From the Collection of J.E. Safra. Lot 75. Giovanni Antonio Canal, Il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768), View of the South front of Warwick Castle, detail. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announces Old Master & British Drawings Including Works from the Collection of Jean Bonna will take place on January 28 in New York. The auction offers a wide variety of works on paper covering over five hundred years from approximately 1480 to the mid-19th Century. Comprised of 129 lots, with many fresh to the market works from distinguished collections, the auction presents an opportunity to acquire some of the most celebrated and dramatic images of western art, with estimates ranging from $2,000 to $800,000.
Leading the sale are works by two great Venetian artists: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s rare Study for three donkeys from the collection of the late Brooke Astor (estimate: $250,000-350,000), and Canaletto’s exceptionally large View of the South front of Warwick Castle (estimate: $800,000-1,200,000). Additional highlights from the Italian section are masterpieces of the High Renaissance by Perugino, Luca Signorelli, Parmigianino, and exceptional Baroque drawings by Annibale Carracci, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Elisabetta Sirani.
From the Collection of J.E. Safra. Lot 75. Giovanni Antonio Canal, Il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768), View of the South front of Warwick Castle, with inscription on a label affixed to back of the frame: ‘This drawing of Warwick Castle at my death to be sent/ to the Earl of Warwick, 1813. F. Harpur sister to the Earl of Warwick. [Frances Elizabeth Greville (1744-1825), married to Sir Henry Harpur]/ By Canaletti/ who has painted/ several Pictures [&] Drawings/ Died in 1694’, pen and brown ink, gray wash, watermark fleur de lys with countermark IV (?), 12 1/2 x 22 3/4 in. (31.7 x 57.8 cm). Estimate USD 800,000 - USD 1,200,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
Provenance: Commissioned from the artist by Francis Greville (1719-1773), 1st Earl of Warwick, 1st Earl Brooke, London and Warwick, and by descent;
Sotheby’s, London, 2 July 1997, lot 53, where purchased for the present collection.
Literature: H.F. Finberg, 'Canaletto in England', The Walpole Society, IX, 1920-1921, p. 68.
W.G. Constable, Canaletto, Oxford, 1962, I, pl. 143, II, no. 758 (2nd ed. rev. by J. G. Links, Oxford, 1989, I, pp. lxvi, 142, pl. 143, II, cat. 758).
G. Berto, L'opera completa del Canaletto, Milan, 1968, p. 115, under no. 290.
A. Corboz, Canaletto. Una Venezia immaginaria, Milan, 1985, II, no. D135, ill.
D. Buttery, 'Canaletto at Warwick", The Burlington Magazine, CXXIX, no. 1012, July 1987, pp. 439, 441-2, 445, fig. 20.
K. Baetjer and J.G. Links, Canaletto, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988, p. 240, under no. 68.
D. Buttery, Canaletto and Warwick Castle, Chichester, 1992, passim.
J.G. Links, A supplement to W.G. Constable's Canaletto, Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768, London, 1998, pp. 42, 53, no. 758.
R. Contini, The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Italian Painting, London, 2002, p. 266, under no. 56.
Everett Fahy in The Wrightsman Pictures, New York, 2005, p. 72, under no. 21.
C. Beddington, Canaletto in England. A Venetian Artist Abroad, 1746-1755, exhib. cat., New Haven, Yale Center for British Art, 2006, p. 144, under no. 44.
Bozena Anna Kowlaczyk, Canaletto, 1697-1768, exhib. cat. Rome, Palazzo Braschi, Museo di Roma, 2018, p. 176, under no. 50.
Exhibited: London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, Winter Exhibition, 1926-1927, no. 2.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, and Montreal, Museum of Fine Arts, Canaletto, 1964, no. 113.
London, Tate Gallery, Landscape in Britain, c. 1750-1850, 1973, no. 21 (entry by L. Parris).
Birmingham Gas Hall Exhibition Gallery, Canaletto and England, 1993-1994, no. 21, ill., p. 82, under no. 22 (entries by J. Farrington).
Note: Canaletto’s success among British Grand Tourists and patrons residing in Italy (most notably Joseph Smith, the British Consul in Venice) made him decide to move to England in 1746, where he stayed – with some trips back to Italy – until 1755. Living in London, he made the city the subject of new paintings and drawings, but also worked elsewhere, offering the public a Venetian’s view of the beauties of the English countryside. Outstanding among the latter views are those of Warwick Castle, to the south of Birmingham. Canaletto was invited to make these views by the building’s proud owner, Francis Greville, Earl Brooke and later Earl of Warwick, who inherited it from his father at a young age. Warwick Castle became the building in England most often depicted by Canaletto, and the surviving paintings and drawings bear testament to how easily and brilliantly he adapted his talent to the depiction of types of landscape and architecture very different from those he grew up with.
