Raphael Drawing and Its Eighteenth-Century Provenance

Posted in Art Market, resources, the 18th century in the news by Editor on October 22, 2009

As reported this week by various news outlets (including The Guardian, The Telegraph, and Reuters), a drawing by Raphael is up for auction in December. The Financial Times notes that “it comes to the block after the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge was unable to raise funds over the summer to purchase the drawing by Private Treaty Sale.” As reported by Artdaily.org:

1Head-of-a-Muse-by-Raphael-001LONDON —  Christie’s will offer an exceptional drawing by Raphael (1483-1520) at the Old Masters and 19th Century Art Evening Sale on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 in London. Head of a Muse was drawn by the artist as a study for a figure in Parnassus, one of the series of four frescoes in the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican which was commissioned by Pope Julius II and which was executed between 1508 and 1511. This series is widely considered to be the artist’s greatest masterpiece. The drawing will be offered at public auction for the first time in over 150 years at Christie’s in December and is expected to realize £12 million to £16 million. The current record price for an old master drawing sold at auction is £8.1 million which was realized by Michelangelo’s Risen Christ at Christie’s in July 2000, and by Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse and Rider, also at Christie’s, in July 2001. . . .

The drawing was first recorded in 1725 when it was engraved by Bernard Picart to be published in Impostures Innocentes. At the time it belonged to the celebrated Dutch collector Gosuinus Uilenbroeck (d.1741) who assembled one of the most important private libraries of the period, together with a number of splendid old master drawings. The drawing was subsequently in the collections of Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), the distinguished painter who was also one of the most celebrated old master drawing collectors, and the future King William II of Holland (1792-1849) who assembled one of the finest art collections in Europe.

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Carolus de Aquino, "Sacra exequialia in funere Jacobi II. Magne Brittanniae Regis" (Rome, 1702)

Carolus de Aquino, "Sacra exequialia in funere Jacobi II. Magne Brittanniae Regis" (Rome, 1702)

From an eighteenth-century vantage point, it’s the provenance that’s especially interesting. Lawrence’s ownership is notable, but my hunch is that the “celebrated” Dutch collector, whose name is more commonly spelled Gosuinus Uilenbroek, is largely unknown even to dixhuitièmistes. Perhaps the sale of the drawing will help make him more familiar. The British Library’s Database of Book Bindings — a remarkable resource, incidentally — includes several examples from Uilenbroek’s library.

— Craig Hanson

Collecting and Display in Italy

Posted in books, reviews by Editor on October 21, 2009

Recently added to caa.reviews:

Carole Paul, The Borghese Collections and the Display of Art in the Age of the Grand Tour (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008), 358 pages, $124.95 (9780754661344)

Reviewed by Jason Kelly, Assistant Professor, Department of History, IUPUI; posted 23 September 2009.

Paul JktCarole Paul’s ‘The Borghese Collections and the Display of Art in the Age of the Grand Tour’ is an analysis of the shifting attitudes toward collection and display—form, content, and contexts—in the world of Settecento Rome. With a focus on the Borghese’s Galleria Terrena, the suites where most of the family’s paintings hung, and the Casino Nobile, home to the sculptures, Paul examines the interrelated narratives of aristocratic patronage, grand tour sociability, the international aesthetic landscape, and the development of museums. Her arguments rest on a detailed reading of the redesign of the Borghese galleries under Prince Marcantonio Borghese IV and his architect, Antonio Asprucci, beginning in 1767 and continuing to 1800. Paul argues that the re-outfitting of the Galleria Terrena and the Casino Nobile was “one of the most significant cultural events in Rome during the age of the Grand Tour” (2). The analysis of this process sheds light on how these exhibition spaces became the high point of the princely display of antiquities and paintings in eighteenth-century Rome. As readers familiar with Paul’s earlier publications, especially ‘Making a Prince’s Museum: Drawings for the Late-Eighteenth-Century Redecoration of the Villa Borghese‘ (Los Angeles: Getty, 2000), will recognize, ‘The Borghese Collections’ is the culmination of work that has been developing for some time. It extends many of the themes discussed in the earlier book by examining the entire aesthetic, iconographic, and didactic program of the late Settecento Borghese estate. . . .

