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Cuellar & Sons


Cuellar & Sons

In the Art - Trade Since 1855


Contact Details The Cuellar Gallery opens in September 2013 at the Zähringerplatz 11, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Arturo Cuellar 0041442812181 arturo@cuellar.com for music: arturocuellar.com for art dealing: cuellarandsons.com

Salomon Cuellar 00447514802524

salomon@salomoncuellar.com salomoncuellar.com

Im Bürgli, Bürglistrasse 18, 8002 Zürich


Acknowledgments My great-grandfather, Fritz Nathan, and grandparents, Barbara and Peter Nathan, would have been delighted to know that all in our family are artistically active and that art is continually important to us. I am grateful to Gabrielle Nathan for her company and encouragement. I will always be infinitely grateful to my parents. The teamwork and spirit of our family is strong thanks to Corinne and Arturo's incredible efforts.  I am very grateful to my brothers Baltasar, an amazing poet and writer, and Johannes, a brilliant violinist. I am very grateful to Molly Kauffmann who always corrected my essays, while I was at the Courtauld Institute of Art. Thanks to her my essays had consistency as she would often cut through half of my waffle. I am also thankful to Sascha, Michael and the whole Kauffmann family. The friendship between the two families spans over four generations. I would like to thank Karen Cohen, who has been a great friend and inspiration, and Arthur Cohen. I learned a lot by listening carefully to them. I am very grateful to Brigitte and Jean-Philippe Hottinguer. I would also like to thank Caroline and Noël Annesley for their great support.  This catalogue would not exist without the work, vision and commitment of Bojana Popovic and Jasmine Chohan. I would also like to thank Fruszina Bekefi and Jakub Koguciuk for their texts. Thank you, Salomon


Baltasar Lobo Zamora 1910 - 1993 Paris Centaur and Woman, 1977 Bronze sculpture, 17 x 22 x 13 cm

Baltasar Lobo the renowned Spanish sculptor began his artistic career in Spain but, with the outbreak of the Civil War, moved to Paris in 1939. This busy cultural metropolis exposed Lobo to the artistic influence of Constantin Brancusi and Jean Arp as well as Pablo Picasso, Jacques Lipchitz and Henri Laurens. It did not take Lobo long to make his name known. In 1945 his art was exhibited at the Galerie Vendôme on the Rue de la Paix beside the works of Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Maurice Utrillo and Pablo Picasso.1 His contribution to the exhibition Maîtres contemporains at the Galerie Vendôme in Paris in 1945 was followed by exhibitions of his works in Oslo, Brussels, Zurich, Luxembourg and Tokyo. Moreover, in 1960 the Museum of Modern Art in Madrid honoured Lobo with a major retrospective. During his lifetime his works gained much recognition for their aesthetic beauty and intellectual clarity. The fact that he had more than fifty solo exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums around the world during his career stands as testimony of his success. Furthermore, 1984 saw Lobo receiving the Spanish National Prize for Sculpture and in 1998 a museum in Zamora, Spain dedicated to his art was opened to act as a permanent reminder of the artist’s remarkable career.2 Lobo was an artist who lived for his work and his wife always maintained that his sculptures were the children they never had.3 Each sculpture was imbued with love and in this case was given away with love. The Centaur and the Woman, presented by the artist to Arturo and Corinne Cuellar-Nathan as a wedding gift, speaks beautifully to the theme closest to the heart: untameable love. The pair is shown enraptured in their embrace; while the woman throws back her head in ecstasy the centaur kisses her neck and caresses her breast. The heat of passion is wonderfully illustrated in the contortion of their entwined figures which gradually merge into one fluid mass joined through their everlasting embrace. Where one of the figures ends and the other begins is almost indistinguishable. This is further emphasized in the constant undulation of the sinuously curving lines. One can follow the flow 1

Connaught Brown, Exhibition Catalogue Baltasar Lobo October-November 2004 (London, 2004), p. 16 F. Elgar, Lobo Sculptures - Villand and Galanis, (Paris, 1962), p. 27 3 Connaught Brown, Exhibition Catalogue Baltasar Lobo October-November 2004 (London, 2004), p. 16 2


from the muscular male arm round the twisted neck of his lover, across her shoulder and down the centaur’s rounded back to flow back to his hand through the winding contour of his tail. This cyclical composition with its repetition of circular forms emphasizes the flowing love passing through this couple. The central theme of unbridled love is embodied in the centaur – a mythological creature whose symbolic meaning has often been equated to lust and a fiery temperament. Although centaurs were frequently portrayed kidnapping women for their own entertainment in Greek mythology, Lobo captures the wild emotions erupting between the two lovers through gestures which confirm their mutual attraction. The artist depicts the moment of feverous intimacy in a way that renders the lovers completely and utterly consumed by love. Like a number of artists it was not through purely abstraction or non-abstraction that Lobo defined himself and his art. Although his sculptures never lost touch with reality, they tilted towards abstraction in their reductionist style, heavily outlined curved shapes and flawlessly polished surfaces. This sculpture beautifully represents the artistic notions that lay at the heart of Lobo’s oeuvre. ‘Rejecting exact anatomy in favour of expression and balance,’4 Lobo’s sculptures are about purifying materials to reveal the forms contained within them. Usually he worked on his sculptures for months, sometimes years, until they were infused with their own life, and managed to achieve the highest expression through the most elegant simplicity.5 Despite their graceful appearance, ‘the breath of life passes through the veins of the marble or makes the tears of the bronze vibrate’.6 Nature was not a model for Lobo but instead, something for him to recreate, to bring to life again through the power of his imagination and his craft.7 This beautiful sculpture of the embracing centaur and woman captures Baltasar Lobo’s style wonderfully but at the same time, is a unique work in its significance – a wedding gift embodying the feelings of uninhibited love any friend would wish to bestow upon a wedded couple. Bojana Popovic

4

Connaught Brown, Exhibition Catalogue Baltasar Lobo October-November 2004 (London, 2004), p. 16 F. Elgar, Lobo Sculptures - Villand and Galanis, (Paris, 1962), p. 32 6 Ibid 7 Ibid 5


Baltasar Lobo Zamora 1910 - 1993 Paris Theseus and the Minotaur, 1978 Bronze sculpture, 58 x 25 x 23 cm The Greek mythological story of Theseus and the Minotaur recounts the contest between Man and Beast which was subsequently frequently represented in Greek art. The Minotaur is described as a creature with the head of a bull and the body of a man or, in the words of Roman poet Ovid, “part man and part bull”. According to legend he resided in the middle of a vast and elaborate labyrinth in Crete, designed by the architect Daedalus at King Minos of Crete’s command. The Minotaur threatened the people of Crete by feeding off their youth but was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus who entered the labyrinth by offering himself up as sacrifice. This bronze sculpture by Baltasar Lobo (1910-1993) captures the moment of intense struggle as Theseus and the Minotaur wrestle. The stillness and controlled temperament characteristic of most of Lobo’s sculptures is ruptured by the slightly cruder technique used to manipulate the bronze here. The unfinished appearance around the base of the sculpture emphasizes their movement - especially the abrupt, jarred movement of their entwined feet. The struggle is a fleeting moment frozen in bronze that culminates in the powerful gesture of one clenched fist trying to escape through the other’s clutches – the highest point of the composition. Lobo does not mask the fervour of the scene through endless polishing to achieve his typically flawless surfaces. Instead the sculptor’s marks are left visible, almost as an artistic gesture to Michelangelo’s sculpture of the classical battle between Lapiths and Centaurs - Battle of the Centaurs. Both works share a certain aesthetic quality in their acknowledgement of their medium. Lobo’s figures rise up from the mass of bronze at their feet in the same way that Michelangelo’s struggling figures emerge from the harshly cut marble. ‘Rejecting exact anatomy in favour of expression and balance,’8 is typical of most of Lobo’s sculptures and the way he renders Theseus and the Minotaur is no exception. The hero is reduced to a series of curved volumetric shapes whilst the Minotaur, recognisable by his bull-like features, is equally simplified in form. The beast’s wide eyes, gaping mouth and large nostrils emphasise his animalistic 8

Connaught Brown, Exhibition Catalogue Baltasar Lobo October-November 2004 (London, 2004), p. 32


appearance and Lobo gives prominence to these areas by adding heavy outlines and striations in a stylised way. However, this level of detail is less common in Lobo’s bronze sculptures. Generally cast in small editions, Lobo’s work in this material bespeaks the artist’s sensual grasp of form and medium.9

Bojana Popovic

9

F. Elgar, Lobo Sculptures - Villand and Galanis, (Paris, 1962), p. 35


Baltasar Lobo Zamora 1910 - 1993 Paris Seated Woman, Crossed Hands, 1984 Bronze Sculpture, 140 x 90 x 55 cm This sculpture entitled Seated Woman, Crossed Hands is an eloquent example of Lobo’s style. The majority of his sculptures depict women and this is no exception. Like most of his works, this bronze figure shows the artist’s wish to condense the multiple appearances of people into a single, unique body that forms an identity of its own through the process of eliminating identity itself. The rounded pneumatic limbs, elongated sinuous neck and subtly structured face of the seated woman, give an overall extremely stylized appearance. Although modernist in this way, the balance and gravitas created by the beautification and simplification of the human form, retains characteristics typical of Greek classical sculptures. However disciplined and succinct Lobo’s sculptures are, ‘the breath of life passes through the veins of the marble or makes the tears of the bronze vibrate.’10 The less movement he instils in his pieces, the less they seem inert.11 In interviews he remarked that he could never give a reason why he produced the works he did in the way he did and instead said it was a natural impulse, which, like anything spontaneous, could change at any given time.12 In the words of Nietzsche, ‘art does not require justification’ and Lobo is certainly a supporter of such ideas. Like a number of artists it was not through purely abstraction or non-abstraction that Lobo defined himself and his art. Although his sculptures never lose touch with reality, they tilt towards abstraction in their reductionist style, heavily outlined simplified shapes and flawlessly polished surfaces. During his lifetime his works gained much recognition for their aesthetic beauty and intellectual clarity. The sculpture ‘Seated woman with hands crossed’ was included in the exhibition catalogue for the Lobo exhibition at the Nathan Gallery in Zurich from the 23rd of April to the 13th of July 1985 and also in the exhibition there from the 3rd of November 1995 to the 23rd of March 1996. Furthermore, this sculpture was also exhibited in the open air exhibition in Madrid in December 2008.

10

Ibid W. Scharf, Baltasar Lobo, (Frankfurt, 1980), p. 42 12 H. Parmelin, Lobo Sculptures 1962-64, (Paris, 1964), p. 108 11

Bojana Popovic


Baltasar Lobo Zamora 1910 - 1993 Paris Spanish Woman Wearing a Head Scarf, 1948 Drawing signed in the top left corner, dated on the back, ink wash, ink and pencil on paper, 43.5 x 30 cm Though most renowned for his elegant sculptures, Lobo also produced an impressive collection of drawings on paper. During his beach holiday at La Ciotat in 1946, he produced a rich series of drawings, watercolours and sculptures based on the subject of mothers and children. This beautiful study of a Spanish woman with her dark Iberian features wearing a traditional folk headscarf contains a melancholic wistfulness, perhaps an echo of the artist’s own nostalgia. Lobo produced this drawing around 1948 after living in Paris for almost a decade having fled Spain to avoid Franco’s regime. Though Paris’ lively art scene offered fertile grounds for Lobo’s art to grow in new directions, both his sculptures and drawings retained elements from his past - either in the imagery they evoked or the style of their rendering. In this drawing, both elements mingle to create a distinct Spanish spirit. Through the use of a pencil and ink combined with an ink wash, Lobo magnificently captures the light falling on the figure’s face. The hatching technique used to build up areas of shadow is softened by the ink wash, but not eradicated or masked. These striations almost give the effect of chisel marks and the deep eye-lids, and large round eyes add to the impression of a sculpted face. Even in his drawings, Lobo’s mastery as a sculptor leaves its traces. The Spanish woman’s distinct features defined through dark confident lines, evokes the art of Pablo Picasso, as does the style of the drawing. Amongst the first people Lobo contacted for support upon arriving in Paris, Picasso shared and supported the Spaniard’s politics. His art inevitably impacted Lobo’s and this influence is perhaps most eloquently portrayed in the artist’s drawings. Indeed, looking at Spanish Woman Wearing a Head Scarf Picasso’s early style of portraiture comes to mind. Bojana Popovic


Federico Zuccaro Sant’ Angelo in Vado 1540 - 1609 Ancône David and Goliath (recto), Female Nude and Geese (verso) Red chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, 30.4 x 25.2 cm

