Raffaello Vanni was son of Francesco Vanni (1564-1610), Sienna leading artist of late sixteenth century but being only 15 when his father died, he didn’t take profit of his teaching. He studied mainly in Rome, with Antonio Carracci, learning also from the new styles of the Lombard Caravaggio and the Bolognese Carracci, Reni or Dominichino. He was later seduced by Pietro da Cortona, and then imported Baroque in Sienna, where he in turn became the leading artist. It is most possible that during his apprenticeship with Antonio Carracci he also studied the Antique, so present in Rome, and our drawing might be one of those studies, though we have been unable to identify the model (the head looks much like the Capitoline Venus).
The drawings as of today identified by Rafaello Vanni are mainly pen and brown ink, sometimes heightened with white wash. In his monumental repertory, Pittori senesi del Seicento, Sienna 2010, Marco Ciampolini reproduces a red chalk drawing from Amsterdam, Saint Catherine sustained by an angel and a nun (Historisch Museum, A-18079, vol.III, tav.521). By its monumental style, our drawing announces the Sybils frescoed in Santa Marta (1622) and San Sebastiano in Vallepiatta (contrada della Selva) in Sienna. We are grateful to Marco Ciampolini for his e-mail dated 28/02/2018: « per me potrebbe davvero essere un disegno di Raffaello Vanni, quando in gioventù studiava i classici antichi nella bottega di Antonio Carracci ».
After training in Brussels and Antwerp, his skill for the representation of horses and landscapes being known abroad, he is called in Paris by Charles Le Brun. He is in charge of immortalizing the King’s image, and follows Louis XIV in all his travels, including battles. He was entitled « peintre ordinaire des Conqêtes du Roy ». This rapid sketch, obviously made on the spot, does not seem to have been used in a larger composition.
Invoked against epidemics, especially those of plague, Roch (circa 1350-1380) became in the fifteenth century one of the most venerated, and then represented, of Christianity. Born into a rich family in Montpellier, he chose eremitic life. Pilgrimage led him to Rome from 1368 to 1371. Caught by plague, he lived in the woods where God sent him an angel to cure him, while a dog brought him bread every day. Back in Montpellier, nobody recognized him, and he was jailed as spy, and there he died. His relics were brought to Venice in 1485, and the Scuola Grande di San Rocco was built to house them. It is most probably for this confraternity that Tiepolo, in the 1730’s, painted a series of small canvases with the saint, each member of the confraternity being supposed to have one.
We know today of twenty two canvases, all of vertical shape. Four of them, in private collections, show a composition similar to our drawing, the figure being seen from three-quarters back.
Our drawing, essentially made of light contrasts, can, by the abundant use of wash, be compared to some drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (George Knox, catalogue of the Tiepolo Drawings in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1975, nn.2, 9, 13, 16)) or in the national gallery in Trieste, them too dating from the 1730’s.
Professor George Knox, to whom we are grateful for confirming the attribution and his help with this entry, enhances the rarity of this type of drawing in Tiepolo’s work, and emphasizes the wonderful luminosity of this sheet.
The sitter, born 1705, is here represented the year of his 60th birthday, which is also the year of his second wedding with Octavie Belot, author of many books concerning British history. An emblematic figure of Parisian parliamentary nobility, Durey de Mesnières was president of the second Inquiry chamber at the Paris Parliament, and an obstinate opposite to the royal power, which led him, and colleagues, to exile first in Moulins(1732), then in Bourges. He published, anonymously, with lawyer Louis-Adrien Le Paige, a Histoire de la détention du Cardinal de Retz (1755), conceived as a violent critic of monarchic arbitrary. He was also an erudite man, owing one of his times most important juridical library, corresponding with Voltaire, and esteemed by Diderot.