In common with Christopher Johns’s ‘Papal Art and Cultural Politics: Rome in the Age of Clement XI‘ (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993), Peter Bowron and Joseph Rishel’s ‘Art in Rome in the Eighteenth Century’ (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000), and Jeffrey Collins’s ‘Papacy and Politics in Eighteenth-Century Rome’ (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004), ‘The Borghese Collections’ examines eighteenth-century Rome’s vibrant artistic climate. Whereas Johns and Collins are concerned with papal collections and display, Paul’s work reveals the extent to which Roman aristocrats both innovated and competed with the Vatican. When comparing Prince Marcantonio Borghese IV’s program to that sponsored by Pope Pius VI Braschi at the Pio-Clementino in the 1780s, it is clear that rivalries spurred, at least in part, both patronage and new schemes for display. Along with these earlier books, Paul’s work reveals the importance of collecting as a political strategy, and she explains the centrality of iconographic programs to their design. ‘The Borghese Collections and the Display of Art in the Age of the Grand Tour’ is essential reading for students of Settecento museums, architecture, design, and the Grand Tour. . . .

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Writing for the TLS (30 September 2009) on the topic of artistic plunder in antiquity, Mary Beard (Cambridge classics professor and author of the blog, A Don’s Life) invokes Paul’s book in connection with evaluating the lines between collecting as an act of cultural productivity and collecting as a form of cultural destruction:

For a start, the contested boundary between the cultured patron and the obsessive, rapacious collector is an almost universal one. This is nicely illustrated in Carole Paul’s meticulous account of the display of the Borghese collection of paintings and antiquities in eighteenth- century Rome, ‘The Borghese Collections and the Display of Art in the Age of the Grand Tour’. In discussing the formation of the collection she devotes a short section to the seventeenth-century Scipione Borghese – a “distinguished . . . patron of the arts,” “a great Maecenas.” It is only in the next paragraph that we learn that “Scipione was also a remarkable – and ruthless – collector, who would stoop to confiscation and theft to obtain paintings, and even had artists imprisoned when they displeased him.” Same person, same habits: it all depended which side of Scipione’s patronage you were on.

HBA Publication Grant

Posted in opportunities by Editor on October 19, 2009

Historians of British Art 2010 Publication Grant
Due by 31 January 2010

The Historians of British Art (HBA) invites applications for its 2010 publication grant. The society will award up to $500 to offset publication costs of or to support additional research for a journal article or book manuscript in the field of British visual culture that has been accepted by a publisher.  Applicants must be current members of HBA. To apply, send a 500-word project description, publication information (name of journal or press and projected publication date), budget, and CV to Pamela Fletcher, HBA Prize Committee chair, at pfletcher@bowdoin.edu.

Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection at the Frick

Posted in catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 17, 2009

From the Frick’s website:

Watteau to Degas: French Drawings from the Frits Lugt Collection
Frick Collection, New York, 6 October 2009 – 10 January 2010


Colin Bailey, Susan Grace Galassi, Mària van Berge-Gerbaud, $60

Frederik Johannes Lugt (1884–1970) was a Dutch art historian, connoisseur, and collector. His fame in scholarly circles derives from two pioneering publications, still in use today: his Les marques de collections de dessins et d’estampes, published in 1921, which identifies the collectors’ marks found on Old Master prints and drawings, and the Répertoire des catalogues de ventes publiques intéressant l’art ou la curiosité, a comprehensive listing of nearly 90,000 auction catalogues from sales occurring between 1600 and 1925, published in four volumes between 1938 and 1987.

Frits Lugt, as he was known, was a born collector. By the age of eight, he had sold his shell collection to the natural history department of Amsterdam’s Royal Zoo; at fifteen, he acquired his first drawing. In his thirties, he began to collect in a more serious and systematic way, specializing in Dutch and Flemish drawings and prints, always his chief interest. During the 1920s, the decade in which he made his most important acquisitions, he also bought fifteenth-century Italian drawings and eighteenth-century French sheets.


