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Giambattista Nolli (Como 1701–1756 Rome), La Nuova Pianta di Roma, 1748, etching, second state, 1912 x 2190 mmCourtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Today, Nicholas Hall opens Hub of the World: Art in 18th Century Rome, organized in association with the Milanese Galleria Carlo Orsi. Presented at the Upper East Side gallery in New York, the exhibition celebrates the legacy of esteemed American scholar, connoisseur, and artist Anthony M. Clark (1923–1976), whose centenary falls in 2023.

Considered one of the most influential and admired museum professionals of his generation, Clark’s taste for art made in 18th century Rome and Italian painter Pompeo Batoni made a profound impact on American collecting trends in the 1950s and 1960s. The exhibition will bring together more than 60 works by artists who lived in or traveled to Rome in the 18th century, and will be complemented by a selection of Clark’s personal notebooks and a portrait photograph on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.

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Sir Joshua Reynolds (Plympton 1723 – 1792 London), Caricature of Lord Bruce, Thomas Brudenell-Bruce, later 1st Earl of Aylesbury; the Hon. John Ward; Joseph Leeson, Jnr., later 2nd Earl of Milltown; and Joseph Henry of Straffan, 1751, oil on canvas, 58.7 x 43.6 cmCourtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

After graduating from Harvard, Clark’s distinguished career began in 1955 at the Rhode Island School of Design before he went on to prominent curatorial roles at the National Gallery of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, of which he later became director. He also taught art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, N.Y.U. and Williams College, Williamstown. During his tenure at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and Metropolitan Museum of Art, Clark made significant acquisitions for the institutions and organized world-class exhibitions as a pioneering American scholar of 18th century Rome.

The Hub of the World will bring to light the fundamental role Clark played in the revival of interest among American museums in collecting work from this period. Clark deeply believed in the importance of Roman Settecento painting, drawing and sculpture, and this passion is brilliantly reflected in his scholarship and writings. As a curator, he consistently created a historic context for art by showing sculpture and decorative arts alongside paintings and drawings at a time when it was customary to maintain a ‘hierarchy’ of the arts by studying and displaying the mediums separately.

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Claude Michel, known as Clodion (Nancy 1738–1814 Paris), Love Taming Fortitude, 1765–70, terracotta, H 23.6 x W 28 x D 9.4 cm, signed on the back of the pedestal: ‘Clodion’ with inverted letter N. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

Tragically Clark succumbed to a heart attack at age 53 while jogging in his favorite city where, at the time, he was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. Born in Philadelphia, Clark worked closely with curators at the Philadelphia Museum of Art over the course of his career and, in 2000, the PMA—in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston—mounted The Splendor of 18th Century Rome, which was dedicated to his memory.

Anthony Clark was a larger-than-life character who changed the way we look at Old Masters. He rescued the art of 18th century Rome from obscurity by dint of his own personal enthusiasm and brilliant scholarship. He had enormous personal charm; the son of the owner of two works in the exhibition remembers how, as a boy, he enjoyed Clark's visits to see his parents. Clark, an avid ornithologist, later bequeathed to him a stuffed Green Woodpecker,” said Nicholas Hall. “Our exhibition is an homage to a great scholar, a tastemaker and a dedicated museum professional."

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Giuseppe Cades (Rome 1750–1799 Rome), Achilles Discovered by Odysseus among the Daughters of Lycomedes, early 1770s, black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown and grey wash, framing lines in black chalk on paper, 465 x 647 mm, signed in pen and brown ink, recto, lower right: ‘Giuseppe Cadese / Roma’; watermark: fleur-de-lys in a coat of arms. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

Hub of the World highlights the richness of the culture of 18th century Rome with its extraordinary mixture of patronage–from Popes and Cardinals, Roman aristocrats and visiting foreigners–that attracted the likes of German writer and poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, from whom the exhibition borrows its title. Goethe deemed Rome the “hub of the world”, writing that “the entire history of the world is linked up with this city…” Hall and Orsi have gathered a diverse selection of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and decorative arts that will provide a rare opportunity to experience the cosmopolitan appeal of 18th century Rome.