The year of this portrait, Frey is at the best of his art, received as associate member at the Académie de Saint Luc, and mostly "peintre de Mesdames"(the King's daughters), replacing Maurice Quentin de La Tour. After a modest beginning in Strasbourg in the 40's, Frey is in Paris from 1754, working for "les Bâtiments du Roi" to copy official portraits, which gives him a technical skill that will won him the prestigious title of "peintre de Mesdames". In 1776 and 1777 he will also be painter to the prince of Zwei Brücken.
Formerly in the collections of Philippe de Chennevières (Lugt n°2072 lower left), and Albert Finot (Lugt n°3627 lower right), as Vien.
At the 1791 Salon, the last one he attended, Jollain presented six paintings among them Œdipe aveugle conduit par Antigone, now lost, of which this drawing is certainly a memory. The subject is taken from the life of the legendary king of Thebes, who after discovering he had killed his father and married his mother, blinded himself and is expelled from the city by his own sons. His daughter Antigine helps hilm and leads him in Attique where the local king Theseus will give him hospitality until he dies in Colone, near Athens.
Nicolas-René Jollain studied with Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre, the First painter to the King, and won the second Rome prize in 1754. He was “agrée” at the Academy in 1765, and received academitian in 1773, with le charitable Samaritain (église Saint Nicolas du Chardonnet, Paris). In 1788, he is keeper of the King’s pictures. He attends the Salon from until 1791. He worked for the King (frappement du rocher, 1783, Paris, église Saint Eustache), for Fontainebleau (Jésus au milieu des docteurs, 1781), and the Paris Charterhouse (entrée du Christ à Jérusalem, 1771).
The use of brown and grey was is frequent for Jollain. He was Girodet’s first master, and also painted a Belisarius (1767 Salon, Dartmouth Collège), which inspired Jacques-Louis David.
Despite his prolific output, there is still a great deal of mystery about Louis Roland Trinquesse’s life. It is thought that he came from Burgundy, and was the son of a portrait painter who had studied with Nicolas de Largillière, but lived in Flanders and studying at The Hague academy in 1768, the in Paris in 1769, where he won his first medal in October 1770.It seems that he repeatedly refused to join the prestigious Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which would have given him an entry to the Salons, preferring to exhibit at the Salon de la Correspondance from 1779 to 1793and at the Louvre in 1791 and 1793(these two Salons were open to all artists, whether or not from the Académie). His last known work is dated 1797, and he is thought to have died in 1800. Today he is known mainly for his superb red chalks drawings of female subjects, which can be dated between 1778 and 1780, for which we he used three models, Marianne Frammery, Louise Charlotte Marini and Nicolle Elisabeth Bain. But he was an admirable portrait and genre painter as well , and also drew small round portraits with the precision of an engraver, based on the prototype made popular by Charles-Nicolas Cochin and Augustin de Saint-Aubin. The picture here, in its original frame, is a fine example.
Hans Garnjobst studies decorative painting in Basel from 1879 to 1881, before attending in Paris the lessons of Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) at the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris, from 1881 to 1883, date of his departure for Italy (mainly Florence, Rome, Naples) until 1889, year of his return to Basel (again for a period of three years). Since 1889, he shares his time between his Minusio house (Canton Ticino) and Paris in winter. He settles definitively in Paris in 1935. In 1886, he sent three works (151 Fantasy ; 152 Roman landscape,watercolor ; 154 Head of an old man, watercolor) to a travelling exhibition in Switzerland (exhibition of the Société Suisse des Beaux Arts ; in the Zürich exhibition catalogue, he is described as « Hans Garnjobst aus Basel in Rom »). In 1898, Emile Hinzelin, writes for La Lorraine-Artiste dated 16 January, reviewing an exhibition in Basel mentions « Hans Garnjobst, qui restitue aux femmes leur physionomie d’attention un peu étonnée ». He participated to the Exposition Internationale Universelle of 1900 in Paris with three works, My Mother, Primitive period, Autumn morning, Locarno, watercolor (respectively n°71, 72, 73, of the official catalogue which introduces him as « élève de M. Gérôme », he was then living 12 rue Boissonnade in Paris). In 1901 il he had a personal exhibition in Munich, and in 1909, he loaned for the 8th Biennale in Venice a Léda, by his friend Albert Besnard (1849-1934, catalogue n° 28). The works we present, some of which are signed or annotated by his wife (Rosalie Moglia, 1888-1972, they had a daughter Hélène, 1916-1999), date for the main part of the South Italy trip, views of Pompeii or the Naples bay.