Canaletto visited Warwickshire twice, and the present drawing, like the related painting recently bequeathed by Jayne Wrightsman to The Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 2019.141.7, Fig. 1; see E. Fahy in The Wrightsman Pictures, New York, 2005, no. 21, ill.), must date from his first trip there in 1748. Indeed, Brooke’s bank made a payment that year ‘to Seign.r Canal for his Drawings of Warwick Castle’ (quoted from exhib. cat. New Haven, op. cit., p. 144). This must be a direct reference to the present sheet, but one has to assume that during his stay Canaletto made extensive sketches, which after returning to his London studio he elaborated into finished drawings such as the one offered here. The drawing seems to have preceded the painted versions he did of the view – not only the Wrightsman picture mentioned above (Fig. 1), but also two others, at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven (inv. B1994.18.2; see C. Beddington in exhib. cat. New Haven, op. cit., no. 44, ill.), and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid (inv. 1978.13; see J. Farrington in exhib. cat., Birmingham, op. cit., no. 22, ill.). All have been dated to 1748-1749.
Fig. 1. Canaletto, View of the South front of Warwick Castle, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
None of the sketches made in Warwick has survived, but two other finished drawings do: one, at the J. Paul Getty Museum, represents the interior of the castle (inv. 86.GG.727; Fig. 2; see exhib. cat. New Haven, op. cit., no. 48, ill.), while the other, showing the East front of the castle, is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. 1975.1.297, Fig. 3; see exhib. cat. New Haven, op. cit., no. 47, ill.). Most probably they both date from the artist’s second visit to Warwick in 1752, as do the related paintings, both at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (ibid., nos. 45, 46, ill.).
Fig. 2. Canaletto, View of the East front of the interior courtyard of Warwick Castle, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Fig. 3. Canaletto, View of the East front of Warwick Castle, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Warwick Castle became the impressive structure still preserved today through a number of renovations, starting with William the Conqueror. In the early 17th Century, it came into the possession of the Greville family, who made it their country seat, but it was more than a century later that Earl Brooke – Canaletto’s patron – truly transformed it into a modern house. Among the artists he attracted to work on the property was Lancelot Brown, known as Capability, the celebrated landscape architect, who came to work for Brooke around the same time as Canaletto. The drawing offered here gives arguably the most complete impression of the building and its grounds, although of the sturdy towers only Caesar’s Tower can be clearly distinguished. In the foreground, the banks of the river Avon are populated with visitors enjoying the site and the fine weather, which Canaletto masterfully suggests with the dark shadow of the clump of trees at the composition’s right edge. In the right background the city of Warwick can be distinguished. Canaletto depicted the town itself in a sheet at the British Museum (inv. 1900,1112.1; see exhib. cat. Birmingham, op. cit., no. 26, ill.), which was probably not part of the Brooke commission. Another, exceptionally large sheet, at the Yale Center for British Art, more than 36 in. (90 cm) wide, shows a public garden with views of the town and castle beyond (inv. B1981.25.2410; Fig. 4).
Fig. 4. Canaletto, View of the castle and town of Warwick from the Priory Gardens, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven
As in all of Canaletto’s best topographical works, the view of the South front of the castle give a highly detailed account of the architecture, as well as a wonderful sense of the atmosphere and human activity animating the landscape, all in the artist's fluent calligraphic style. The spacious setting, lacking in The Metropolitan Museum’s drawing (Fig. 3) and intentionally avoided in the Getty sheet (Fig. 2), makes the drawing offered here especially appealing, and it ranks among the best of his English works.
A group from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection include works by François Boucher, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, and Maerten de Vos, among others. Masterwork by Ingres, Géricault and Bouguereau highlight the French section of the sale, and a group of drawings from the Collections of Michael Hall attests the enduring legacy of Rembrandt as a draftsman. The sale concludes with four exceptional watercolors by Turner, covering the entire arch of the great British artist’s career.
SELECT HIGHLIGHTS | OLD MASTER & BRITISH DRAWINGS INCLUDING WORKS FROM THE COLLECTION OF JEAN BONNA
From the Collection of Jean Bonna. Lot 12. Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci, called Perugino (Città della Pieve ca. 1450-1523 Fontignano), Head of a bearded man, metalpoint (silverpoint?) heightened with white on gray prepared paper, 9 3/8 x 7 ¾ in. (23.9 x 19.8 cm). Estimate USD 200,000 - USD 300,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
Provenance: with Amsler and Ruthardt, Berlin, with associated number on the verso ('284 Perugino Amsler').