Hub of the World will be headlined by View of the Villa Medicis by Hubert Robert (Paris 1733-1808), painted in 1759 during the artist's transformative time working in Rome and on loan from the Assadour O. Tavitian Trust. A recent discovery, the exceptional work has rarely been on view to the public--previously only exhibited in the U.S. briefly at the National Gallery of Art.

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Hubert Robert (Paris 1733–1808 Paris), Colonnade and Gardens at the Villa Medici, 1759, oil on canvas, 75 x 63.8 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

Other works on view will include the Hemp Harvest in Caserta executed by Jackob Philipp Hackert for the King of Naples; a portrait of the Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico by Anton Raphael Mengs that remained in the sitter’s family until the last decade; a unique view of the Villa Albani by Vanvitelli–who, alongside Piranesi, produced some of the most memorable images of 18th century Rome–recorded in the inventory of Cardinal Albani; painted by Angelika Kauffmann, a pair of oil on coppers based on James Thomson’s pastoral poetry that newly resurfaced from a private Kenyan collection; a caricature painting by Joshua Reynolds R.A. recently discovered at the estate where it has hung for over two centuries; A Vestal by Jacques-Louis David painted in Rome; a harbor scene painted on copper by Claude Joseph Vernet; Anton von Maron’s portrait of two English gentlemen before the Arch of Constantine; the ‘Rockingham Silenus’, a 1st century sculpture reworked by the celebrated Roman sculptor Bartolomeo Cavaceppi; a set of candelabras in the form of Antonius-Osirus by Luigi Valadier and a console table designed by Antonio Asprucci, made for the Egyptian Room in the Palazzo Borghese. The exhibition pays tribute to Clark as an expert on Pompeo Batoni, represented by a painting of Saint Louis Gonzaga and its preparatory drawing in red chalk, among several other works. Once belonging to Clark, a painting of the artist Paolo de Matteis by Pier Leone Ghezzi, will also be showcased.

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Gaspar van Wittel, known as Vanvitelli (Amersfoort 1653–1736 Rome), The ‘Casino’ of Cardinal Annibale Albani on the Via Aurelia, 1719, oil on canvas, 74 x 135 cm, signed and dated, lower left, upon the wall: ‘Gaspar Van Wittel 1719′. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

In conjunction with the exhibition, Nicholas Hall and Galleria Carlo Orsi will publish a fully illustrated catalogue, which will include original essays by Italian art experts and renowned historians Edgar Peters Bowron, Alvar Gonzáles-Palacios, Melissa Beck Lemke, and J. Patrice Marandel.

Nicholas Hall Gallery, Hub of the World: Art in 18th Century Rome, October 6th, 2023 - November 30th, 2023

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Andrea Appiani (Milan 1754–1817 Milan), Portrait of Antonio Canova, 1803, oil on paper laid on canvas, 41.3 x 31.5 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

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Pier Leone Ghezzi (Rome 1674 – 1755 Rome), Four Samples of Classical Polychrome Marbles, 1726, watercolor on paper; from top left clockwise: ‘Diaspro Verde Fiorito, 165 x 210 mm - ‘Bianco e negro antico’,195 x 240 mm - ‘Broccatello’, 190 x 215 mm - ‘Alabastro Orientale’,190 x 230 mm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

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Anton von Maron (Vienna 1733–1808 Rome), Portrait of Two English Gentlemen Before the Arch of Constantine, 1767, oil on canvas, 137 x 100.5 cm, signed and dated: ‘Maron fe Rom 1767’. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

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Louis-Jean Desprez (Auxerre 1743–1804 Stockholm), Pope Pius VI at the Ceremony of the ‘Papal Chapel of the Annunciation’ on 25 March 1784, 1784, brown ink and wash on paper, 457 x 864 mm, inscribed, recto, lower left: ‘Deprés Cab. De Schaper 1953 No 53.’Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery 