The Thieme-Becker dictionary reports that our artist began in a style close to his compatriot Arnold Böcklin (1827-1901), to evolve, probably due to his Paris, sojourn, towards Puvis de Chavannes (1824-1898) or Albert Besnard (Garnjobst’s friend, as we saw). Nothing such appears in the works we present which seem to us eventually closer to another compatriot and contemporary (they both exhibited in Basel in 1898), the ticinese Augusto Giacometti (1877-1947). But, above all, if we compare to French painting, anticipating the colorful Fauve explosion.
The attribution of this drawing to Domenico Piola, probably the most prolific Genoese draughtsman of his period, can be made at first glance, and is supported by the existence of a signed and dated 1677 altarpiece still in its original location in the Santissima Annunziata oratory in Spotorno (near Savona) representing The Virgin and Child appearing to the saints Francis of Assisi and Anthony of Padua; the comparison with the preparatory drawing, kept in the Palazzo Rosso of Genoa, invite us to date both of them of the same period. Piola painted to altarpieces for Spotorno, the first being an Assumption dated 1664, still in-situ. The church was ornated over fifteen years with a series of canvases with marial subjects, by various Ligurian artists, starting with Giulio Benso in 1659. Compared to the painting, our drawing shows a very different composition, the Virgin being in profile and no more facing, no more Christ child in her arms, and just to saint Francis of Assisi, giving him the string to replace the leather belt, that was to be used by all the branches of the minor brothers order.
Medium and Condition:
black chalk with some red chalk used for the ear and mouth and around the eyes and faintly visible on the face. There is white heightening on the left side of the forehead, the edge of the collar, on the bridge of the nose, and two small patches on the ear. Black chalk is also used to suggest a shadow on the right side rising in a slant to the right from the shoulder before it stops. The paper is light beige and unevenly trimmed at the corners.
Provenance: French private collection; its sale Paris Enchères, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 13 March 2019, n° 17 (« école florentine du XVIIème siècle »)
This portrait drawing is a very early work by Bernini. It must be earlier than his Self-Portrait in the Uffizi, with which it has important elements in common. However, it is less confidently drawn and less finished throughout. The most significant shared element is the drawing of the ear that is exceptionally detailed in the earlier drawing but differs from Bernini’s own ear that, like the other ear, seems to be a life study of a body part rarely given much attention. There are only two other visible ears in Bernini portrait drawings - one of an “elderly man with mustache and small painted beard” in a private collection in New York; the other with Colnaghi’s in 1993. Neither work can be precisely dated but the first was probably made by 1625, the second a little later. The remaining portrait drawings – all of male sitters – have ears covered by their hair.
The treatment of the eyes of both sitters reveals Bernini’s careful study of this crucial feature in any successful portrait of the human face. In this early one, Bernini has placed the eyes in a suggestion of an oval hollow with a line on the lower edge of the upper lid but otherwise only white chalk beside the pupils and even a bit of white on the lid of the left [proper right] eye to define them. The far eye has a curved brown chalk line below the brow that seems too neat for Bernini but the same chalk is used for the nostrils. There is a well-defined eyebrow over the far eye but little visible hair over the near eye that may have been damaged by rubbing. Finally the pupils are correctly placed to make us believe the sitter is looking at us. In Bernini’s own portrait, however, he has not managed the foreshortened eye on our right – it needed to be a bit smaller and less oval.