Described as ‘one of the most important and influential painters of the late 16th century in Italy’, Federico Zuccaro made his name known by working on a series of prominent commissions throughout his artistic career.1 Most notably, he painted in England for Queen Elizabeth I, for King Philip II in Spain, and in nearly every important court in Italy. From 1560 to 1563 he aided his brother Taddeo with the adornment of the Casino of Pius IV and the Belvedere in the Vatican. Before returning to Rome, his home town, he spent three years in Venice and Florence. Federico travelled considerably between 1574 and 1575, after which, in 1579, he completed the decoration for the cupola of the Duomo in Florence that Vasari had begun. The next year he contributed to the decoration of the Vatican’s Cappella Paolina prior to leaving for Venice, where he worked from 1582 to 1584. This particular drawing David and Goliath, has been dated by James Mundy as being from 1580s - falling into the period when Federico was active in Rome. Despite there being no direct correlation between the drawing on the recto and any paintings, the figure of David has been perceived as being similar to that of Hercules slaying Cacus in the Palazzo Zuccaro. However, unlike typical depictions of Hercules, the youth portrayed in the drawing, brandishes a large sword as opposed to a club. On the verso, the red-chalk sketch of a female nude and geese has been linked to Annibale Caro’s programme for the Camera dell’Aurora at Caprarola. The proposal shows that in the grotteschi there would have been figures with animals including geese and birds that act as harbingers for the arrival of dawn. Federico Zuccaro was an outstanding draughtsman, skilful in both pen and chalk, ‘whose drawings reveal a highly original and inventive artist’.2 His studies on paper in particular are drawn with a vitality and vigour that renders them particularly stunning examples of the Renaissance values of disegno and invenzione.3 ‘The idea that a drawing was not merely a disposable stage in workshop procedures, but could be seen as an object worth preserving and admiring for its own artistic 1

S. Ongpin, An Exhibition of Master Drawings, (New York, 2002), p. 14 S. Ongpin, ibid 3 L.B. Alberti, Translator C.Grayson, On Painting (Book 2), (London, 1991), p. 52 2


and aesthetic qualities, seems to have been developed in Italy around 1500.’4 The rise of ‘presentation’ drawings, produced in the place of painting but with the same aesthetic worth, developed because of the growing realization of their artistic value.5 The technique used in the drawing of David and Goliath shows that this particular drawing was not a spontaneous quick sketch, but a planned work most likely used as the final stage of preparation for a painting. Federico uses both pen and ink, a wash and red chalk which shows us that he wished to develop the drawing to a highly finished stage. Since quill is an untreated material, it is supple and malleable, giving the line a fluid vivacity that creates distinct dynamism in the forms.6 Federico, aware of these qualities, exploited them to produce a sense of movement and life in his characters. The twisted form of the fallen Goliath with his muscular arms attempting to raise his body of the ground indicate that the drawing is meant to capture the moments just after David has beheaded his enemy. Life itself ebbs away from the muscular figure just as the watered-down ink itself appears to flow out of him like blood. The very specific pose of Goliath seems to hark back to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Ceiling fresco depicting the same scene just before the youth strikes his opponent. Although Michelangelo positions the viewer behind Goliath’s back, the body language of the fallen giant appears remarkably similar. Furthermore, Michelangelo gives context to his scene through the inclusion of one solitary white tent behind the action in the foreground, and Zuccaro, in a similar way incorporates tents into his composition. Although it is not obvious that Federico was making a conscious reference to Michelangelo, the artist certainly visited the Sistine Chapel and the phenomenon of learning to draw by copying from observation was popular at the time. Two aspects make Federico’s drawing extraordinary; its marvellous graphic quality and the enthralling story it tells. ‘A salient feature of Federico’s art is his wonderful power of observation – perhaps most obviously in the subtlety and clarity with which he captures the effects of light through the use of thin washes and blank reserves of paper’.7 Through hatching he manages to give his forms volume and yet maintains the liveliness of his fleeting scene by drawing in thin, scratchy pen lines that gives the effect of figures flickering in and out of focus. The crowd of soldiers in the background on the left appear to walk into the scene, gesticulating at the unfolding events in front of them. All of the spindly figures in the background, however, are merely subtly indicated through faint flicks of the pen that make their presence known. Federico emphasizes the action happening between the central two protagonists through the pyramidal composition as well as the greater level of detail. The artist’s ‘powers of observation are also evident in the wealth of narrative detail packed into many of his scenes’ – all of which brings the compositions to life. Compared to his brother Taddeo’s works, Federico’s style was perceived less dramatic and his compositions were deemed ‘tidier, with less 4

F. Ames-Lewis Drawing in Early Renaissance Italy (London, 2000), p. 21 M. Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style, (Oxford, 1988), pp. 42-46 6 F. Ames-Lewis, ibid 7 J. Brooks, Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro: Artist-Brothers in Renaissance Rome, (Los Angeles, 2007), pp. 24-26 5


robust figures, a greater interest in decorative effect, and occasionally complex iconography’. He undoubtedly answered the Catholic Church’s demands for a more iconic art defined by clarity. Federico was renowned for being an art theorist as much as a painter during his lifetime and greatly affected the training of young artists in Rome at the time. He did this by triggering reforms in the artists’ academy in Florence, emphasizing the importance of copying from old masters, and by developing the artists’ academy in Rome (Accademia di San Luca) where he was the first principal.8 The ideology promoted by the Academia di San Luca by Federico Zuccaro - copying after the antique - made a lasting impact on Federico’s artistic oeuvre too. His interest in classical antiquity is even evident in his drawing of David and Goliath, as can be seen in the costume and weapons of the soldiers. Bojana Popovic

Provenance An unidentified collector’s mark HL Anonymous sale Christie’s, 29 November 1983, lot 16, illustrated Collection of Duke Roberto Ferretti

Exhibitions Drawings from the Collection of Duke Roberto Ferretti, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 1985, Nr. 21 From Renaissance to Baroque: Italian Master Drawings by the Zuccari 15501600, 1990, Art Mueseum, Milwaukee, National Acadademy of Design, New York, Nr. 82

8

J. Brooks, ibid


Federico Zuccaro Sant’ Angelo in Vado 1540 - 1609 Ancône Saints and Angels in the Clouds, around 1576

Brown and grey ink, brown and pink wash, partly heightened with white This drawing by Federico Zuccaro was rendered as a plan for the ceiling fresco in the dome of the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Duke Cosimo I de’Medici ordered the dome to be decorated with scenes from The Last Judgement and its design was begun in 1568 by Giorgio Vasari. After his death the enormous fresco was continued by Federico Zuccaro, an artist described as ‘one of the most important and influential painters of the late 16th century in Italy’1. The upper section depicting The Twenty-four Elders of the Apocalypse was finished by Vasari before his death in 1574 and Federico Zuccaro, together with a few collaborators, completed the rest. In this study Zuccaro uses the trapezoid structure from the planes of the octagonal dome to create the outline of his composition. This enclosed shape creates unity and cohesion in the arrangement of figures moving across the surface. The composition of the fresco, therefore, incorporates the architectonic form of the vault’s eight sections and makes no attempt to mask this structure through illusionistic painting. This scene depicts angels bearing Christ’s cloak and is located in the third zone above the personification of Lucifer. Zuccaro’s studies on paper are particularly stunning examples of the Renaissance values of disegno and invenzione.2 The fact that Federico used pen and ink, a wash, red chalk, and even white heightening in some areas, shows that this drawing was the result of later stages of planning. The composition seems to have been worked out previously as there are limited traces of any changes in artistic decision. Although the technique shows that this particular drawing was not a spontaneous quick sketch, his figures retain a sense of lively vivacity. Some of the characters, such as the angels furthest away, appear more sketchily rendered and the spindly gestural flicks of the quill suggest a more impulsive attitude. Since quill is an untreated material, it is supple and malleable, giving the line a fluid energy that creates 1 2

S. Ongpin, ibid, p. 14 L.B. Alberti, Translator C.Grayson, On Painting (Book 2), (London, 1991), p. 43


distinct dynamism in the forms.3 Federico, aware of these qualities, exploited them to produce a sense of movement and life in his characters. ‘A salient feature of Federico’s art is his wonderful power of observation – perhaps most obviously, in the subtlety and clarity with which he captures the effects of light through the use of thin washes and blank reserves of paper’.4 Indeed, in this drawing Zuccaro indicates areas of shadow through the use of a wash but also by going over some of the defining lines. Four of the largest angels in the upper half of the composition are given emphasis through the greater level of detail. Their contours are given more gravitas through their more defined outlines and greater levels of contrast. This is achieved by Zuccaro’s use of white heightening on the lightest areas of the body as shown on the thigh and the arm of the cherub holding Christ’s cloak. The red chalk employed behind the row of angels that define the sides of the composition, indicates the blue colour used in contrast to the golden yellow background in most of the heavenly scenes. Looking at the finished fresco, one can distinguish that the two angels in the top corners of the drawing are positioned in such a way as they correlate with those in the fresco; these large cherubs appear to hold up the illusionistic architectural frieze that makes up the top structure of the dome design. Zuccaro’s outstanding draughtsmanship is beautifully captured in his drawings which reveal him as being ‘a highly original and inventive artist’.5 Looking at his preliminary studies for the frescoes one can see that even the smallest details were planned in numerous stages. There are in fact four more versions of this particular part of the dome’s design. One of these is now in the Albertina in Vienna. Another similar drawing is in the Museum of Art at the University of Michigan and the third is in the Uffizi in Florence. The fourth sheet was auctioned at Sotheby’s in November 1972. Veronica Birch and James Mundy, Vassar College, confirmed the attribution to Federico Zuccaro. Compared to his brother Taddeo’s works, Federico’s style was perceived as less dramatic and his compositions were deemed ‘tidier, with less robust figures, a greater interest in decorative effect, and occasionally complex iconography’.6 He undoubtedly answered the Catholic Church’s demands for a more iconic art defined by clarity. This is captured most emphatically in what is considered Federico’s greatest work – the Santa Maria del Fiore frescos. Bojana Popovic

3

F. Ames-Lewis, Drawing in Early Renaissance Italy (London, 2000), p. 32 J. Brooks, Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro: Artist-Brothers in Renaissance Rome, (Los Angeles, 2007), pp. 22-23 5 S. Ongpin, ibid, p. 15 6 J. Brooks, Taddeo and Federico Zuccaro: Artist-Brothers in Renaissance Rome, (Los Angeles, 2007), p. 36 4


Provenance Collection of Nicholas Lanier Collection of Sir Peter Lely Unknown Collector’s initials CR, bottom right


Guido Reni Calvenzano 1575-1642 Bologna The Head of a Bearded Man Looking Down, around 1620 With inscription on the mount: Head of St. Peter, a study in chalks for the main head in Earl Orford’s Peter, black and red chalk, heightened with white on blue paper, 44 x 30.9 cm

It is arguable that Reni’s true genius is found, not in the finished product on the ceilings and walls but in the preparatory and experimental studies lost to the ages. Reni, born in Bologna on November the 4th 1575, started drawing from a very young age, which resulted in him becoming the apprentice to the artist Denis Calvaert at the tender age of nine.1 Reni was joined there by two other aspiring artists, Albani and Domenichino, who would later become great rivals of Reni both as artists and as heads of ateliers. At the age of twenty, Reni left Calvaert’s studio and joined the Accademia dei Carracci, run by Agostino, Annibale and Ludovico Carracci. Studying at the academy taught Reni to absorb the Carraccesque ideal of naturalistic rendering, seen more thoroughly in his drawing than in his paintings. Stephen Pepper, acclaimed Reni specialist, explains ‘Drawing was an integral part of the Carracci artistic form and their students’ drawings clearly show their influence’.2 Throughout his time at the Academy, Reni’s drawing went through three different phases where the influences of one of the Carracci siblings were stronger than the others. At first, the graphic style of Agostino was most evident. This then moved into Reni where he had ‘changed his intentions; outlines are sketchy and shadows are made by pools of wash. As a result he appears to abandon the ink medium, which he had used extensively under Agostino. Instead he uses […] chalk on tinted paper, all of which emphasise colour and texture, rather than contour and form’.3 Finally, the influence of Annibale Carracci can be most clearly seen in Reni’s chalk studies. Pepper writes, ‘the chalk medium is used to create an atmospheric texture rather than clearly define contour and relief […] Reni successfully combines a sense for the underlying form, its definition and its solidity, with the surface effects of delicate line and elegant elaboration. He had acquired his feeling for the former through the example of Annibale’.4 1

D. S. Pepper, Guido Reni’s Early Drawing Style, Master Drawings, Vol. 6, No. 4 (Winter 1968), p. 364 D. S. Pepper, ibid, p. 365 3 D. S. Pepper, ibid, p. 372. 4 D. S. Pepper, ibid, p. 375 2