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Jakob Philipp Hackert (Prenzlau 1737–1807 Florence), Hemp Harvest in Caserta, 1787, oil on canvas, 100 x 136 cm, signed, lower right on the bridge: ‘Ph.Hackert, pinx : Caserta 1787’; inscribed, lower right: ‘La Canapa in macerazione a Ponte a Carbonajo’. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

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Pier Leone Ghezzi (Rome 1674–1755 Rome), Paolo de Matteis in his Studio, 1732, oil on canvas, 39.5 x 29.5 cm, signed, top, center: ‘Ritratto di Paolo/De Matteis, Pittore/Napoletano, fatto dà/Me, Cav Ghezzi, il di 8/Marzo 1726, il quale/fù Scolaro di Luca/Giordano Pittore Na/poletano’. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Anton Raphael Mengs (Aussig 1728 – 1779 Rome), Portrait of Cardinal Carlo Rezzonico, 1758-59, oil on canvas, 154.4 x 113.2 cmCourtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Luigi Valadier (Rome 1726–1785 Rome), Pair of Monumental Seven Light Candelabra Depicting Antinous-Osiris, 1780, patinated and gilt bronze, grey marble. H 105 x D 45 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Angelika Kauffmann (Chur 1741–1807 Rome), Celadon and Amelia (Summer) and Palemon and Lavinia (Autumn), 1781, oil on copper, oval, 31.8 x 25.4 cm. Palemon and Lavinia inscribed, verso: ‘WHITTOW & LARGE / SHOE LANE LONDON’Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

In gilded period frames each with an oval insert, laurel vine and pearl decoration, probably original and evidently made by the frame maker David Moss (active in London around 1790 – 1802). This is indicated by a label on another picture with the same frame from the same collection.

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Pompeo Batoni (Lucca 1708–1787 Rome), St. Louis Gonzaga, ca. 1744, oil on canvas, oval, in an 18th-century frame, 81 x 67 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Antonio Giorgetti (Rome 1635­–1669 Rome), Head of an Angel, 1668, terracotta; H 40 cmCourtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Jacques-Louis David (Paris 1748–1825 Brussels), A Vestal, 1788-90, oil on canvas, 81.1 x 65.4 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Claude-Joseph Vernet (Avignon 1714 – 1789 Paris), A Mediterranean harbor at Sunset with Fisherfolk at the Water’s Edge, a Lighthouse and a Man of War at Anchor in the Bay, 1761, oil on copper, 56.8 x 74.3 cm, signed and dated, lower right: ‘J. Vernet.f/1761. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Domenico Corvi (Viterbo 1721–1803 Rome), The Liberation of the Apostle Peter, 1770, oil on canvas, 63 x 49 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Pier Leone Ghezzi (Rome 1674 – 1755 Rome), L’Abbé Conti, 1729 – 30, pen and brown ink on paper, 315 x 200 mm, inscribed, verso, lower left: ‘M. L’Ab. Conti / M. L’Ab. Conti’; watermark: three vertical circles topped with a crown, from top to bottom, each encircling a cross, ‘SP’ and ‘I’. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Corrado Giaquinto (Malfetta 1703­–1765 Naples), The Trinity Crowning the Virgin, 1740, oil on canvas, 99 x 65 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Antonio Asprucci (Rome 1732–1808 Rome), Table from the Egyptian Room in the Palazzo Borghese, 1803, carved, gilt and painted wood in the imitation of Aswan granite, Oriental alabaster top, H 94 x W 128 x D 66 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

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Domenico Corvi (Viterbo 1721–1803 Rome), The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, 1770, oil on canvas, 62 x 48 cm, inscribed, bottom left: ‘199’. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.

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Anonymous Roman artist, 1st century and Bartolomeo Cavaceppi (Rome ca. 1716–1799 Rome), The Rockingham Silenus Riding a Goat, 1st century A.D. with restorations by Cavaceppi, 1760, marble, H 50.8 x W 42.5 x D 20.2 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery

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Giovan Gioseffo dal Sole (Bologna 1654–1719 Bologna), Cain Killing Abel, 1700, oil on copper, 48 x 37.2 cm. Courtesy Nicholas Hall Gallery.