The nose in the early drawing is beautifully realized: the shadow on its right side defines the length of his elegant nose and a few white marks define its width. The nostrils are reddish-brown marks in the right spots but the mouth seems too small. The moustache and small goatee below also lack the brio of the black chalk describing the sitter’s hair. Perhaps they were done after the sitter left. Finally the far side of the sitter’s face is defined by an almost invisible contour line.
An important difference between these two drawings concerns an element that other artists making 3/4 view portrait drawings often get wrong, namely judging the scale between the head and the supporting neck and shoulders. In the earlier drawing the neck seems too short and the width of the shoulders not wide enough to match the size of the head. Bernini’s treatment of the collar and shoulders in his own portrait has more generous proportions. His neck and chin are above the collar and his more skillful treatment of the collar seen in partial foreshortening allows us to imagine its hidden forms behind him and his upper torso. And one final difference – the earlier drawing uses trois crayons but Bernini uses them to greater effect in his own self-portrait.
The discovery of this drawing allows us to watch Bernini learning how to draw the head and torso of a male sitter and doing it before he began to do it in three dimensions. The unknown sitter who patiently sat for the teenage genius may have been a family friend. His small white collar and buttoned jacket implies that he was educated, and was maybe a minor cleric.
Ann Sutherland Harris
Professor Emerita, University of Pittsburgh
We propose attributing this extremely clean-lined drawing to Nicolas Poussin. Probably a fragment of a larger drawing, it is very certainly a copy of an antique motif, which we have been unable to identify. The firm line, which breaks off in certain places, and the extremely rapid way of indicating the eyes with a simple stroke are found in several drawings between 1635 and 1637: A Man Healing a Lion (Orléans, Musée des Beaux-Arts; see Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat, Nicolas Poussin 1594-1665, catalogue raisonné of drawings, vol. I, Milan, Leonardo, 1994, no. 130), Sheet of Studies after the Antique, Inspired by Reading Pliny (Paris, Prat Collection; see Rosenberg/Prat, op. cit., no. 131, who mention the “firm pen and the succinct way in which the figures are depicted”), The Satyr and the Peasant (Paris, private collection; Rosenberg-Prat, op. cit., no. 192), and Christ with St Peter (Saint Petersburg, Hermitage; Rosenberg-Prat, op. cit., no. 244). The fact that these examples are copies of antique monuments (and we have not cited them all) supports our theory that the sketch here is also a copy of some detail in a mosaic or bas-relief.
The Return from the Conference represents the acme of Courbet’s anti-clerical and anti-academic period. In 1862-1863, he also worked on a painting entitled The Hippocrene Spring, in which the personification of the mythical spring is shown spitting into it. This was a deliberate mocking of Ingres’s or of the academic taste in general imbued with veneration for an innocent antiquity, while the first picture criticised the clergy and their collaboration with Napoleon III. Courbet began to paint the final version of this large painting in December 1862, which he mentioned in a letter to Léon Isabey : “At the moment, I am working on a crucial picture for the next exhibition. This painting will make the whole country laugh, especially me. It’s the most grotesque picture that’s ever been seen in painting.” He also told his parents that this would be a work of political opposition. Tradition has it that the subject of The Return from the Conference was inspired by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, whom Courbet knew at least from 1847. However, there are no documents to back up this theory. Rather, the philosopher seems to have been influenced by the painter. On 9 August 1863, Proudhon wrote, “At the moment, I am much involved in my work on art […]. It’s all about Courbet’s painting with the priests, which was rejected for the Exhibition.” Courbet spent a period in Saintonge from 1862 to 1863. Despite this move, both the painting and the watercolour here feature the landscape of the Franche-Comté, with the steep limestone cliffs typical of Courbet’s and Proudhon’s native region. The centre of the composition is taken up with a group of drunken priests, the fattest of whom is mounted on a donkey – adding further provocation in parodying Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. Behind this group stand three other priests, also clearly tipsy. On either side we see villagers and peasants, one of them doubled up with laughter. The painting no longer exists. Intended for exhibition at the Salon of 1863, it was rejected because it insulted the Catholic Church, and was even refused by the Salon des