Cathrine Johnston writes, ‘Although painted some 15 years after Reni left the Carracci studio, evidence remains of one trained in their style and certainly familiar with the Faronese frescoes… The drawing displays the same appreciation of physical beauty as is to be associated with Annibale. Moreover the drawing retains the vigour somewhat lost to elegance which receives its most sublime expression. Like Annibale, Reni’s drawings are smoothly built up and moulded by light’.5 This understanding of Reni’s work and stylistic changes led the late Stephen Pepper to confirm the attribution of the present drawing in a letter to its previous owner. Dr Pepper wrote that ‘this impressive drawing of an old man is a major work by Guido Reni certainly executed in the decade of the 1620s’.6 Dr Pepper pointed out that the old chalk inscription on the mount of the drawing suggested a connection with a figure in the painting, The Church Fathers’ Dispute over the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Painted circa 1625 and acquired by Edward Harley 2nd Earl of Orford (1689-1741), the painting represents old men discussing the scriptures. The picture is now in the Hermitage, Saint Petersburg.7 This drawing reached England early: its first known owner was Nicola Francesco Haym, a Rome- born German musician who moved to England in 1704 and died in 1729. His entire collection was probably acquired by John Spencer (17081746). Another drawing by Guido Reni, from the Normand Collection, sold at Christie’s on July 6th 1999, lot 104, shared the same provenance. The Spencer Collection was dispersed in 1811, and included another large drawing by Guido (V. Birke, Guido Reni Zeichnungen, exhib. cat., Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, 1981, no. 97. Ann Sutherland Harris writes, ‘Famous artists’ drawings usually survive in larger numbers from their later years than from their early periods, as both students and patrons come to value every product of the masters mind and hand more highly than when he was little known. In Reni’s case the losses seem to be greater from the last decades… barely two hundred are traceable today’.8 The rarity of such beautifully executed works adds to the appeal and intrigue in Reni’s work. Each salvaged drawing becomes an attempt to understand the workings of a graceful and elegant mind, a rare instant in which the build up of an image can be seen before our very eyes. Reni’s drawings give the viewer the experience that escapes the waking mind when standing in front of his refined frescoes. Jasmine Chohan

5

C. Johnston, ‘A New Drawing by Guido Reni’, Burlington Magazine, Vol 108, No. 758 (May 1966), p. 251 D. S. Pepper, Guido Reni, l’opera completa, Novara, 1988, no. 87, p. 80 7 D.S. Pepper, ibid 8 A. S. Harris, Guido Reni: “First Thoughts”, Master Drawings, Vol 37, No. 1 (Spring 1999), p. 25 6


Provenance N.F. Haym (L. 1970), his mount with inscriptions ‘Guido’ (twice). John Spencer, by descent to George John, 2nd Earl Spencer (L 1530); Th. Philipe, 11 June 1811, lot 107 (according to W. Esdaile’s inscription). W. Esdaile (L 2617), with inscription ‘107_2 S:d Spencer 1811’. And ‘turn over’ on the mount, and ‘Spencer’s coll. 1811 WE PS35 N 107’ on the former backing; Christie’s 19 June 1840, lot 247 (4 gns. To Sheath).


Giovanni Battista Piazzetta Venice 1682 - 1754 Head of a Man in Profile Wearing a Hat, about 1740 Chalk on grey-blue paper, 37.9 x 27.8 cm Piazzetta’s tricentanniel was celebrated in 1983 with three exhibitions dedicated solely to him. Two took place in Venice at the Plazzo Vendramin- Calergi and Foundazione Giorgio Cini, the third was held in Washington. Before this point, no major exhibition or retrospective had been organised for Piazzetta, proving the existence of a great gap in the understanding of Venetian 18th century drawing and painting. However, poignantly two out of the three exhibitions were dedicated solely to Piazzetta’s ‘primeri pensieri’. As is the case with many an accomplished artist, it is in drawings that one best sees the artist’s genius and working mind. This is most definitely the case with Piazzetta’s work. Art historian and curator of the exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, George Knox divides the corpus of Piazzetta’s drawings into 5 categories: academic nudes, compositional studies for paintings, figure and head studies for paintings, heads and portraits, (famous têtes de caractère) and finally studies for book illustrations. 1 This beautiful drawing falls into two categories, figure and head studies for paintings and têtes de caractère for drawings. Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, born in Venice in 1682, is often considered to be one of the great Venetian artists of his time. Tancred Borenius explains that, ‘Unlike Ricci, Tiepolo and others, Piazzetta did not shift the scene of activity from one European country to the next. Although his fame was widespread, his whole life was spent in Venice’.2 Piazzetta, leaving behind a great oeuvre of work, died in Venice in 1754. Although Piazzetta’s colour schemes and soft handling of media conform to the Venetian style, his own style remains quite distinct from that of his contemporaries. This is often seen to be a result of his initiation into the arts. In the book Studj di Pittura published by Piazzetta’s friend G. B Albrizzi in 1706, Albrizzi mentions that Piazzetta first studied sculpture under his father Jacopo Piazzetta, a wood carver. However, it was immediately obvious that his inclinations leaned towards painting. At a young age, Piazzetta entered the school of Antonia Molinari and remained there until the age of twenty. After this, Piazzetta travelled to Bologna and studied the works of Carraci and 1

Binion. A, Review: Piazzetta. A Trecentenary Exhibition of Drawings, Prints and Books by George Knox, Master Drawings, Vol. 22, No. 4, Winter 1984, p. 450 2 Borenius. T, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 30, No. 166, Jan 1917, pp. 10-15


Guercino where he was interested in “di cui parve voler imitar il gusto e la maniera”. Borenius analyses texts written by Piazzetta’s contemporary Maria Zanetti, focusing intently on his book Della Pittura Veneziana. The book published in 1771, suggests that it is indeed 18th century wood-carvings that first shape Piazzetta’s art but that this is then followed by a heavy influence of Rembrandt in his use of chiaroscuro and also by the play of light and shade seen in the works of Guercino. You can find similar studies of the head in the Galleria dell’ Academia à Venezia. One of the most comparable works is without doubt a figure of St James (this is in New York). While you can notice the vibrancy of the profile, you can also see the accuracy of the treatment of the hollow of the cheek and the position of the right hand is similar to the one seen in the profile of this drawing. Drawings such as Head of a Man in Profile Wearing a Hat, reflect the, ‘elaborate preparations accord with what was already known about Piazzetta’s compulsive thoroughness.’ Whilst often seen as possibly being presentation drawings they are more commonly seen as independent works of art. These particularly being well known têtes de caractère, frequently referred to simply as Piazzetta’s “heads”. Piazzetta’s greatest contribution to art history was the definition of this new type of art. It is said that after him and Rosalba Carriera introduced it in the early settecento, ‘it became fabulously popular thereafter’.3 This drawing clearly defines and illustrates this great moment in art history, showing the gradual increase of dramatic life and expression visible in drawings, nuanced with a delicate use of chiaroscuro. Jasmine Chohan

Provenance Straus-Negbaur Collection Cassirer and Helbing, Berlin, 25 November 1930 Rasini Collection Christie’s, London, 6 July 1993, lot 88 Christie’s, London, 19 April 1994, lot 105 Adolphe Stein Collection Christie’s, London, 4 July 2000, lot 30 Private Collection, Paris 3

Borenius. T, ibid, p. 12


Giovanni Battista Piazzetta Venice 1682 - 1754 Head of a Levantine, about 1740 Black chalk heightened with white on light grey paper. Numbered 29 on the verso with an old pencil inscription, 35.5 x 24.5 cm A similar study of The Head of a Levantine was included in the 1983 exhibition on Piazzetta’s drawings in Washington DC. Piazzetta drew the same Levantine model as in this drawing on several occasions: one datable 1740, showing the right hand and different clothes is in the Pierpont Morgan Library. The Levantine is also drawn in the têtes de caractère drawing of The Heads of a Girl and a Levantine, acquired by Sotheby’s in 1970. The Levantine is drawn in exactly the same position, the only difference being his hand raised and holding a pipe. This proves that the Levantine was a popular subject for Piazzetta. The Levantines are often described as a people of Italian origin (mainly Venetian and Genoese) but living in what is now known as Turkey. It has often been said that the treatment of chiaroscuro in the works of Piazzetta is seen to be in the same vein as the capricious Rococo- like rhythm of design and facial type. However, in this drawing, the chiaroscuro is of a much more subtle nature. The subtle hints of white added to the composition help slowly bring the portrait out of the grey paper, in doing so, bringing it to life. Though the Levantine looks away from us, the portrait remains intimate and opens up the figure to a close reading by the viewer. Borenius explains that Piazzetta’s style includes, ‘his spirited composition, his bold contrasts of light and shade- which do not, however, exclude a great delicacy of half tones’. It would be no exaggeration to say that it evokes memories of works of the old Rembrandt. 4 In The Head of a Levantine, one definitely finds a greater appreciation for Piazzetta’s use of the ‘delicacy of half tones’. Drawings such as Head of a Levantine, reflect the, ‘elaborate preparations accord with what was already known about Piazzetta’s compulsive thoroughness.’ 5 Whilst often seen as possibly being presentation drawings they are more commonly seen as independent works of art. These particularly being well known têtes de caractère, frequently referred to simply as Piazzetta’s “heads”. Piazzetta’s greatest contribution to art history was the definition of this new type of art. It is said that 4 5

Borenius. T, ibid A. Binion, Review: Piazzetta. A Trecentenary Exhibition of Drawings, Prints and Books by George Knox, p. 450


after him and Rosalba Carriera introduced it in the early settecento, ‘it became fabulously popular thereafter’.6 Much like Piazzetta’s drawing Head of a Man in Profile, Wearing a Hat also included in this collection, Head of a Levantine clearly defines and illustrates this great moment in art history, showing the gradual increase of dramatic life and expression visible in drawings, nuanced with a delicate use of chiaroscuro. Jasmine Chohan

Provenance René de Cérenville, Geneva.

6

A. Binion, ibid


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Venice 1696- 1770 Madrid The Holy Family Pen and brown wash on paper, 28.5 x 20 cm Giovanni Battista Tiepolo has an established place in the history of art as one of the last great Italian painters in the Old Master tradition. As such, his achievement can be seen as a natural development of innovations introduced in the early Renaissance. Tiepolo’s manner distinguished itself in the traditional forms of Italian art: the large-scale fresco, the altarpiece and the preparatory sketch on paper. Tiepolo was an incredibly prolific artist, whose work rate allows us to examine his output in a variety of media in abundance. In addition to the traditional genres, Tiepolo introduced a personal pictorial vocabulary to the quintessential aristocratic form of painting in eighteenthcentury Europe – the frescoed ceiling. It would be fair to say that this genre never attained a comparable range of dynamic and illusionistic possibilities after the death of the artist. The life of his son, Giovanni Domenico, already belongs to the next epoch. He died at the height of the Napoleonic period, after the French Revolution decidedly turned the tide of European artistic taste. The art of both artists was marginalized by the neoclassical critics. A prominent antiquarian, J.J. Winckelmann, wrote that “Tiepolo can paint more in one day than Mengs in a week: but the works of the former are forgotten as soon as they have been seen, those of the latter are immortal”.1 The sheet formed part of an album donated by Tiepolo to the order of the Somaschi, where his son Giuseppe had become a priest. The album was later acquired by the collector and antiquarian count Leopold Cigognara, and after that by the sculptor Antonio Canova. The collection was separated into individual sheets in the late nineteenth century. The donation of the album to the order almost directly preceded Tiepolo’s employment at the court in Madrid, the last episode of his artistic journey. At this stage he was a fully developed artist with abundant commissions from the aristocratic circles within and outside Venice. In 1753, Tiepolo completed the fresco cycle of the ceiling in the Bishop’s Palace in Würzburg.2 The painter found 1 2

As quoted in Rizzi 1971, p. 21 Pedrocco 2002, p. 137


a supportive patron in Prince-Bishop Karl Phillip von Greiffenklau. This series of paintings is one of the most impressive and innovative episodes of Tiepolo’s career. The success of this project made Tiepolo return to Italy as a wealthy man, able to sustain the lifestyle comparable to his aristocratic patrons3. There is evidence that during his last years in Italy Tiepolo suffered from arthritis, which probably affected his ability to work confidently in large scale. In fact his paintings from the time show a considerable variety of attention to finish. However, Tiepolo maintained the confidence of his mature style in small-scale oil sketches and works on paper such as this one.4 This sheet is a lucid showcase of Tiepolo’s pictorial eloquence. He was an extremely confident draughtsman, who nevertheless constantly kept in mind the final effect of the large-scale painting. The initial design was worked out in pen in a sequence of quick and confident strokes, which serve to set out the parameters of the subsequent stage of planning – the play of light and shadow. This is conveyed schematically by the generous use of wash. Applied in wide patches with the brush, it signals the basic tonal relationships in the final painting. Satisfied with the result, the artist highlighted some the contours with darker ink. This accumulative method of conceiving a final painting on a sheet of paper is unique to Tiepolo.5 Here, it is brought to the level of flawless confidence. Since the album was donated just before Tiepolo’s engagement in Madrid, the final painting corresponding to the design was probably never executed. Other drawings representing the Holy Family show different compositional variants characteristic this early stage of planning in Tiepolo’s method. Although the attention to light and shadow firmly indicates that the drawing was intended to serve as basis for a finished painting, the sheet is stylistically close to the Scherzi, a series of etchings Tiepolo was engaged in at the time.6 The study is similar in its mellow enigmatic tone to some of the etched group scenes.7 This stylistic parallel proves that Tiepolo thought mainly in terms of distribution of figures and tonal variations. Subject was incidental and often prescribed by the patron. Hence, a group of travellers could be easily changed into a Holy Family, and vice versa. This drawing can be firmly assigned to the period of Tiepolo’s greatest artistic confidence. It shows his total command of his personal method of design and gives an insight on how he manipulated the traditional iconographic motifs to serve the needs of his imagination. Jakub Koguciuk