Adalbert Freiherr von Lanna, Prague (1836-1909) (L. 2773 and 1659, verso); Gutekunst, Stuttgart, 6-11 May 1910, lot 566, pl. XXXIII.
The Prince of Liechtenstein, Vienna and Vaduz, until 1947.
with Walter Feilchenfeldt.
Private Collection, New York.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s New York, 26 January 2000, lot 13.
with Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel, Munich.
Literature: P. Dreyer, 'A forgotten drawing by Perugino', The Burlington Magazine, CXXXLX, no. 1132, 1997, pp. 465-469, fig. 27.
N. Strasser, Dessins italiens de la Renaissance au siècle des Lumières. Collection Jean Bonna, Geneva, 2010, no. 4, ill.
Exhibited: Geneva, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire, Le Choix d'un regard. Dessins de la collection Jean Bonna, 2007.
Lausanne, Fondation de l’Hermitage, De Raphaël à Gauguin. Trésors de la collection Jean Bonna, 2015, no. 2.
This drawing is a preparatory study for the third apostle from the right, possibly Simon the Zealot, in Perugino’s altarpiece of the Ascension of Christ, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lyon (figs. 1, 3). Originally installed in the church of San Pietro in Perugia, the large painting is the central panel of a polyptych, Perugino’s most ambitious altarpiece for his city, begun in 1495 and completed between 1496 and January 1500, as confirmed by the stream of payments issued to the artist. The monumental work remained in situ until 1797, when it was dissembled and taken to the Louvre by Napoleonic troops and eventually donated to the city of Lyon by Pope Pius VII in 1815, after having been reassembled.
Fig. 1. Perugino, The Ascension of Christ (detail), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.
Fig. 3. Perugino, The Ascension of Christ, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.
While Perugino followed precise instructions provided by the Benedictine monks of the church of San Pietro regarding the devotional message of the altarpiece, he independently developed the painting’s iconography based upon his most successful work to date, the lost Assumption of the Virgin frescoed in the Sistine Chapel in 1481 which was later concealed by Michelangelo’s Last Judgment. The artist structured The Ascension over two parallel and symmetrical sections, the Resurrected Christ surrounded by angels above, mirrored below by a tight sequence of the twelve apostles flanking the Virgin Mary. The superb pictorial execution and delicate balance between the figures mark a peak in Perugino’s mature career, with the painting hailed by Vasari as 'the best of those [works] in oil by the hand of Pietro that are in Perugia' (Vite, Bettarini and Barocchi, ed., III, Florence, 1971, p. 610).
In order to achieve the painting’s remarkable rhythm and symmetry, Perugino prepared the composition on paper, as attested by at least three surviving autograph drawings directly related to the altarpiece, a considerable number for a work executed in the Quattrocento: two detailed head studies, one in the British Museum (fig. 2) and the present one, and a study for the four standing apostles to the left of the composition at the Harvard Art Museums (A.E. Popham, P. Pouncey, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. The Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries, London, 1950, no. 189, ill; V. Garibaldi, Perugino, il divin pittore, Cinisello Balsamo, 2005, no. II.19, ill). Executed in a different technique from the rest of the group is a workshop drawing for an angel, formerly in the Loyd Collection at Lockinge and often associated with the same endeavor (sold at Sotheby’s, London, 4 July 2018, lot 13).
Fig. 2. Perugino, Head of a bearded man, British Museum, London.
As indicated by the fragmentary sheet at Harvard, the artist established the composition for the entire group of watching figures at the bottom and then made individual, more characterized head studies for each one of them on separate sheets of paper. As seen in the example at the British Museum and the present one, the head studies are surrounded by the silhouetted parts of the overlapping figures. It is difficult to establish why Perugino adopted such way of working: perhaps it originates in his extensive practice as a fresco painter, where he had to think of giornate and cutting cartoons along contours to hide the joins. Certainly, this distinctive technique was copied by his most prominent pupil, Raphael, as can be seen in the early head studies for the Oddi Coronation of the Virgin at the Vatican (fig. 4). In discussing the British Museum drawing in his 1917 seminal work on Umbrian drawings, Oskar Fischel acknowledged the special character of such studies which he called ‘Hilfszeichnungen’, auxiliary drawings conveying certain details of modelling executed to guide the artist in the painting process, after the cartoon has been completed (‘Die Zeichnungen der Umbrer’, Jahrbuch der Preussichen Kunstsammlungen, XXXVIII, 1917, p. 129).
Fig. 4. Raphael, Head of a bearded man, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille.
