C. Moore Collection, exh. cat., New York, The Morgan Library & Museum, 2012, cat. 2
3. Sale, New York, Sotheby's, 23 January 2001, lot 108
4. Sale, London, Sotheby's, 2 July 1990, lot 30; inv. 92.GG.28; N. Turner, L. Hendrix and C. Plazzotta, Eurpopean Drawings.3. Catalogue of the Collections, Los Angeles, 1997, cat. 77
5. Inv. 1299; T. Gerszi, Netherlandish Drawings in the Budapest Museum, Sixteenth-Century Drawings, 2 vols., Amsterdam 1971, cat. 21
‘L’Étude’, an extremely attractive drawing, is characteristic of Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, both in type of figure and in the medium (est. $30/40,000). It is a preparatory study for one of the ten paintings of allegorical figures which were a commission from the Prefecture of Paris for decorations around a semicircular gallery set up at the Hôtel de Ville on 10 June 1810 for an evening party in honor of the marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise of Austria.
Pierre-Paul Prud’hon (Cluuy 1758 - 1823 Paris), ‘L’Étude’. Black and white chalk on pale blue paper. Est: $30/40,000. Photo: Sotheby's
inscribed in black chalk: L'Etude; 340 by 228 mm; 13 3/8 by 9 in.
Provenance: Odiot Collection;
possibly M. Trezel;
his sale, Paris, 6 March 1876, bought by M. Bellanger;
Maurice Pereire, Paris;
with Michael Grünwald, Munich
Exhibited: Paris, École des Beaux-arts, Prud'hon, May 1874, no. 362;
Paris, Petit Palais, Exposition P.P. Prud'hon, May-June 1922, no. 181
Literature: C. Clément, Prud'hon, sa vie, ses oeuvres et sa correspondence, Paris 1872, pp. 356-8;
E. de Goncourt, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint, dessiné et gravé de P.P. Prud'hon, Paris 1876, pp. 204-5;
E. and J. de Goncourt, L'art au XVIIIième siècle, Paris 1883, vol. 2, p. 455;
J. Guiffrey, L'oeuvre de P.P. Prud'hon, Paris 1924, pp. 352-4, no. 957
Note: This extremely attractive drawing is characteristic of Prud'hon both in the type of figure and in the medium, which he handles with consummate skill. It is a preparatory study for one of the ten paintings of allegorical figures which were a commission from the Prefecture of Paris for decorations around a semicircular gallery set up at the Hôtel de Ville on 10 June 1810 for an evening party in honor of the marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise of Austria. They framed a central composition representing the couple as Hercules and Minerva.
The drawings were engraved by Jean Prud'hon, the artist's son, and reproduced in lithograph by Jules Boilly.