3

Levey 1986, p. 214 Levey 1986, p. 218 5 See Alpers and Baxandall 1994, p. 40 6 See; Levey 1986, p. 40 7 See examples in Rizzi 1971, 62 and 74; Christiansen (ed.) 1996, p. 283 4


Provenance From the artist to the Convent of the Somaschi, Venice, Santa Maria della Salute Count Leopold Cicognara Antonio Canova Francesco Pesaro Lord Edward Cheney Sale of Alfred Capel-Cure (nephew of above), Sotheby’s, London, 29 April 1885, part of lot 1024


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Venice 1696- 1770 Madrid Study for a figure seen from below, about 1750 Pen and brown wash on paper, watermarked ‘VAS’ in the bottom left corner, 28 x 19 cm This drawing is a study for a painted ceiling, Tiepolo’s signature form of artistic expression. Throughout his career, he developed an immense visual vocabulary of types of figures seen from below. In addition decorated to ceilings in the Archbishop’s Palace in Würzburg, in the Venetian Scuola del Carmine and the Patriarchal Palace in Udine, Tiepolo explored this pictorial form in prints and drawings. A volume of works on paper devoted exclusively to various figures depicted ‘da sotto in sù’ survived from the painter’s workshop. The sheet depicts of a single figure, seated on the edge of a surface, which has not been delineated. The face is covered by the extended left arm. The figure holds an object in its left extended arm. The drawing shows a degree of finish characteristic for Tiepolo and his pictorial ambitions. The face of the figure and the setting has been indicated with minimal detail. There are also no traces which would allow for identifying the iconography. Instead, the artist has given the greatest attention to his principal aim in the work – to represent a convincing distribution of drapery folds around the figure and delineate the related light effects. The drawing could have been made in the artist’s studio, using a life model who served as a realistic prompt for the composition. Tiepolo often made drawings such as this in the early stages of conceiving a painting in a particular interior. The artist is known to have visited the desired locations of his works multiple times before beginning the sketches. Tiepolo familiarized himself with the lighting conditions in churches and palaces at different times of the day. Once he had a sense of setting, he proceeded to draw individual figures, such as in this sheet. Sometimes Tiepolo followed these attempts in larger-scale oil sketches before the final work. The process of adjusting his style to the particular circumstances of the room makes Tiepolo’s method close to that of a musician, who may adjust his performance according to the type of concert hall.1 This specific figure type contains an elaboration of Tiepolo’s typical method of handling 1

Alpers and Baxandall, Tiepolo and the pictorial intelligence, 1994, p. 88


bodies. It entails distributing the limbs of the figures so that every knee and elbow are bent close to 90 degrees, and the arms and legs all point to different directions. The movement takes a circular or serpentine attitude, adding a greater sense of dynamism to the image. The procedure of developing bodies in space based on perpendicular contortion emphasizes their appropriateness for ceiling. Tiepolo’s bodies, such as the one on this sheet, are equally satisfying to view from all sides. Here lies the artist’s contribution in the translation of the limited rectangular space of a drawing to the more dynamic model of viewing the aristocratic ceiling. In preparing this sheet, Tiepolo already had in mind the effects possible to achieve in architectural painting. 2 It is difficult to compare this figure with any finished painting exactly. It is the result of Tiepolo’s typical formula for a ceiling scene, which is repeated with permutations throughout his career. Nevertheless, the distribution of the body in the drawing is perhaps closest to the allegorical figure of Asia, riding an elephant on the Western side of the ceiling in the Treppenhaus in Würzburg.3 If the sheet can indeed be related to this project, it should date from about 1750, a peak period for Tiepolo’s creativity and rate of production. It is in Würzburg that the artist was given the greatest freedom to express his ideas. As a result, many of his later projects can be said to continue the achievement of this period. However, it is unlikely that the sheet can be related directly to Tiepolo’s German period. First of all, sketches from this stage of his career are extremely rare and therefore comparative material is limited.4 In addition, all the surviving Tiepolo drawings can be related to the nine volumes left in the workshop after he left Italy for Spain in 1762. Out of the nine, at least one of the volumes contained designs for figures seen from below.5 Sheets with other such studies, paginated in the same hand, are held at the Civici Musei di Storia ed Arte in Trieste.6 Jakub Koguciuk

Provenance The sale of Jean Dubois, 21 March 1927, lot 73 Collection of the Moussière Cailleux Gallery, Paris Private Collection 2

Alpers and Baxandall, ibid, p. 66 M. Levey, Giambattista Tiepolo: his life and art, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986, p. 167 4 G. Knox, Catalogue of the Tiepolo drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum,1960, p. 3 5 The volume was recorded as titled ‘Sole Figure per Soffitti’ at Chrsitie’s, July 14th, 1914, Lot 49. See: Knox 1960, p. 5 6 G. Vigni, Disegni del Tiepolo, 1972, Nr.153 and 154 3


François Boucher Paris 1703 - 1770 A Seated Female Nude gesturing to the Left, around 1730 Red, white and black chalk, 35.5 x 23.5 cm François Boucher, the renowned French artist and major proponent of Rococo taste, was one of the most distinguished decorative artists of the 18th century. His recognizable style is characterized by sumptuous, idyllic subjects rendered in a way that evokes tactile opulence and iridescent luxury. Their appeal to the wealthy French art collectors of his time is therefore, unsurprising. Of Boucher’s most illustrious patronesses, Madame de Pompadour was arguably his most supportive although his wide-ranging clientele also included King Louis XV and Count Carl Gustav Tessin. Furthermore, in 1765 he was appointed as first painter to the king and director of the Royal Academy - the two highest positions in the French arts establishment.1  Born the son of a lace designer, Boucher’s background was certainly humble as he relied on his father to provide him with basic artistic training. Nonetheless, already at the age of 17 a painting Boucher exhibited gained recognition by the painter François Lemoyne who offered the young artist an apprenticeship. By the age of twenty-one Boucher had already won the influential Grand Prix de Rome and left to study in Italy a few years later. In Italy he was exposed to the art of Baroque masters, was influenced by the rolling hills of the Italian countryside and the Dutch landscape painters whose presence had strongly left its mark there. Moreover, the effect Venetian eighteenth-century painting had on the young artist, permeated even through Boucher’s later artistic developments.2 Upon his return from Italy, Boucher was accepted by the Académie de peinture et de sculpture as a historical painter and became a faculty member in 1734. His artistic career could only gain more impetus after such a beginning. Boucher’s early work celebrates the idyllic and contains traces of the artists he admired most – in particular Watteau and Rubens. However, even then, Boucher was moving away from traditional motifs of pastoral innocence to depict the more amatory side of rural life. This attention to the erotic was further manifested in Boucher’s mythological scenes which replace a traditionally epic tone with a passionate sensuality that oozes lustful longing.  The artist’s wide variety of 1 2

H. Macfall, Boucher: the man, his times, his art, and his significance, 1703 [to] 1770, (Oxford, 2008), pp. 17-32 D.F. Wakefield, Boucher, (Michigan, 2005), p. 12


subject matter included pastoral scenes and landscapes, mythological subjects, religious narratives, historical events, representations of literature as well as contemporary scenes. The eclectic subject matter is mirrored in the diversity of medium he employed, ranging from chalk drawings, paintings, and tapestry and porcelain designs. ‘It is Boucher’s extraordinary talent as a draftsman that has ensured his enduring appeal to modern eyes. His drawings have a freshness and assured spontaneity that the medium of paint can rarely match.’3 The charm of the female nude is evident in most of Boucher’s graphic production, from the elegant studies in black or red chalk from the mid-1730s to the 1740s, to the heavier figures that define his later works. This drawing, dates from the late 1730s relates to a series of paintings of Venus or the Three Graces with Cupid and beautifully captures Boucher’s enchantment with the nude female form. The delicate, elongated form contains an ethereal grace and slenderness that some of his more sexually charged works disregard in favour of sultriness. Here, the woman does not gaze out at us in a tantalising way but rather appears unaware of the viewer’s presence as she looks down. The way she tilts her head to look down, is similar to the way Venus is depicted in many paintings where she is shown tenderly looking at a small Cupid mischievously playing in front of her. Her fond expression further supports this interpretation. Moreover, the positioning of this figure’s arms suggests that she is perhaps playing an instrument or is making a flower arrangement that Boucher did not include in this preliminary drawing. Boucher’s extraordinary skill is made evident in this delicate drawing where the subtle tones and soft textures achievable through red chalk, create the appearance of the nude body that seems warm with life. Furthermore, Boucher softly builds up areas of deeper shadow to create depth by layering striated lines and crosshatching. The inclusion of areas in white chalk adds highlights to the lightest parts contributing to the three-dimensional appearance of the figure. The importance of drawing to Boucher can be seen in the multitude of roles it took on. Drawings acted as prototypes for paintings and as designs for printmakers, but were also created as finished works of art for collectors. For his major canvases, Boucher followed the typical process of planning the general composition and then making more detailed chalk studies for smaller groups of figures or even of individual figures.4 A number of similar red chalk studies of the same or closely resembling model to the one depicted in this drawing, relate to paintings of Venus and the Three Graces with Cupid mentioned above. However, most of these drawings (including this particular sheet), seem not to have found their Timothy Potts, director of the Kimbell Art Museum, Texas. https://www.kimbellart.org/exhibition/geniusfrench-rococo-drawings-fran%C3%A7ois-boucher-1703%E2%80%931770-and-boucher%E2%80%99smythological 4 D.F. Wakefield, ibid 3


way into painting. Sketches of a similar model for the two versions of the Three Graces Binding Cupid with Flowers of 1738 are in the Albright Art Gallery and in the Musée Bonnat in Bayonne.5Further drawings for Venus chastising Cupid and Venus inebriating Cupid, both dated circa 1738, are in the Rijksuniversiteit, Leyden, and were sold at Christie’s London.6 This drawing therefore, encompasses rather emphatically ideas and methods central to Boucher’s impressive artistic career. His contribution to Rococo painting was unrivalled by any other artist making him one of the most prolific painters of his generation. Denis Diderot,famously wrote of Boucher in his 1761 Salon review: ‘Cet homme a tout—excepté la vérité’ (That man is capable of everything—except the truth)7. Indeed Boucher’s remarkable talent meant he was able to work in virtually every medium and every genre, making him the most desired artist of his time. His decorative style, exceptional draughtsmanship and adaptability defined him as the artist that was able to quench the thirst for an art that reflected and enhanced the lavishness of French court life in the mid-18th century.