Sensitively drawn on prepared paper in metalpoint – possibly silver, given its brown hue –, the present drawing appeared with the correct attribution to Perugino in the 1910 sale of the Lanna collection in Stuttgart. It soon entered the Princely collections of Lichtenstein before being acquired by a private collector. Overlooked by scholars, the sheet was recognized and published for the first time by Peter Dreyer (op. cit.) who highlighted the quality of the drawing and Perugino’s masterful command of the metalpoint technique. With sure outlines, the artist defined the apostle’s head and carefully described the expressive features of the man, his eye-sockets and his beard with free, intertwining lines. As typical in the artist’s works, highlights are done in white bodycolor, spread delicately with the tip of the brush.
Belonging to the same type and stage in the preparatory process, the Bonna sheet compares closely to the drawing in the British Museum, a silverpoint study for the head of the younger apostle in the extreme right (fig. 2): from the thin paper, prepared the same way, with seemingly vertical movements of the brush, to the build-up of the heads, first outlined with faint lines in metalpoint and then worked up with crosshatching in order to achieve the roundness of the skulls. Furthermore, the outlines of both drawings were indented for transfer, a recurring practice found especially in Perugino’s metalpoint drawings, also evident on the four apostles at Harvard and in the standing Saint Jerome in the Teylers Museum, executed about the same time of the San Pietro polyptych, ca. 1500 (inv. A3; A. Baldinotti in Perugino, op. cit., no. II.18, ill.).
Perugino learned the demanding and challenging technique of metalpoint, here mastered with confidence, in the Florentine workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, which he joined with Leonardo da Vinci in the mid-1470s. The Umbrian artist employed this medium from then on and extensively through 1505, in preparing both panel paintings and frescoes, disseminating its use beyond Florence through the Central Italian regions of Umbria and the Marches. While it is generally acknowledged the essential role that Perugino played in the formation of the young Raphael, the rediscovery of the Bonna drawing brought new evidence of this legacy, attesting how Raphael’s adoption of metalpoint and use of auxiliary drawings might derive from the teachings of his master.
We thank Sylvia Ferino-Pagden for confirming the attribution to Perugino based on a digital photograph.
The Collection of James and Marilynn Alsdorf. Lot 76. François Boucher (Paris 1703-1770), A nude woman playing a flute, seen from behind, black, red and white chalk with pastel on blue paper, 9 1/2 x 14 in. (24 x 36 cm). Estimate USD 20,000 - USD 30,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
Provenance: Paul de Cayeux de Sénarpont (1884-1964) and Galerie Cailleux, Paris, by descent;
Jean de Cayeux (1913-2009), Paris (L. 4461).
with Matthiesen Gallery, London.
Lord Thomson of Fleet (1923-2006).
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 14 April 1992, lot 161.
Literature: A. Ananoff and D. Wildenstein, François Boucher, Lausanne and Paris, 1976, II, pp. 90-91, under nos. 389-90, fig. 1125.
M. Roland Michel, Le Dessin français au XVIIe siècle, Fribourg, 1987, p. 190, fig. 227.
Exhibited: London, Matthiesen Gallery, Exhibition of French Master Drawings of the 18th Century, 1950, no. 10.
Paris, Galerie Cailleux, Paris, Le Dessin français de Watteau à Prud'hon, April 1951, no. 7.
Paris, Galerie Charpentier, Figures nues de l'école française: depuis les maîtres de Fontainebleau, June 1953 (ill.)
Grasse, Musée Fragonard, Femmes. Dessins de maîtres et petit maîtres du XVIIIme siècles, August 1962, no. 5.
Paris, Galerie Cailleux, Exposition François Boucher, May-June 1964, no. 37.
Note: The Collection of James and Marilynn Alsdorf represents a notable achievement in the history of American connoisseurship. Steadily acquired throughout the latter half of the twentieth century by two of Chicago’s most important civic and cultural patrons, the Collection is unparalleled in its breadth and quality, illuminating the remarkable feats of human artistry across time and geography. For the Alsdorfs, collecting represented a unique opportunity for exploration, adventure, and the pursuit of beauty, extending from the art-filled rooms of their Chicago residence to distant continents and historic lands. The couple’s philosophy of collecting, as Marilynn Alsdorf explained, was simple yet profound: “We looked for objects,” she said, “to delight our eyes and souls….”
From the 1950s, the Alsdorfs were especially ardent patrons of the Art Institute of Chicago, gifting or lending hundreds of works to the museum commencing in the earliest days of their collecting. A longtime AIC trustee, Mrs. Alsdorf served for a time as president of the museum’s Women’s Board, while Mr. Alsdorf served as AIC chairman from 1975 to 1978. The couple’s decades of generosity toward the AIC would extend past Mr. Alsdorf’s death and into the twenty-first century. In 1997, Mrs. Alsdorf presented the AIC with some four hundred works of Southeast Asian art, a transformative bequest celebrated by the landmark exhibition A Collecting Odyssey: Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art from the James and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection. Less than a decade later, Mrs. Alsdorf made yet another monumental gift when she supported the construction of the Alsdorf Galleries of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art.