Refusés, an institution created the same year at the Emperor’s initiative. But Courbet advertised it widely, and had it engraved. One of these engravings is now in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France Print Department. There are also two painted sketches, one in the Kunstmuseum Basel, the other in a private collection, in addition to a drawing in the Musée Courbet in Ornans, copied from the painting by an unknown artist. Courbet later produced a whole series of Tipsy Priests as well, engraved on end-grain wood and published in Brussels in 1868 (reprinted in 1884). Meanwhile, the painting itself, after being sold in late 1881 at the Hôtel Drouot, then exhibited at the Georges Petit Gallery, fell into the hands of an outraged Catholic at the end of the century, who bought it specifically to destroy it on the spot. However, a photograph of it has come down to us. To establish the role played in the painting by the drawing here in this context, we should first emphasise that it is signed “Courbet” and dated “June 1862”. The writing has merged with the coloured layers of the watercolour, whose flow, especially in the landscape, is very similar to what we know of Courbet’s style (even though we have very few watercolours by him, apart from a few wash drawings). Is it possible that Corot, whom Courbet met in Saintonge, encouraged him to try out this technique? Whatever the truth of the matter, there is no reason to doubt that the original watercolour, before it was covered with a drawing is indeed by Courbet. But what part did this vibrant, magnificently coloured sketch play in the creative process of the picture? To begin with, the perfection of the landscape, containing trees, a fortified castle, a church and a few slender figures in the background (details that differ from the painting) suggests that this sketch was not a preparatory drawing; nor was it simply copied from the finished picture, given its differences with the painting. But then, apart from the fresh, generous lines of the landscape and cassocks, which match Courbet’s style in every particular, we find different, sharper and more detailed strokes delineating the faces. This meticulousness is untypical of Courbet, who far from outlining features in minute detail, brought them to life through colour itself. He did not draw his faces: he painted them. So in terms of attribution, we must assume, in view of this particularity, that the faces were reworked by someone else, whose concern was to detail the comical expressions of the characters. What could have been the reason for this? It would seem that the second draughtsman worked on it in this way to reproduce the painting through engraving, wishing to “polish up” the composition with this in mind. However, the drawing here was not the model for the only existing engraving of this scene – as witness, for example (and this is only one detail), the priest on the far right who has lost his hat. This is an old man in a wig with an innocent smile in the watercolour, while the corresponding figure in the engraving and in the painting is younger, with a more rustic look and a somewhat sulky expression. We can thus assume that the zealous draughtsman in question was competing with the engraver who was finally chosen. To conclude, this is incontestably a sketch by Courbet dating from his Saintonge period, in which the faces have been reworked later by another artist with the aim of ensuring absolute clarity in the subject and the figures.
Pier Leone Ghezzi, son and grandson of painters, first trained with his father, near Ascoli Piceno in the Marches, acquiring a great technical skill, but also practising caraicature, which will become his main activity in the second part of his career, and for which he is today famous. In the first twenty years of the eighteenth century, he works mainly for Pope Clement XI Albani, also from the Marches, first for the family chapel in St Sebastian out of the walls , the, with other artists on the two main public constructions, the naves of St Clement (1716) et de St John of the Lateran (1718). After the Pope’s death in 1721, he gets closer to the French, around the ambassador cardinal Melchior de Polignac. Our drawing, obviously the fragment of a larger one, introduces us in an artist’s workshop, and at first look we understand that both painter and sitter are dwarves. Le jeu serré de hachures, and the caricatural tone of the drawing incite us to suggest an attribution to Pier Leone Ghezzi, whose satiric tone in his portraits of Roman society and the Grand Tourists is well known. He generally prefers to portray one figure at a time, but we know of some drawings with several figures. We also know of a charicatural portrait of Bouchardon working on a bust, in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Rome (cf Edouard Kopp, « A new portrait of Pier Leone Ghezzi by Edme Bouchardon », in Master Drawings, volume LIII, number 4, 2015, pp. 481-484, fig.4) quite close in handling.