Bojana Popovic

Provenance Hyllan, according to an inscription ‘Nr. 11 Hyllan XIV’ and ‘392’ on the mount (same inscription on a drawing by Taddeo Zuccaro in the Städel Institute Franfurt, published in J. Gere, Taddeo Zuccaro, His Development Studies in hs Drawings, London, 1969, p. 35) A. Ananoff, his collector’s stamp is on the bottom left corner of the drawing

Certificate of Authentication Alastair Laing kindly confirmed the attribution and dated the drawing to about 1730 5

A. Ananoff, François Boucher, Paris and Lausanne, 1976, nos. 154 and 162 for the paintings in the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, and the Hôtel de Soubise, Paris, and figs. 506 and 523 for the drawings, pp. 227-236 6 8 July 1975 lot 82 (A. Ananoff, op. Cit., nos. 179 and 251for the pictures and fig. 574 for the first drawing), p. 227 7 M.L. Hyde, Making Up the Rococo: François Boucher and His Critics, (Getty, 2006), p. 43


Louis-Léopold Boilly La Bassée 1761-1845 Paris Study of a Young Woman and a Child, about 1793 Charcoal drawing heightened with white, 17.5 x 25 cm

“Genre de sensibilité”. 1 Louis- Léopold Boilly, born in 1761, is most often described as initially being ‘a small town boy from somewhere near Lille or Arras’. 2 Upon moving to Paris in 1785 it is thought he arrived as an established artist of 24 with a successful career in Arras. The Study of a Young Woman and a Child falls into the period in which Boilly worked and functioned in Paris as a well-known artist. At the age of 68 Boilly abandoned painting and drawing, leaving behind an extensive oeuvre of work. Working in the period of the French Revolution, Boilly is often thought to be one of the lesser-known artists but from the end of the twentieth century, attention to his work has been increasingly growing, Meeting of Artists in Isabey’s Studio, 1798, being housed in the Louvre and A Girl at a Window, after 1799, being housed in the National Gallery, London. Susan L. Siegfried writes in her book on Boilly, though a ‘lesser-known artist [his] works are if anything more eloquent a visual testimony of the past and no less complex and intriguing’.3 It has been argued that, in fact, Boilly provides us with the most vivid visual representations we have of the politics of everyday life during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Empire.4 This drawing raises important questions about the culture and society of his time relating to issues of gender, class and the politics of art through drawings and paintings of the common man, society at large and more poignantly in relation to this drawing, his family. Art historian John Stephen Hallam writes, Boilly’s work are characteristic of the eighteenth century in that they exhibit a strong predilection for subjects that are sentimental, anecdotal, moralising, gently erotic, or various combinations of each. 1

J. S., Hallam, ‘The Two Manners of Louis- Léopold Boilly and French Genre Painting in Transitions’, Art Bulletin, Vol. 63, No. 4, (Dec., 1981), p. 618 2 P., Bordes, ‘Review: Louis- Léopold Boilly’, The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 138, No. 1115, Feb., 1996, p. 152 3 S. L., Siegfried, The Art of Louis- Léopold Boilly: Modern Life in Napoleonic France, Yale University Press, London, 1995, p. vii 4 S. L., Siegfried, The Art of Louis- Léopold Boilly: Modern Life in Napoleonic France, p. ix


Essentially the artist followed the later eighteenth century tradition of Jean-Baptiste Greuze and Jean- Honoré Fragonard by utilising the genre medium to portray poignant emotional states—whether sentimental, erotic etc.—or to produce morally instructive reflections. This appeal to sensibilité was a pervasive motive in French art and literature during the second half of the eighteenth century. 5 A possible preparatory drawing for a genre scene, this form of sensibilité is particularly evident in this delicately drawn work, as Boilly is in fact drawing one of his sons. Whilst the depiction of the young woman is of a face at rest, the little boy is seen to be staring out at the viewer in a very soft manner. The slight smile seen on the boy’s face gives away a sense of childish warmth and innocence, which, upon engaging the viewer, softens their look and approach. Siegfried writes, ‘Boilly’s work brings this modern concern with the politics of spectatorship very much to the fore, as it involves us in a self-conscious dialogue between representation and viewing. He called attention not only to the illusionistic nature of representation but also his own as well as the viewer’s relationship to that fiction’. A relationship which can be seen in the expressions, reaction and approach to this beautiful drawing. Siegfried explains, ‘It is difficult to imagine that Boilly could have escaped acquiring some general knowledge of Lavater and his theories and, while it is not known whether he studied physiognomy, he made a very clear distinction in his work between the study of faces at rest and in motion’. 6 If Boilly was indeed influenced by Lavater’s theories one may begin to believe that the child’s soft gaze would be representative of his character. However, it can also be read as Boilly’s loving representation of his son, as a result, imbuing the gaze with gentle warmth, whilst the woman betrays no emotions or characteristics, simply a look of peace and tranquillity. Boilly’s focus on the layman and genre scenes from the streets of 18th century Paris meant that people were constantly trying to identify the figures in the paintings and drawings, these would usually be family or friends of the artist (in this case the son). Seigfried explains, ‘Boilly often based genre characters on old drawings of his children as in the Turkish Garden Café’. It is uncertain whether this study later went on to be the base of a larger work, however it would always serve a purpose. ‘His intention in peopling such genre scenes was less portraiture, however, than the creation of generally recognisable types who would lend his scenes the plausibility that was complimented at the time as “truthful”. This conforms to artist’s use of portraits of self and family in seventeenth-century Dutch genre painting, which served a variety of purposes intended to enhance both the reality and the theatricality of the work of art’. 7 The Study of a Young Woman and a Child, captures a soft and sensitive Boilly, in contrast to the satirical and narrative artist that is so often lauded as his public persona. Through viewing his representation of his child and a young woman, one 5

J. S. Hallam, ibid S. L., Siegfried, ibid, p. 116 7 S. L., Siegfried, ibid, p. xiii. 6


begins to see Boilly as a father instead of a satirist. The power only a drawing now has the ability to show, the essence of the genre de sensibilité. Jasmine Chohan

Provenance Artists Family Marquis de Brion, Paris (Sale at the Georges Petit Gallery, Paris, 9-11 June 1914, lot 1 Stettiner, Paris Mme. Simon Seligmann, Paris. Georges E. Seligmann. Sotheby’s Auction, New York, 4 September 1982, lot 1

Exhibitions Jacques Seligmann and Sons Gallery, Paris, Exposition Luis-Léopold Boilly, 31 May - 22 June, 1994, Nr. 147


Théodore Géricault Rouen 1791 - 1824 Paris Study for the Race of the Riderless Horses, 1817

Pencil on paper, 20 x 25.5 cm ‘Only when it came to horses did he paint to perfection.’ Louis Dimier (Paris, 1914) Théodore Géricault grand masterpieces such as the Raft of the Medusa and The Charging Chasseur, firmly marked him as one of the most important artistic figures of his time. Many of his large canvases depict heated battle-scenes where his mastery in rendering the exuberant movement of both men and their horses is inherently visible. As a youth, Théodore Géricault was fascinated by horses and drawing them from life whilst sitting in the stables was a pastime that heavily influenced his later works.1 Equestrian subjects inevitably became a leitmotif reoccurring throughout his remarkable career. Enraptured by horses from a young age, it seemed almost inescapable that Géricault would endeavour to meet Carle Vernet who was hailed as the leading master of equestrian subjects. It was in Vernet’s studio that the young Géricault, by copying the elder’s pictures, developed his style in depicting horses.2 Described as a ‘somewhat mannerist type of horse’ with its elongated arched neck and highly wrought legs, this image became set in Géricault’s artistic imagination. Géricault emphasized the grace and power of these magnificent animals through these elegant distortions – often capturing their strength and agility by depicting them rearing and this drawing is no exception. The Corsa dei Berberi, a series of races of riderless horses down the Via del Corso, that took place annually in Rome as part of the Roman Carnival celebrations, inspired Géricault’s plans for a painting on the subject.3 In 1817, the artist travelled to Rome to witness this spectacle and sketch it from life, capturing fleeting wild movement juxtaposed with tense restraint.4 The struggle between passion and 1

T.Gericault, Théodore Géricault 1791-1824 : Studies of Horses, Masterpieces in Lithography - Catalogue, (William Weston Gallery, 1973), p. 21 2 E. Baker, ‘Becoming-horse’: the Transgressive corporeality of Horse and Human in the work of Théodore Géricault, (London, 2010), pp. 19-24 3 E. Baker , ibid 4 P. Grunchec, Géricault’s Horses : Drawings and Watercolours, (Sotheby’s Publishing, 1985), p. 135


reason, with reason in this case overcoming the other, is encapsulated in the battle between Horse and Man. This moment just before the riderless horses are let loose to start their descent on the city, is depicted in this study.5 The beautiful drawing leads us closer to understanding the origins of the composition of the Race of the Riderless Horses. Ultimately planned to be on a 30-foot canvas, this work is unknown in painting except through a few drawings that render a variety of scenes from the famous event – this being one of them.6 While in Rome, Gericault rendered these sketches and developed his idea for what would have been a magnificent finished work. This particular study is similar to the oil sketch Roman Youths retraining a Horse owned by the Louvre but with the figure positioned in front of the horse as opposed to behind it. The motive of a Roman peasant restraining a horse reappears in many of Gericault’s paintings. What distinguishes this particular drawing from Géricault’s other drawings of equestrian subjects is its level of finish. Although the use of black chalk employed here allows the artist to create quick and dramatic contrasts between light and dark through broad marks, the way Géricault employs the medium in this drawing creates an altogether very different effect. The controlled manner in which he chooses to render the forms suggests that this was not one of the most preliminary studies for this particular subject, instead that it was a more refined drawing that finalized the plans he had already experimented with more spontaneously beforehand. Given the liveliness of the stances of these entwined characters, Géricault probably would have preceded this particular drawing with rapid, sketchy studies from life. This black chalk drawing focuses on clarifying the chosen positions of the two forms and distinguishing the light and dark areas which emphasize the rippling musculature indicated by the curvilinear contours. This could only have been done once the pose had been selected from earlier observations. Gericault even reinforced the outline of the horse together with selected details such as the eye and the strident leg of the peasant behind. Although the fainter, broader hatched chalk-rubbings used to mark areas of shadow appear far more exuberantly drawn, the fact that Gericault chose to use a thinner and darker chalk to give a more refined finish, again implies that this was one of the final stages of planning. Natural black chalk (carboniferous shale) commonly covers more broadly but here, Gericault took advantage of the freedom and vitality of black chalk as well as its dark colour to give the effect of tensing muscles in movement.7 His sheer mastery in portraying equine anatomy is beautifully illustrated here. Despite its complete and highly refined appearance, there are still evident traces of the artist’s thought developing where he has made changes. Gericault adapts the man’s outstretched front leg but the original shape is still lightly visible; he does however, enforce the final outline through the thickening of the chosen contour. This was probably the penultimate study of this intimate scene between this horse and man because, despite being far more finished than many other sketches of the 5

http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=897 P. Grunchec, ibid, p. 136 7 P. Lavallée, Le Dessin Français, (Paris, 1948), p. 46 6


subject, the contemporary clothing of the peasant separates it from the last studies that depict the grooms in the nude or in ancient Roman costume.8 This magnificent drawing is especially precious not only because it gives an insight into Géricault’s artistic process and his ideas for the Race of the Riderless Horses, but because it embodies most ardently the pure love and devotion the artist had for rendering his favourite subject matter – the horse. Bojana Popovic

Provenance Collection of Baron Joseph Vita Anonymous Sale, Paris, 27 May 1927, Lot Nr. 118 Collection of the Artist Pierre Olivier Dubaut Thence by decent Private collection

Exhibitions The French artist in Italy - from Poussin to Renoir, Paris, Pavillon Marsan, 1934, Nr. 500 Géricault, Painter and Drawer, Paris, Galerie Bernheim Jeune, 1937, Nr. 113 Géricault: The Unknown, Paris, Galerie Bignou 1950, Nr. 32 Théodore Géricault, London, Marlborough Fine Art, 1952, Nr 47 Théodore Géricault, Winterthur, Oskar Reinhardt Museum, 1953, Nr. 161 Géricault in the Private French Collections, Paris, Galerie Aubry, 1964, Nr. 66 Master Drawings of Géricault, New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, 1985, Nr. 31

8

P. Grunchec, Master drawings by Géricault (New York, 1987), p.52


Jean-François Millet Gruchy 1814 - 1875 Barbizon Landscape with Large Trees, about 1868 ‘Millet’s graphic work exudes an imagination and technical brilliance matched only by a handful of artists in this century. Delacroix and Degas come immediately to mind as the era’s foremost draftsmen, but as [his body of work] demonstrates, Millet is the logical link between the two.’1 For this reason, Jean-François Millet was one of the most renowned and influential French artists of the 19th century. In the same way Millet praised and collected Delacroix’s works, Degas did so with Millet’s. In the 1880s and 1890s in particular, a thirst for his art came to the forefront especially amongst American collectors. His works on paper were, and still are, particularly prized because they bring to light most emphatically all of the artist’s influences. Highly knowledgeable in the works by Old Masters, Millet was a learned artist who created a conscientious body of art that never fully dislocated itself from the past.2 His drawings prove Millet as being a highly creative artist who nonetheless remained grounded in the traditions of the French Academy. Furthermore, ‘the many complex connections between his paintings and his graphic work establish his place as an artist bridging the academic tradition and the avant-garde in the years immediately before the first Impressionist exhibitions’.3 In the 1860s Millet dedicated his artistic thought to pastels and it is with his finished drawings of the French countryside that ‘Millet emerged as one of the most nuanced and original colourists of his time’.4 What defined him as a precursor of Impressionism were undoubtedly his developments with colour but equally his new approaches to mark-making, as seen in his drawings. Overshadowed by his iconic canvases that include The Sower and The Gleaners, Millet’s remarkable skill as a draughtsman has sadly been neglected by many who are not aware of their worth. The exchanges between humble countryside labourers are captured with simplicity and honesty. The rays of sunlight casting shadows as they fall through the foliage in his landscape conté crayon or pastel drawings also leaves no doubt of Millet’s talents at rendering rural life as he saw it. This drawing entitled Landscape with Large Trees is a superb manifestation of Millet’s interests in drawing. The composition depicts a simple landscape as 1