James and Marilynn Alsdorf, Kenilworth Miami, 1950. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of consignor
Delicately rendered with black and white chalk, this sensually reclining woman exemplifies Boucher mastery at depicting the female nude. The artist achieved the pearl-like shimmer of the woman’s skin by building up layers of white chalk on top of the cream-colored paper, and enhancing it with a light blue background. The figure relates to the painting Nymph playing a flute with putti, signed and dated 1752 (Fig. 1; Ananoff and Wildenstein, op. cit., no. 389, ill.; sold Christie's, London, 7 July 2005, lot 34), where she appears with her back half covered by drapery. Probably based on the Alsdorf drawing is the studio replica of the same picture in the Wallace Collection, where, just as in the drawing, the muse sits on the drapery rather than being covered by it (inv. P481; J. Ingamells, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Pictures, London, 1989, III, no. P481, ill.).
Ingamells wanted to identify the figure with Euterpe, muse of music and lyrical poetry (who is also said to have invented the flute), while Alistair Laing suggested that she might be Thalia, muse of comedy and pastoral poetry, who is sometimes portrayed with musical instruments. The placement of the figure at the center of the sheet and the care given to execution, could indicate that this drawing was made by Boucher as an independent work of art , as argued by Alistair Laing, whom we thank for his assistance and for confirming the attribution to Boucher.
Formerly in the collection of the late Mrs. Vincent Astor. Lot 70. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid), Three studies of a donkey, red and white chalk, 12 1/4 x 18 3/4 in. (31 x 47.6 cm). Estimate USD 250,000 - USD 350,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
Provenance: Possibly acquired from the artist's studio by Armand-François-Louis de Mestral de Saint-Saphorin (1738-1805), Vienna and by descent to Madeleine and Marguerite de Mestral, Saint-Saphorin-sur-Morges, Switzerland;
Dr. Édouard de Cérenville (1875-1968), Lausanne;
with Rudolph J. Heinemann (1901-1975), Lausanne and New York, by 1916-1917.
with Mathias Komor (1909-1985), New York.
Mrs. Vincent Astor (1902-2007), New York, her stamp on the back of the mount (not in Lugt), and by descent to the present owner.
Literature: G, Knox, 'Review of A. Morassi, The Paintings by G.B. Tiepolo', The Burlington Magazine, CV, no. 724, July 1963, p. 328, fig. 57.
G. Knox, 'Tiepolo Drawings from the Saint-Saphorin Collection', in E. Quargnal, ed., Atti del Congresso internazionale di studi sul Tiepolo con un'appendice sulla Mostra, Milan, 1971, pp. 58-63, fig. 15.
G. Knox, Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo. A Study and Catalogue Raisonné of the Chalk Drawings, Oxford, 1980, I, no. K21, II, pl. 265.
Literature: Venice, Ca' Rezzonico and Palazzo ai Giardini, Mostra del Tiepolo, 1951, no. 70 (entry by G. Lorenzetti).
New York, M. Knoedler & Co. Gallery, Great Master Drawings of Seven Centuries. A Benefit Exhibition of Columbia University for the Scholarship Fund of the Department of Fine Arts and Archaeology, 1959, no. 38, pl. XXXVIII (entry by W. Hinkle).
Note: Rarely seen in public since its first appearances at the 1951 Tiepolo exhibition in Venice, this remarkable sheet is part of a small group of preparatory drawings executed by Giovanni Battista during the last decade of his life, spent in Spain between 1762 and 1770.
Portrayed by the artist with vivid naturalism, the Spanish donkey (burro) was precisely linked by Morassi and Knox to a suite of late canvases representing the Flight into Egypt painted by Tiepolo in Madrid and now divided between the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, the Bellagio Study Center – The Rockefeller Foundation, and the Museo de Arte Antigua in Lisbon (K. Christiansen in Giambattista Tiepolo, 1696-1770, exhib. cat., New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996, nos. 57a-d, ill.). While the central and the right-hand animals connect to the paintings in Bellagio and Lisbon respectively, the donkey drawn at far left was used by Tiepolo to accompany the Holy Family both in the painting recently bequeathed to The Metropolitan Museum of Art by the late Jayne Wrightsman (fig.) and in the canvas in Stuttgart.