The son of master plasterers from the Landes, young Despiau comes in Paris in 1891 and enters the year after the Ecole nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, then in 1895 the Ecole des Beaux-arts in the workshop of sculptor Barrias who teaches him the stone carving technique. Despite some participations at the Salon des Artistes Français (from 1898 to 1900), it is not a very opulent period until 1907, when Rodin, who had noticed the young artist, asks him to work for him. After the war, there is a « boom » for public commissions, and his native city asks him in 1920 for the war memorial. He still carves portraits, but doesn’t anymore present them to salons, exhibiting only in galleries. In 1923, he creates, with Maillol, Bourdelle and Wlérick, the Salon des Tuileries. He exhibits for the first time in New York in 1927, the in 1937 at the Exposition Universelle at the Petit Palais, 52 works, a consecration. He dies in his Parisian workshop in 1946. Though forgotten by the critic, probably because of wrong choice during the Occupation, he is one of the major sculptors of the first half of twentieth century, together with Maillol and Bourdelle, representing a kind of happy classicism, sometimes called « retour à l’ordre ».
This very finished drawing is, on our opinion, a preparatory drawing by Lelio Orsi for a medal (we reproduce the one in Washington, National Gallery of Art, Samuel H.Kress Collection, 1957.14.1040) by Alfonso Ruspagiari (1521 – Reggio-Emilia – 1576) representing Camilla Ruggeri (circa 1550-1617). We know of another Orsi drawing that Ruspagiari used for a medal, a study of a female bust which he transformed into a self-portrait (cf. cat .exh. Lelio Orsi, Reggio Emilia, 1987-1988, fig. 147 a et b). The city of Novellara obtained from Charles V in 1533 the priviledge to mint coins, and from 1571, Alfonso Ruspagiari, of local nobility, was the superintendent of this mint. We have no document to prove that that lelio worked for him, but we know that on the 2 December 1567he was summoned to Reggio Emilia to supply the drawings for silver vases for Duke Alfonso II d’Este ; the 12 December 1569, Gian Antoni Signoretti (another medallist) wrote to Count Alfonso Gonzaga, lord of Novellara, that he will cast at the Novellara mint medals under the direction of Lelio Orsi (« li faro fare in disegno, overo Vostra Signoria li facia fare a messer Lelio vostro ») ; the 18 December another letter to the same lord to describe the coins he intends to mint in Novellara and proposes to send him the drawings , unless he prefers to ask for it to Orsi (« segondo parà a messer Lelio vostro »). All these documents, published in extenso in the Reggio Emilia exhibition catalogue (op. cit., pp. 287-288, documents n°s 194, 201, 202) testify of Lelio Orsi’s activity in other arts than painting, as well as it is accepted that he provided models for architects and sculptors (see the proceedings of the 2011 symposium-published in 2012- in Novellara,Orsi a Novellara, Un grande manierista in una piccola corte). His graphic style at this time, with a very sharp cross- hatching corresponds perfectly with our drawing, which aspect more refined can be explained by the fact it is a model for another artist. The Galleria Estense in Modena has in its collections a print, which seems to be the only known (inv. R.C.G.E.3687), and the related copper slab (inventary R.C.G.E. 3500, dimensions 17, 8 x 11, 4 cm), which is an exact reproduction of our drawing. It bears the monogram AH, corresponding to Hans Amman, active in Nuremberg in the early seventeenth century. Nagler (Die Monogrammisten, Münich 1858-1879) mentions this print, which he identifies to a certain « Mrs Leberwurst ». We can’t explain how the German artist knew our drawing, nor how its print (and copper slab) arrived in Modena.