A.R. Murphy, Jean-François Millet – Drawn into the Light, (Yale, 1999), pp. 22-28 L. Manoeuvre, Jean-Francois Millet Pastels and Drawings, (Paris, 2004), pp. 65-72 3 A.R. Murphy, ibid 4 Ibid 2


though through the eyes of a wanderer. Because of the low branches of the densely foliaged trees, any view of the sky is cut off. Instead, all our attention is focused on the hilly ground before us which is sketchily captured through broad pencil marks. The tree-tops appear exuberantly drawn as one can trace the length of the pencil lines that spread almost horizontally from one side of the sheet to the other, suggesting that this was a fast sketch most likely drawn from life. As an artist Millet played a crucial role in founding the Realist movement and equally in bridging the long divide between Rubens-Delacroix colourists and the draughtsmen who followed Ingres.5 His long-lasting impact on the direction of art is most emphatically expressed in Vincent Van Gogh’s quote: ‘Millet is father Millet, counsellor and mentor in everything for young artists.’6 His feelings were shared by other prominent artists and both Pissarro and Paul Gauguin found inspiration in Millet’s drawings as did Degas and Seurat. In Seurat’s example, the black crayon employed by Millet in most of his graphic work formed the foundation of his shadowy style. What these later generations valued most about Millet’s artistic production, was his ‘technical and aesthetic achievement’ that was crucial in forming the basis for the innovations that occurred in the 19th century that would reshape and redirect art itself. For many of his admirers it was Millet’s body of work produced on paper that retained a far greater relevance and freshness which arguably, his paintings had lost through time.7 As Camille Pissarro wrote: ‘[Many people] don’t realise that some of Millet’s drawings are a hundred times better than his paintings’.8 Bojana Popovic

Provenance John Day, Christie’s, 14. May. 1909, lot Nr. 238 Sir A. Methuen Private Collection Paris Paul Oppe Collection Dr. Fritz and Dr. Peter Nathan, Zürich Private Collection Lausanne, 1974 5

L. Manoeuvre, Jean-Francois Millet Pastels and Drawings, (Paris, 2004), pp. 65-72 A.R. Murphy, Jean-François Millet – Drawn into the Light, (Yale, 1999), pp. 22-28 7 L. Manoeuvre, Jean-Francois Millet Pastels and Drawings, (Paris, 2004), pp. 65-72 8 A.R. Murphy, ibid 6


Exhibitions Matthiesen, London, French Drawings, 1935, Nr. 105 Royal Academy, London, Landscape in French Art, 1949, Nr. 579 Akdeburch Carduff, Arts Council of Great Britain, Millet, 1956, Nr. 68 Royal Academy, London, Works of the Paul Oppe Collection, 1958, Nr. 347 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Works of the Paul Oppe Collection, 1961, Nr. 129 The Hyogo Museum, Kobe, The Seibu Museum, Tokio, The Hiroshima Prefectural Museum, The Kitakiushu Prefectural Museum, The Hokkaido Prefectural Museum of Modern Art, Corot, Millet and the School of the Barbizon, 1980


Gustave Courbet Ornans 1819 - 1877 La-Tour-de-Peliz en Suisse Landscape with large trees, Doe and Stag, 1858

Monogrammed ‘G. C.’ probably when presented to the artist as a gift, black chalk with white heightening, 19 x 30 cm Gustave Courbet pioneered the Realist movement in 19th-century France which formed a transition between the Romantic movement (as propagated by Théodore Géricault and Eugène Delacroix), with the Barbizon School and the Impressionists. He strongly believed that ‘painting is an essentially concrete art and can only consist of the representation of real and existing things’.1 Many of his most renowned paintings support this notion and act as social comments particularly based around rural working-life in France at that period. However, some of Courbet’s most visually stunning works are those depicting landscapes. During his prolific artistic career he endeavoured to experiment with different subject matter but Courbet depicted himself first and foremost a landscape painter – as seen in his Self-portrait with black dog, 1842.2 Courbet, a keen sportsman, enjoyed going hunting almost every winter with his friends in the Jura Mountains. Through his hunting experience Courbet was able to create a sense of authenticity in his depictions of hunts since the avid sportsmen that he saw as his clients would not have approved of any details that were against the rules and realities of the sport. His first two Salon paintings on the subject were The Quarry, Deer Hunt in the Forests of the Grand Jura and Hind at Bay in the Snow (Jura) which both distinctly locate their scenes in a specific geographical location, thus immediately adding realism to their unfolding narratives. Despite this, the compositions were very much informed by typical hunting imagery and many of his paintings in fact contained clear references to works by Landseer for example. Courbet submitted these two hunting paintings to the Salon of 1857, the first government exhibition since the International Exhibition in Paris of 1855, though he may have already begun producing small hunting pictures for a local clientele in the Jura by 1857. The huge success of Edwin Landseer at the time, may have inspired Courbet to embrace this genre. Another possibility though, is that Courbet 1 2

P.T. Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France (Princeton, 2007), p. 11 A. Callen, Courbet, (London, 1981), p. 57


was already interested in exploring the British art market by the mid-1850s. ‘In July 1855, the Belgian-born British dealer Ernest Gambart had bought Rosa Bonheur’s Horse Fair to England, where the painting created a sensation. Queen Victoria herself had the painting brought to her palace.’3 Courbet’s interest in travelling to London was unsurprising as Bonheur’s success was widely publicized in France. Whatever caused Courbet to focus on hunting certainly had a very positive effect on his career. Even his first two Salon paintings were bought by the Antwerp dealer Van Isachers for a considerable sum. This chalk drawing, Landscape with Large Trees and Deer, has been authenticated and dated by the Gustave Courbet Institute as being from around autumn 1958, according to Mr Jean- Jacques Fernier (Vice-President of the institute). Here, Courbet explores the pleasures of the hunt in the forests of Frankfurt. In a letter to Francis Way, Courbet emphasized the verisimilitude of his hunting scenes by saying he had been to stag battles in Germany which he witnessed ‘with his own eyes’ and is ‘absolutely sure of the action’.4 The precision, sensitivity and compositional techniques manifested in this drawing are characteristic of his works of that period. Even though his realism does not oppose a sublime nature, the subject of peacefully resting animals in a forest is not a theme he normally explored. The parts of the hunt Courbet more frequently focused on are the later scenes which depict greater movement and energy as displayed most fervently in Death of the Stag (1861). Landscape with Large Trees and Deer is not obviously connected to any other piece by Courbet, so rather than seeming to be a study for a painting, appears to be a work in itself. The highly finished appearance of this chalk drawing which even includes details in white chalk, further supports this notion. The depth of this scene, the attention given to create the textures of the foliage that form a canopy over the deer and the way Courbet vividly captures the shadows cast by the trees, shows the artist’s profound skill as a draughtsman in rendering this landscape even without the use of colour. This drawing therefore, acts as a beautiful example of Courbet’s skill in chalk but also as a resonant illustration of his fascination with hunting scenes both from the position of an active participant and as an artistic observer. Bojana Popovic

Provenance Private Collection, Germany 3 4

P.T. Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France (Princeton, 2007), p. 12 P.T. Chu, ibid


Certificate of Authenticity Institute Gustave Courbet, Ornans, 2008 Jean-Jacques Fernier, vice president of the Institute Gustave Courbet, has authenticated and dated this work to the autumn of 1858.


Gustave Courbet Ornans 1819 - 1877 La-Tour-de-Peliz en Suisse The Wanderer of Ornans, about 1850 Signed bottom left ‘G. Courbet’, oil on canvas, 33 x 25 cm ‘I maintain... that painting is an essentially concrete art and can only consist of the representation of real and existing things. It is a completely physical language, the words of which consist of all visible objects: an object which is abstract, not visible, non-existent, is not within the realm of painting.’1 Courbet 1861. From this statement written in an open letter for his students, Gustave Courbet (1819-1877) distinguished the key features of his Realism. He placed importance and value on a form of artistic representation not influenced by tradition or history painting that preceded it, but rather recorded life as it was at that particular moment. In this way Courbet broke away from his contemporaries and ruptured the course of art history. His works were not only artistically bold in their style, but also in the way social comments formed a prominent feature in their rural scenes. For Courbet Realism stopped the emphasis on accuracy and instead, favoured impulsive and rough handling of paint that created a sense of painting directly from life. In no way did Courbet try and embellish what he saw because by depicting even the bleakness of peasant life, he could challenge previously instilled views on both rural life and art itself. This particular painting has been dated to about 1850 by Fernier and depicts the landscape near Courbet’s hometown Ornans. The date therefore, marks the period of Courbet’s first successes as an artist. From October 1849 and the summer of 1850 Courbet was the most productive in terms of the number of canvases he produced.2 However, this was also a significant period in his artistic career because it was during these six months that he produced some of his most renowned works including the Stonebreakers, the Burial at Ornans and the Peasants of Flagey. Though small in scale and not as complex as some of his other canvases, this landscape painting is exemplary in its revolutionary style. What is especially 1 2

A. Callen, Courbet, (London, 1981), p. 67 T.J. Clark, Image of the people: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution, (California, 1999), p. 32


remarkable is the way in which the artist has combined all of the elements depicted in a way that gives the sense of a real, transient moment, in real tangible space. Combining palette-knife strokes of paint and dashes with the brush, Courbet captures not only the textures of the ragged rocks or the untamed tufts of grass, but also the play between areas of shadow and light. Furthermore, the solitary wanderer helps create a sense of scale, but simultaneously heightens the impression of Nature’s vastness. Moreover, this untouched landscape engulfs the viewer as it does the lonely traveller as Courbet creates shallow pictorial depth and brings the thronging dark forest right up to the picture surface. Only a small slither of blue sky at the top offers release. Any distant vanishing points or horizon lines are cut off and this compositional technique is repeated by Courbet in some of his other landscape scenes such as The Gour de Conches and the Fantastical Landscape. Every season can be found in Courbet’s wide array of paintings, however he himself wrote how he preferred a springtime landscape of the Jura ‘a forest half white wood, half evergreen’ where nature can be seen in full life’.3 Though Courbet’s landscapes are not realistic in the traditional sense of the word, they are definitely not idealised. Instead, he depicts areas of detail juxtaposed with more roughly sketched sections as though his eye is wondering through the landscape honing in on certain parts. By doing so, Courbet paved the way for modern landscape painters. In the 1930s landscape paintings gained increasing popularity and public demand. These pictures were widely sold by the leading art dealers of the period as well as in shops specialising in decorative ornaments for the home, but were also the prevailing subjects of canvases on display at the Salons.4 These paintings offered their owners a small piece of the countryside – a reminder of a simpler way of life outside the busy, crowded city. In fact, the particular types of landscapes most favoured were those without any unfolding narrative. Courbet certainly knew what the public craved and in paintings like this one, delivered the rustic charm of the countryside unadulterated by complex or moralizing stories. As the critic Champfleury explained in Courrier Artistique of 1862 ‘Why are we attracted to the simplest landscapes?’, because they distract us from the worries and difficulties of urban life.5 He expanded on this notion saying ‘A rock, water lapping against that rock, trees that form a green vault above a dewy meadow, that is the kind of painting that an overworked businessman, his head filled with big projects, looks at with attention. He receives from it, all at once, a green, alive, and fresh impression.’6 Many of Courbet’s landscape scenes adhere to such notions, however not all. Courbet, aware of the different strands of the art market, produced landscape works of great variety, thus making his works appealing to more than one type of clientele. His landscapes can be divided into categories such as the paysages d’effet, Franche-Compte scenes of the Jura Mountains, seascapes and hunting scenes. Courbet, a man who described himself as ‘the most arrogant man in France’ whose 3

B. Foucart, G. Courbet (London, 1977), p. 46 P.T. Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France (Princeton, 2007), p. 11 5 Champfleury, Courrier Artistique (1862) in P.T. Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France (Princeton, 2007), pp. 31-32 6 P.T. Chu, ibid 4


colourful social life was permeated with scandalous anecdotes, produced an eclectic body of work that made him a popular artist of his time.7 Though one may assume most of his works were provoking social comments, this painting along with many of his landscape scenes, offers an insight into a simpler side of his artistic production, that nonetheless, played a major role in his success. Courbet in his Self-portrait with black dog, 1842, depicted himself first and foremost a landscape painter and his draughtsmanship in this painting fully justifies his claim. Bojana Popovic

Provenance Wertheim, Berlin Galley Bernheim Jeune, Paris about 1908 Walter, Hotel Drouot, Paris 21 November 1928, lot 70 Private Collection Switzerland