Fig. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, The Flight into Egypt, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Based on the Gospel of Saint Matthew (2:13-15), the subject of the Flight into Egypt was one of Tiepolo’s favorite, from his earliest paintings of the 1720’s to the very last years of his life, as attested by the works mentioned above. In a spirit of constant exchange between the master and his talented son, Domenico, the series reflects ideas and elements developed by the latter in a series of twenty-four etchings titled Idee pittoresche sopra la fuga in Egitto (Pictorial ideas on the Flight into Egypt) published in 1753. Nevertheless, Tiepolo’s highly evocative journey of the Holy Family translates the artist’s observations from his own journey from Venice to Madrid that took him across the Alps and the Pyrenees.
Remarkable for its size and poignant realism, this drawing, formerly in the collection of Brooke Astor, represents a highlight of Tiepolo’s graphic production in Spain, which remains extremely rare in contrast to the multitude of drawings dating from his years in Venice and Würzburg. Although losses might be taken into account, the scarcity of drawings suggests Tiepolo’s smaller workshop in Madrid, with Domenico and Lorenzo only, in which didactic activity and drawing practice was minimal. Exhibiting all the qualities of Tiepolo’s late chalk drawings – remarkable plasticity, vitality and control of the medium – the Astor sheet can be compared only to a handful of some lively red chalk sheets, like those executed for the paintings in the conventual church of San Pascual at Aranjuez, a Royal commission (see Knox, op. cit., II, figs. 261, 264).
Lot 126. Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775-1851), Mont Blanc from the Bridge of St. Martin, Sallanches, signed 'J M W Turner R.A.' (lower left), pencil and watercolor heightened with bodycolor and gum arabic and with scratching out, 11 ¼ x 15 ¾ in. (28.5 cm. x 40 cm). Estimate USD 200,000 - USD 300,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
Provenance: Lieutenant General Hawkins.
with the Fine Art Society, 1899.
with Knoedler & Co, New York.
Burton Mansfield, Newhaven, Connecticut, 1911.
Mansfield sale, American Art Association, New York, 7th April 1933, lot 20.
Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Jun., New York.
?Abigail Greene Aldrich.
Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 20 November 1984, lot 114 (as ‘Mont Blanc, from the Bridge of St Martin, Sallanches’).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 14 July 1994, lot 130 (as ‘Mont Blanc, from the Bridge of St Martin, Sallanches’), where purchased for the present collection.
Literature: J. Russel, & A. Wilton, Turner in Switzerland, Zurich, 1976, p. 135, no. 17.
A. Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg, 1979, pl. 342, no. 379.
D. Hill, Turner in the Alps. The Journey through France & Switzerland in 1802, London, 1992, p.54.
D. Hill, ‘Turner at Sallanches, 1836’, Sublimesites.co, online.
Exhibited: Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, Annual exhibition held at the Carnegie Institute, 1911, no. 62.
In 1802, aged twenty-seven, Turner seized the opportunity created by the Peace of Amiens to travel to France. But unlike most of his compatriots, instead of remaining in Paris, among the appropriated splendors gathered in the Louvre, he and his companion Newbey Lowson audaciously pressed further south through the politically unstable country to make a tour of the Alps. Their route curled through the province of Savoy and around Mont Blanc, passing down into the Val d’Aosta, before crossing the Great St Bernard Pass into Switzerland, where they visited Lausanne, Berne, Thun, Brienz, Lucerne, with a brief excursion to the St Gothard. After reaching Zurich they headed north once more to return to Paris. Despite Turner’s experience of British mountain scenery in the preceding years, the tour was truly transformative. He filled eight sketchbooks during the journey, recording impressions and scenes that continued to provide inspiration more than twenty years later.
This watercolor has been dated to the years between 1807-09, and has its origins in an elaborate, partly-colored composition study Turner made in the largest volume he was carrying, known as the St Gothard and Mont Blanc sketchbook (Tate D04603; Turner Bequest LXXV 11). It was one of four sketches he made at the villages of St Martin and Sallanches, on the route along the Arve valley between Bonneville and Chamonix, suggesting that he and Lowson interrupted their progress to stay the night. One of the other sketches was made from the rocks beside La Sallanche, a tributary of the Arve, looking across the water in a north-westerly direction to the village itself (Tate D04604; Turner Bequest LXXV 12). It offers a more enclosed viewpoint of the pastoral setting and alpine life, and a contrast to the sublimely epic scale of the view in the opposite direction, up the Arve towards Mont Blanc, in the other sketch.
It was for this prospect, the first clear view of the Mont Blanc massif for many south-bound travellers, that Sallanches became popular with nineteenth century visitors. So it was not surprising that Turner was commissioned to produce watercolors of the subjects in both sketches. While the finished watercolor of the village scene is documented as having been requested by Turner’s foremost patron, the Yorkshireman Walter Fawkes (private collection; Wilton 380), it is not clear whether he also owned the present watercolor, which would have made a natural pendent. A drawing, entitled ‘Near Sallenches, Mont Blanc’ was sold at Christie’s on 14 May 1881 from the C.S. Bale collection, but it is listed with smaller dimensions, and may have been one of Turner’s early copies of views by Cozens or some other artist (R. Graves, Art Sales, p. 236).
When sketching the Mont Blanc subject on the spot Turner very deliberately structured his composition using the group of trees to provide a screen that draws the eye away from the foreground flock and their lush pastures beyond, guiding it up to the pure white snowy peaks of the mountain. He had used a similar idea for one of the designs he created in Scotland the previous year (Tate D03435; TB LVIII 56), and both are implicitly indebted to Rembrandt’s celebrated etching The Three Trees (1643), which Turner went on to praise in his lectures at the Royal Academy as Professor of Perspective.
We are grateful to Ian Warrell for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.
Lot 20. Girolamo Francesco Mazzola, il Parmigianino (Parma 1503-1540 Casalmaggiore), Daniel in the lions' den, red chalk, 3 ½ x 5 7/8 in. (9 x 15 cm). Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 80,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
Provenance: Jonathan Richardson, Sr. (1667-1745), London (L. 2184).
with Zwemmer Gallery, London.
Benedict Nicolson, MVO (1914-1978) and Luisa Vertova, Florence and London.
Literature: A.E. Popham, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum. Artists working in Parma in the Sixteenth Century, London, 1967, I, p. 78, under no. 132
A.E. Popham, Catalogue of the Drawings of Parmigianino, New Haven, 1971, I, p. 101, under no. 228 and no. 753, II, fig. 323.
M. Vaccaro, Parmigianino. I dipinti, Turin, 2002, p. 189, under no. 37 (English ed., Parmigianino. The Paintings, Turin, 2002, p. 189, under no. 37).
A. Gnann, Parmigianino. Die Zeichnungen, Petersberg, 2007, I, p. 343, n. 1033, no. 746, II, no. 746, ill.
D. Cordellier, with L. Angelucci et al., Parmigianino. Dessins du Louvre, exhib. cat., Paris, Musée du Louvre, 2015, p. 137 n. 23 (entry by L. Angelucci).
Exhibited: Edinburgh, The Scottish Arts Council, Merchant's Hall, Italian 16th Century Drawings from British Private Collections, 1969, no. 56.
Note: Emerging from the sheet with remarkable sculptural presence, this study of Daniel in the lions' den was made by Parmigianino or the fresco on the vault of the church of Santa Maria della Steccata, Parma. The artist was initially commissioned to decorate the eastern apse of the newly constructed church in May 1531. However, the colossal decorative task – which included the vault and the underside of the arches between the apse and the dome – was delayed to 1535 and again to August 1539 and left unfinished when the local authorities finally lost patience with the artist, who was arrested and jailed (he was released on bail after a short time).
Parmigianino’s overall decorative idea for the vault was largely dictated by the two rows of fourteen square recessed coffers (lacunari) featured in the sottarchi, which were already in place when he accepted the commission in 1531. Ingeniously, the artist decided to choose these architectural elements as frames to his figural compositions, which featured – as attested by a drawing in the British Museum (Popham, op. cit., 1971, no. 228, ill.) – reclining Old Testament figures enclosed in medallions. The subject chosen for one of these figural insets (the only one developed by the artist) was the prophet Daniel fed by Habakkuk, carried into the lions’ den by an angel.
A group of about ten red chalk drawings (ibid., nos. 139, 235, 236, 239, 397, 433, ill.) records Parmigianino’s struggle to fit this composition into the narrow horizontal space between the coffers. The artist varied the pose and positions of the three main characters, as well as those of the lions surrounding them, alternatively situating the figures to the left or right of Daniel. Initially turned to the right, as seen in the present sheet and in its companion in the Galleria Nazionale of Parma (inv. 510/21; see ibid., no. 549, ill.; and L. Fornari Schianchi, Parmigianino e il manierismo europeo, Parma, 2003, no. 2.3.96, ill.), Daniel occupies here the entire space of the sheet, his body stretched in both directions, while reaching out to take a loaf of bread brought to him by Habakkuk at left. At this stage of the design, the figures were framed by elongated lozenges, just outlined in the present work. An ink sketch in the Louvre (the only one not in red chalk) shows Parmigianino’s final design, where the three figures, seen more distinctly, are enclosed in an oval medallion (op. cit., no. 397; fig.).