Certificate of Authentication Jean-Jacques Fernier, 18 September 1986

7

P.T. Chu, ibid, p. 13


Adolph von Menzel Breslau 1815 - 1905 Berlin Portrait of Caroline Arnold, Berlin, 1848 Coloured chalk on paper, 45 x 33.8cm ‘In a word, the man is everywhere independent, sincere, with sure vision, a decisive note that can sometimes be a little brutal.... While being perfectly healthy he has the neurosis of truthfulness....’ Louis Edmond Duranty. 1 Adolph von Menzel (1815-1905) born and raised in Germany is often considered to be one of the most ‘indefatigable draughtsman among European artists of the nineteenth century’.2 Along with Caspar David Friedrich, Menzel was one of the most influential German artists of the 19th century. Although most famous for his depictions of scenes from the life of Fredrick the Great, his painting of The Coronation of William I at Koenigsberg and scenes from every-day life, it is in his drawings that Menzel showed the ‘extreme realism’3 for which he was most often championed. Artists such as Degas and Albert Wolff were known to have been avid collectors of Menzel’s work, most notably his drawings, for it was in his drawings that one began to see the ‘real’ Adolph von Menzel. By the mid 1840s Menzel was enjoying increasing popularity along with which came increasing patronage from the Prussian court. He worked first for King Frederick William IV, then for Emperors William I and William II. Yet despite his status as official history and court painter, Menzel retained his independence in his private drawings, producing a vast private oeuvre of drawings, pastels and gouaches on subjects drawn from his immediate surroundings and from numerous journeys through Germany.4 The Portrait of Caroline Arnold falls into this period where Menzel sought solitude and himself in his drawings. Caroline Arnold was the eldest daughter of wallpaper manufacturer H J Arnold. Drawing one evening in Kassel during the years 1833/34, Arnold and Menzel met. After this happening, Menzel and Arnold become very close, sharing many 1

M. Fried, Menzel’s Realism: Art and Embodiment in Nineteenth- Century Berlin, Yale University Press, 2002, p. 130 F. Forster-Hahn, Authenticity into Ambivalence: The Evolution of Menzel’s Drawings, Master Drawings, Vol 16. No 3, 1978, p. 255 3 A. Woltmann, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, January 1867, p.124 4 M. Fried, ibid, p. 143 2


lively letter exchanges. The families drew closer yet, as Arnold’s third son stayed with Menzel while training to be a painter in Antwerp. Following this, Menzel then stayed with the Arnold family in Kassel during the years 1847 and 1848 where he worked on a commission from Nassauischen Kunstverein. Living with the Arnold family for such an extensive period led Menzel to make several portraits of the family members, Caroline’s being the most delicately drawn in the finest detail. The private nature of this drawing is highlighted in the sensitivity with which it is drawn. Forster- Hahn explains, ‘the analysis of this most private and personal medium discloses, above all, a deep experience of fragmentation and alienation. This psychological dilemma, which is rooted in the social conditions of nineteenth-century Germany, betrays the artist’s inner isolation and his equivocal relationship to Wilhelmian society. Hidden behind the mask of the successful artist of almost legendary fame, the ageing painter’s feeling of ambivalence becomes the essential part of the mental state that shaped his unique artistic method’.5 This ambivalence is echoed in the dark tonality and soft appearance of the image. Explaining the subject of the image, Forster- Hahn further explains the intimacy of the image by stating that the ‘intimate subject that spontaneously intrigued the draughtsman also stimulate the eye of the painter… this intimate interaction between Menzel’s works in different media [chalk] is responsible for the private character of most of his early oil paintings’. Although most of Menzel’s drawings were usually used as starting points for bigger works in oil, many of his sketches were also used as private studies, or to capture small details, which would later be addressed in larger works. ForsterHahn states, ‘the relationship between preparatory studies and painting seems to indicate that the artist made the individual sketches on the spot, when the event actually took place, but executed the drawing for the entire composition later, then synthesized these preliminary stages on the final canvas.’6 It is often argued that these ‘on the spot drawings’ evoke a new image of Menzel as a modernist painter, comparable to artists who formed the roots of the impressionist movement, such as Constable and Corot, ‘a harbinger of Impressionism if not quite Impressionist himself’.7 In the 1840s and 1850s Menzel went through a productive phase in which he worked with pastels on tinted paper. These were the artfully fruitful years. His subtle tones and talent for atmospheric moods manifested themselves in the richly nuanced tones of the image. The sketches have a calm meditative atmosphere and isolate the figure from all descriptive environments. Forster-Hahn writes, ‘these bust- or half-figure portraits depict no activity. Menzel isolated his sitters from their setting and imbued them with a sense of permanence that stands in stark contrast to the movement and momentary effect captured in his earlier images.’8 5

Forster-Hahn, Authenticity into Ambivalence: The Evolution of Menzel’s Drawings, p. 255 Forster-Hahn, ibid, p. 264 7 Fried, Menzel’s Realism: Art and Embodiment in Nineteenth- Century Berlin, p. 44 8 Forster-Hahn, ibid, p. 274 6


This permanence, still remains today in this wonderfully delicate example of the ‘real’ Adolph von Menzel seen through his snap shot, intimate drawings, allowing us to see what intrigued and captured the mind of the German genius. Jasmine Chohan

Provenance Caroline Arnold Stephanie Treusch von Buttlar Brandenfelds

Literature Hugo von Tschudi, Adolph von Menzel, Munich, 1905, Nr. 197, illus., p. 163


Edgar Degas Paris, 1834- 1917 Head of a Man, 1856-58 Charcoal and graphite on paper, Signed lower left, atelier stamp lower left, inscription lower right ‘Rome’, 36.5 x 26 cm Degas once told his good friend Forain that upon his death he wanted no funeral oration. ‘If there has to be one, you, Forain, get up and say, “He greatly loved drawing. So do I.” And then go home’.1 Edgar Degas’ elegant paintings of bathers and ballerinas grace the walls of many established galleries. However, it is not in these paintings that one truly begins to familiarise themselves with Degas, this is often thought to be done through his first love: drawing. Gauguin famously stated, ‘Who knows Degas? No one—that would be an exaggeration—only a few. I mean know him well […] Do they really understand him?’2 Through Degas’ drawings and studies, one begins to form a more complete image and understanding of the artist. His biographer Ronald Pickvance writes, ‘Degas’ love of drawing was complete and unequivocal. It was held passionately as a guiding principle (“drawing is a way of seeing form”) and as a method of procedure in the making of a picture. Drawing underlay and buttressed all he did.’ This statement refers not only to Degas’ procedure of creating a work of art but also to his study of art and the form his career took. In 1853 Degas registered as a copyist in the Louvre and enrolled in the Print Room of the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Here began the budding artist’s apprenticeship with the great masters of ages past, an apprenticeship, which is said to have lasted until 1859. Within this period of time, Degas spent three years in Italy, visiting the artistic havens of Florence and Rome, pouring over sketches and drawings of everything he saw. Pickvance states, ‘Through his copies alone he created his own imaginary museum’. Accompanying a study of the past, whilst in Rome from 1856-58, Degas also drew from a model in traditional studio poses. Pickvance writes, ‘These compositions were preludes to his more concerted period of history- painting’.3 It is from this period that this exquisite drawing Head of a Man finds its origins. 1

R. Pickvance & J. Pecírka, Degas- The Drawing of Edgar Degas, Paul Hamlyn, (London, 1969), p. 10 R. Pickvance, Degas- Pastels and Drawings, Nottingham Univeristy Press, Art Gal, (Nottingham, 1969), p. 1 3 R. Pickvance , ibid, p. 2 2


This is one of four charcoal and graphite studies of heads, drawn from the same model. Three of the four drawings, including the present sheet, were sold as a single lot, framed together, at Degas’ posthumous studio sale of 1919. Hans Tietze first identified the drawings as a group in 1947. Tietze dated the drawings ca. 1856, seeing in them the academic influence of Louis Lamothe, Degas’ teacher at the Ecole des Beaux- Arts.4 In 1988, Angelica Rudentstine argued for a date of ca. 1858, partly due to similarities with drawings that probably date from Degas’ second Roman sojourn, but mostly due to the technical and stylistic achievement of the four studies in contrast to his earliest drawings in Rome. The sitter was first identified by Leonée and Richard Ormond, as Giacomo, a professional model active in Rome from around the late 1840s. Giacomo’s strong physiognomy appears in a drawing of 1853 by Alfred Lord Leighton.5 As a group, the four drawings are argued to have been Degas’ exploration of the academic exercise, the “tête d’expression”, as articulated by the French artist, Charles le Brun in his Caracteres des Passions of 1696. Rudenstine explores this idea further arguing that; ‘each of the four heads corresponds to diagrams from Victor Cousin’s L’Art de Dessiner of 1685, each representing the male head in a specific position drawing in perspective’.6 It is not known whether Degas carried the Cousin text to Rome with him or not, regardless, it was a work which he knew extremely well and from which he copied extensively before his trip. While clearly informed by academic principles of drawing and expression, Degas’ four Roman heads also point to the first great ambition of Degas’ maturity—his project to create a specifically modern form of portraiture. In characterising the achievement of the ‘Giacomo’ group, Rudenstine cites a wellknown passage from one of Degas’ notebooks of 1868-72: ‘Make of the tête d’expression’ (to use the Academic term, a study of the feelings of modern man […] Study Delsarte’s observations on the passionate motions of the eye. The beauty should reside simply in the very individuality of the physiognomy’.7 She concludes: ‘…the four studies of the head of Giacomo—while obviously evoking the traditions of the tête d’expression— seem to offer an early example of the highly personal method which Degas only articulated in writing a decade later […] Degas’ sensitive characterisation of his model finally constitutes a richly nuanced “portrait” of a clearly recognisable individual […] In his forceful use of line, in his modulations of light and shadow, and in his subtle variations of texture, Degas demonstrates in these drawings and independence and maturity that sets them apart from the more conventional academic studies executed at the beginning of his Italian journey’.8 4 5 6

H. Tietze, European Master Drawings in the United States, (New York, 1957), pp. 284-285 R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, New Haven, (New York, 1975), p. 30

A Z. Rudenstine, Modern Painting, Drawing and Sculpture Collected by Emily and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr, Volume IV, Harvard University Art Museum, (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 635-636 7 Ibid, pp. 635-636 8 Rudenstine, Modern Painting, Drawing and Sculpture Collected by Emily and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr, pp. 635-636


Degas explanation of his oeuvre of work perfectly summarises this study. ‘No art was ever less spontaneous than mine. What I do is the result of reflection and study of the great masters; of inspiration, spontaneity, temperament. I know nothing’.9 Jasmine Chohan

Provenance Fourth sale of the Atelier Edgar Degas, Georges Petit Gallery, Paris, 2-4 July 1919, lot 94A Private Collection, Paris Hopkins Thomas Custot, Paris In a Private Collection in New York since 2002

Literature Hans Tietze, European Master Drawings in the United States, New York, 1947, Illus. Nr. 112, pp. 284-285 Jean Sutherland Boggs, Drawings by Degas, St. Luis, 1966, p. 26 Richard Bretell and Suzanne Folds McCullagh, Degas in the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1984, p. 19 Angelica Zander Rudenstine, Modern Painting, Drawing and Sculpture Collected by Emily and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Volume IV, Cambridge, 1988, Illus., pp. 635-636 Andrew Forge and Robert Gordon, Degas, New York, 1988, Illus., p. 90

9

Pickvance, Degas- Pastels and Drawings, p. 4


Edward Burne-Jones Birmingham 1833- 1898 London Study of an Angel, 1885 Pencil on paper, signed lower right E.B.J., 26.1 x 15.2 cm ‘The resurrection was too beautiful not to be true’. 1 The drawing, a study for the larger painting Morning of the Resurrection depicts the Angel of the left hand side of the painting. Burne-Jones began this painting in 1882, but did not complete it until four years later, when it was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery. The scene depicted is Mary Magdalene’s visit to the empty tomb, where she encounters the resurrected Christ, accompanied by angels. This pencil study for a larger painting was a relatively new practice for a, now mature, Burne- Jones. After being criticised greatly by his contemporaries for his inability to draw, David Peters Corbett explains, ‘Burne- Jones swiftly saw that he would have to develop the technical skill of his painting and drawing’. 2 D. P. Corbett goes on to say that after the heavy criticism, ‘BurneJones began at this time to produce large numbers of preparatory sketches for his works and to set himself to master the Renaissance accuracy in drawing, physiology and perspective’. 3 Burne- Jones is an artist many described as believing in the beauty of religion and wanting to transmit this beauty. Fitzgerald explains that Burne- Jones, ‘Transferred the meanings of Biblical events to the everyday life of humanity, in particular the Annunciation, Mary’s loss of her Son, and the Passion, to the everyday life of humanity. The Redemption meant the alleviation of suffering in this world, ad Judgment Day was a continuous process; and there were only two questions asked in Judgment—why did you, and why didn’t you? The artist has the opportunity to supply the beauty, which most lives noticeably lack and for which they cry out, even if they scarcely know it. In so far as he fails to show beauty to other people the artist will be asked, ‘why didn’t you?’4 Through this study of the Angel from the scene of the Ressurection, one can clearly see Burne- Jones’s attempt to reflect the pure beauty of the 1

P. Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones, Sutton Publishing, London, 1997, p. 32 D. P. Corbett, Edward Burne-Jones, p. 35 3 D. P. Corbett, ibid 4 P. Fitzgerald, Edward Burne-Jones, p. 32. 2


Biblical event. The opening line of the text directly quotes Burne- Jones who proclaimed that, ‘The resurrection was too beautiful not to be true’. 5 Such a statement can be clearly seen in the preliminary drawings and final painted version of the scene. It is often argued that more than simply transmitting the beauty of Biblical tales, Burne- Jones idealised images in an attempt to bring some beauty to ugly surroundings. Julia Cartwright explains, ‘In an age when the scientific spirit has penetrated into every department of life… this master, almost alone among his peers, has revealed an imaginative faculty of the rarest description. In a period, which is essentially prosaic, when realism has invaded both art and fiction, and material prosperity seems to be the end and aim of all endeavours, he has remained a poet and an idealist… From the dullness and ugliness of the present he turns with all the passionate ardour of his being to the forgotten past, and there, in the myths and fairy-tales of the old world, he finds the food after which his soul hungers. There his love of beauty satisfied, his imagination finds itself at home’. 6 The necessary nourishment in this image was deemed to be a spiritual one. This is a nourishment of which we still remain in dire need of today. Such need of nourishment in the form of beauty can only highlighted in the increasingly industrialised and technology ridden landscape we are subject to today. Deep down a sense of Victorian melancholy remains in us all, a craving of the utopian beauty that existed in reality years ago and Burne- Jones reminds us of repeatedly in his work. Jasmine Chohan

Provenance Artist’s Studio Sale, Remaining Works of That Eminent Painter, Sire Edward Burne-Jones, lot 135, Christie’s, London, 18 July 1898 Gribble Collection, from 1898 Miss Radcliffe Collection, until 1918 Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London, 1968 Private Collection, Northern Germany

5 6

P. Fitzgerald, ibid J. Cartwright, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, His Life and Work, Art Annual, 1894, pp. 1-2.


Exhibitions Exhibition of French & English Drawings, 19th & 20th Centuries. Agnew & Sons, Ltd., London, cat. - no. 71, 1968

Certificate John Christian has certified the authenticity of this drawing


Robert Delaunay Paris 1885 - 1941 Montpellier Study for the Central Facade of the Railway Pavilion in Paris, 1936 - 1937 Gouache on tracing paper mounted on board, 24.7 x 43 cm “I have never in my life seen a straight line (...) They look as if they were straight, but they never are straight. When I was young, I got into trouble often enough because I painted all my houses at an angle. The way I saw them.” Delaunay. The early 20th century saw a number of key artistic movements including Fauvism, Brücke and Cubism, gather great strength and impetus. Robert Delaunay however, never conformed to one of these groups and instead gave his paintings a distinct character and original quality that are hard to mistake as being anyone’s but his own. Born in 1885, Delaunay though far younger than Kandinsky, was very much inspired by his predecessor.1 Living in Paris, the cultural hub of its time, Delaunay formed close relationships with his artistic contemporaries that also had its effect on his own creative directions. His influential encounter with Neo-Impressionism led to his early experimentations with pointillism where he attempted separating colours through the application of paint in regular dashes. Delaunay, however was far from a conformist. ‘His contributions to the Salons were among those most generally noticed and also those most generally reviewed.’2 In February 1912 he was given the chance to have a one-man show at the Barbazanges Gallery. At the time, solo-artist shows were a rarity and even more so, for a live artist. This was an exceptional honour – a testament to the value placed on his works even during his own lifetime. Before 1914, he had managed to exhibit paintings in Europe as well as America. One of the most important figures among Delaunay’s friends, who showed him great public support, was the renowned writer and art critic Guillaume Apollinaire. He was present at all the exhibitions, conferences and gatherings the artist took part in and even wrote poetry about the artist’s depictions of Paris. Delaunay impacted both artists and poets alike; his ‘poetically visionary realm’ where 1 2

M. Rosenthal and M. Drutt, Visions of Paris: Robert Delaunay’s Series (New York, 1997) pp. 78-85 M. Rosenthal and M. Drutt, ibid


the familiar translated into myriads of interlocking fragments, enthralled and inspired viewers.3 Theodor Daübler wrote: ‘Delaunay has made it impossible for us to see the metropolis naturalistically in pictures that show it straight and perpendicular. Rows of houses seem to curve away in terror; we seem to see them from the curving path of a speeding train.’4 Looking at the study for the central façade of the Railway Pavilion, Daübler’s comment resonates. In 1935 Delaunay was commissioned by the International Arts and Crafts Exhibition in Paris to direct the decoration of the Aeronautics and Railway Pavilions at the Paris World’s Exhibition. Supported by fifty other artists, this was a highly significant project and was the first of its time to offer abstract painting a chance to showcase itself on such a scale. This work on paper was a design for a mural for the Railway Pavilion for the Exposition of 1937 in Paris. Here, subject, style and method have been merged into complete unity. The luminous white vertical lines that dissect the picture surface mirror railway tracks in their uniform rhythm. This motif is again repeated in the darker striations which seem to flow into the background like tracks disappearing beyond a turn in the landscape. The sinuously curving lines, broken helix forms and playful coloured circles reflect the joy of travelling. Feelings of opportunity, adventure and surprise mingle with symbols indicating movement and direction. Inevitably, the location for which this work was made had a profound effect on the visual language employed by Delaunay. In many ways, the Exposition allowed Delaunay to bring his vast projects to fruition and fulfil his aspirations of transforming his abstract forms into monumental works. Prior to this, the few decorative pieces he had been able to make were those for his friends’ apartments and, except in the case of the works in the 1925 exhibition, were not exposed to the public. The fact that he had tried to experiment with large dimensions and the lasting appeal of working on a big scale, prove the artist’s desire to set himself free from the conventions of easel painting. Unfortunately, after this project due to ill-health, Delaunay only had the chance to produce three more immense compositions which share the murals’ intensity and vibrant abstract character. The design for the mural for the Railway Pavilion for the Exposition of 1937 was exhibited in Barcelona in 2000-2001, Aix in 2001 and Châteauroux in 2002. Bojana Popovic

3 4

V. Gustav, Robert Delaunay Light and Colour, (London, 1969), p. 42 T. Daübler quoted in V. Gustav, Robert Delaunay Light and Colour, (London, 1969), p. 44


Exhibitions Barcelona 2000-2001, colour illustration Nr. 200, p. 237 Aix 2001, not illustrated Châteauroux 2002, not illustrated

Literature Félix Aublet, La Traversée du Siècle 1903-1978

Certificate Mr. Jean-Louis Delaunay has confirmed the authenticity of this work


Alberto Giacometti Borogno 1901 - 1966 Coire Heads of Matisse, 1956, ballpoint pen, traces of graphite on printed paper 22.5 x 29.6 cm “Then, as he so often does, Giacometti began to draw on the fly leaf of a book or review which he had in his pocket. He drew with rapid, free strokes of his ballpoint pen, hardly raising it from the paper when he glanced up, as he did constantly, to observe the scene before him.”1 Giacometti’s drawings serve as testaments to his unquenchable struggle to “get a grip on reality” and “to discover new worlds” in the process.2 As such, they are instrumental to understanding his concerns about the nature of representation and perception. His draughtsmanship became especially important following a transformative experience in a Montparnasse cinema in 1945.3 Looking at the screen Giacometti suddenly saw moving stains where previously recognisable figures appeared. Surveying the audience around him resulted in a similarly estranged experience and the sense of ruptured reality persisted as he made his way into the streets.4 Representing the shock of alienation from the familiar subsequently became the central problem addressed in his works. In his 1946 autobiographical essay ‘The Dream, the Sphinx and the Death of T.’ the artist recounts that during this period he began seeing heads in the void suspended in time and in between states of being, “dead and alive at the same time.”5 It is this No Man’s Land of perception brimming with tension that he sought to recreate, challenging a photographic conception of reality that he thought was taken for granted.6 Giacometti’s drawings from the early fifties explore the subtle relationship between opposing forces operating simultaneously.7 Depicting the human head allowed him to explore these concerns. Though the subject was not 1

Lord, J., in Six Studies of Henri Matisse by Alberto Giacometti (Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1964), p. 6 Giacometti, A., ‘My Reality’ reply to a questionnaire entitled A chacun sa realité originally published in XXme Siecle, no. 9, June 1957. cited in Peppiatt, M., Alberto Giaometti in Postwar Paris (New Haven and London, 2001), p. 37 3 Peppiatt, M., p. 6 4 Sylvester, D., Looking at Alberto Giacometti (London, 1994), p. 146 5 Giacometti, A., ‘The Dream, the Sphinx and the Death of T.,’ in Peppiatt, M., Alberto Giaometti in Postwar Paris (New Haven and London, 2001), p. 31 6 Sylvester, D., p. 146 7 Fletcher, V., ed., Alberto Giacometti 1901-1966 (London 1988), p. 52 2


uncommon up to this point, from 1950 onwards portraits made up a significant part of his artistic output.8 These works demonstrate him grappling with the problem of depicting flickering moments condensed in a single image, serving as a mode of research on visualising depth, distance, and motion suspended in the stillness of the page. Instead of resolving polarities that arise from the movement of figures in time and space, he highlights the discrepancies of vision through the use of gestural strokes. The two most frequently depicted models from this period are his brother Diego and wife Annette but close friends such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Genet also appear. The present drawing is one of many studies executed to produce a medallion bearing the portrait of Henri Matisse for the French mint. The ageing artist personally chose Giacometti for the commission.9 Sittings for the preparatory drawings began around May or June of 1954 but were halted a few weeks later due to Matisse’s deteriorating health. He briefly resumed posing in September but in comparison to earlier sketches these depict a shadow of a man, portending his imminent death in November of the same year. The sessions proved problematic. Matisse turned out to be a restless model, while Giacometti was frequently overcome with the impossible nature of the task before him. He later remembered, “I was drawing... and at the same time observing what cannot be captured by drawing.”10 The work is executed on a July 1954 issue of Les Temps Modernes, dating from the first phase of the sittings. Accordingly, these blue ballpoint renderings indicate a play with proportions, angles and features familiarising Giacometti with the face before him. The choice of paper is not unusual, he was known to sketch on any available scrap at hand.11 Six portraits are depicted on the front and end pages of the review. The two three-quarter view close-ups on the right are composed of few discontinuous lines whilst the smaller likenesses are comprised of denser strokes. Giacometti trained his eyes as well as hands through drawing. The two heads on top of both sides of the page are obscured by newsprint, their features hardly visible. It is as if the artist was building up an archive of gestures to be used in later depictions of Matisse. The ‘M’ eclipsing the frontal view of the face in the top right, perhaps a reference to the model’s last name, seems to surface in another, larger pencil drawing also dated July 1954. Matisse is seated facing the viewer. Above his eyebrows, echoing their triangular arches, the graphite lines appear to form a wan capital ‘M.’ Though the intentionality of the motif cannot be ascertained, it is worth noting that in this drawing, on the end page of the review, Giacometti traced ‘Les Temps’ and again the ‘M’ of ‘Modernes,’ suggesting a certain level of engagement with these segments of text. Whilst the present work 8

Bonnefoy, Y., trans. Stewart, J., Alberto Giacometti- A biography of his work (Paris, 1991), p. 369 Lord, J., Giacometti: A Biography (London, 1986), p. 342 10 Giacometti quoted in ibid, p. 343 11 Peppiatt, M., p. 8 9


differs from the more carefully executed portraits of Matisse on sheets of white paper, they bear the marks of his mature draughtsmanship in the energetic lines reconfiguring the features of his model. It is a powerful example of his unending commitment to record to the best of his abilities not what was before him but how he saw the world. As James Lord, his biographer and close friend observed, it is exactly the “unfinished” quality of his works that makes them “as fully realized as a work of art may be.”12 The drawing once belonged to Maurice Lefebvre-Foinet, a friend descended from a renowned family of French art collectors, whose portrait Giacometti painted about 1964-5.

Fruzsina Bekefi

Provenance Maurice Lefebvre-Foinet, Paris, acquired about 1954 Thence by descent

Literature James Lord, Dessins d’Alberto Giacometti, Paris, 1961, p. 176, no. 81 (illus. p. 177) Base de données (database) de la Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, no. 1337, Base de données de l’Association Alberto et Annette Giacometti, no. D2009 - 29

12

Lord, J., in Six Studies of Henri Matisse by Alberto Giacometti (Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, 1964), p. 9


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A Selection of Master Drawings and Sculptures by Baltasar Lobo - Delaunay - Degas - Zuccaro - Piazzetta - Boilly

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A Selection of Master Drawings and Sculptures by Baltasar Lobo - Delaunay - Degas - Zuccaro - Piazzetta - Boilly

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