Fig. Parmigianino, Daniel in the lions’ den fed by Habakkuk and an angel, Musée du Louvre, Paris.
Lot 102. Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault (Rouen 1791-1824 Paris), The coal wagon (recto); Study of a horse, with a second study of a horse (verso), graphite, pen and gray ink, watercolor (recto), graphite (verso), 7 3/4 x 10 3/4 in. (19.6 x 27.3 cm). Estimate USD 200,000 - USD 300,000. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.
Provenance: Anonymous sale; Galerie Hugo Helbing, Munich, 18 February 1930, lot 66.
M. Suzor, Paris.
Anonymous sale; Audap-Solanet, Paris, 17 June 1994, lot 137.
Jan Krugier (1928-2008), Geneva; Christie's, New York, 5 November 2013, lot 117.
Literature: A. del Guerico, Géricault, Milan, 1963, p. 150, fig. 80.
G. Bazin, Théodore Géricault. Étude critique, documents et catalogue raisonné, Paris, 1997, VII, p. 13, nos. 2168-69, ill.
Exhibited: Paris, Galerie Gobin, Géricault, 1935, no. 61.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Géricault, 1937, no. 142.
Paris, Galerie Dina Vierny, Cent Aquarelles du XIXe siècle, 1947.
Paris, Galerie Bignou, Géricault cet inconnu... Aquarelles, gouaches, dessins, exposition organisée au bénéfice de la Société des amis d'Eugène Delacroix, 1950, no. 56.
London, Marlborough Fine Art, Ltd., Théodore Géricault, 1952 (cover illustration).
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Cent-cinquante ans de dessin, 1952-53, no. 70.
Winterthur, Kunstmuseum, Théodore Géricault, 1953, no. 191, pl. XXI.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Gros, Géricault, Delacroix, 1954, no. 64.
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Linie, Licht und Schatten: Meisterzeichnungen und Skulpturen der Sammlung Jan und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, 1999, no. 78, ill.
Venice, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, The Timeless Eye. Master Drawings from the Jan and Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski Collection, 1999, no. 91, ill.
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miradas sin Tiempo: Dibujos, Pinturas y Esculturas de la Colección Jan y Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, February-May 2000, no. 106, ill.
New York, Jill Newhouse Gallery, Drawings, watercolors and small oils from private collections, 2014.
New York, Michael Altman Fine Art Gallery, In Pursuit of Timeless Quality, 2016.
During his stays in London in 1820 and 1821, Géricault’s fascination for horses and the lower classes of a newly industrialized world led him to study coalmen and other workmen, which seemed ubiquitous in the city, often accompanying wagons drawn by horses. In a large number of works in graphite or watercolor, he immortalized their plight in compositions that often lend a monumental, dramatic quality to their hard work (Bazin, op. cit., nos. 2214-2127, 2131, 2132, 2135, 2149, 2153, 2157, 2157A, 2161, 2164-2166-2171, 2174, 2176-2190 ill.). The present sheet is among the most accomplished and powerful of these works: the wagon and its two horses are depicted at the critical moment when they make a turn, and the coalman is caught in the strenuous effort to make it happen smoothly. This scene is charged with high tension and drama that belies its daily nature, leading Germain Bazin to remark that the drawing evokes ‘almost Michelangelesque strength which recalls the drawings made during the Italian years’ (op. cit., p. 13). A lithograph from 1821 presents a very similar scene in a much less dramatic way (fig.; ibid., no. 2176, ill.).
Fig. Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault, The coal wagon, lithograph, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
A much more analytical and detailed study of a horse in graphite alone is depicted on the verso of the sheet.
NB: Christie’s sale of Old Master & British Drawings Including Works from the Collection of Jean Bonna totaled $5,540,750, with 83% sold by value and 73% sold by lot. The top lot of the sale was Canaletto’s View of the South front of Warwick Castle, from the Collection of J.E. Safra, which realized $915,000.
Artist records for works on paper were established for Perugino’s Head of a bearded man, which sold for $855,000 against an estimate of $200,000-300,000; Elisabetta Sirani’s Self-portrait, which achieved $43,750, against an estimate of $5,000-7,000; and for Baron Gérard’s The Death of Malvina, which realized $350,000, against an estimate of $30,000-40,000.
Strong prices were also achieved for Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s rare Study for three donkeys from the collection of the late Brooke Astor, which sold for $555,000 above its estimate of $250,000-350,000. Luca Signorelli’s A young man seen from behind, cloaked, with a study of a young woman resting on her hand, from the collection of Terry Allen Kramer, which totaled $375,000 against an estimate of $50,000-70,000.