Charles-Nicolas Cochin, "Portrait of Pierre-Jean Mariette," Graphite with stumping, 1756

Lugt was among the founders and principal supporters of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD), the institute devoted to the study of Netherlandish art and artists, established in The Hague in 1930. In 1947, he created the Fondation Custodia in Paris, to care for and to add to his collection of 6,000 Old Master drawings and 30,000 prints. The Frits Lugt Collection is widely regarded by specialists as one of the finest of its kind, but it is less well known to the general public.

Curators at The Frick Collection were invited to select for the exhibition and its accompanying catalogue Lugt’s finest eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French drawings, and the sixty-four works featured in the exhibition illuminate both Lugt’s taste and that of his successors. Included are drawings and watercolors by well-known masters of the French School such as Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard, David, Ingres, and Degas, as well as by important figures who are less familiar to the general public. This is the first time that a group of French master drawings from the Fondation Custodia has traveled to New York.

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Stijn Alsteens (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY), Frits Lugt: Connoisseur and Collector of Drawings
Wednesday, 18 November 2009, 6pm

Colin Bailey (Frick Collection), Eighteenth-Century French Drawings from The Frits Lugt Collection
Saturday, 9 January 2010, 2pm

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The show’s illustrated checklist (available here) includes more than thirty eighteenth-century drawings. The Frick’s website also includes podcasts on the exhibition by Colin Bailey and Susan Galassi.

A Dutch Collection in New York

Posted in catalogues, conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on October 16, 2009

Dutch New York between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick

Bard Graduate Center, New York,  18 September 2009 — 3 January 2010


Edited by Deborah Krohn and Peter Miller with Marybeth De Filippis, $75

This autumn the Bard Graduate Center will participate in a state-wide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage and the legacy of Dutch culture in New York with a landmark exhibition, Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick. Organized by the BGC and the New-York Historical Society and curated by Marybeth De Filippis and Deborah Krohn, Dutch New York will make a major contribution to the quadricentennial and to the scholarship of colonial New York by focusing on the life and times of a woman who during the seventeenth century lived in the rural village of Flatbush on eastern Long Island, a neighborhood still known by that name in the borough of Brooklyn today. The exhibition helps elucidate what the historian Russell Shorto has called the “forgotten colony” in his book The Island at the Center of the World. Indeed, the British roots of New York City are recognized far more widely than the Dutch, despite the city’s visible connections to the Dutch founders, most evident in street names such as Amsterdam Avenue and Varick Street.

Covered Bowl from Batavia (present-day Jakarta, Indonesia), early 18th century, silver, 5 x 7” (Gemeentemuseum, The Hague)

Covered Bowl from Batavia (present-day Jakarta, Indonesia), early 18th century, silver (Gemeentemuseum, The Hague)

Dutch New York offers an innovative approach to exhibition practice by using the probate inventory of Margrieta van Varick’s possessions compiled in 1696 as a means of examining life and culture in colonial New York. Born in Amsterdam in 1649, Margrieta spent several years at the other end of the Dutch colonial world in the Far East, primarily in Malacca (present day Malaysia) before returning to The Netherlands with her minister husband Rudolphus. In 1686 Margrieta and her family crossed the Atlantic to settle in Flatbush where Rudolphus was minister of the Dutch Reform Church and where she opened a textile shop, having brought with them an astonishing array of Eastern and European goods.

This exhibition is organized in five sections, each delineating a theme relevant to Margrieta van Varick’s life as well as exploring the wide range of goods in her possession when she died in late 1695. The exhibition first examines the inventory as a document of historical research and curatorial practice. A digital film (also available online) features an interview with renowned historian Natalie Zemon Davis in which she considers the various challenges confronting historians who use inventories for research purposes, as well as the role of women in the seventeenth century.

For the full description of the exhibition, click here»

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Lecture — Inventory: Text and Context, Bernard Herman

Thursday, 19 November 2009, 6-8 pm ($25 / $17)

RSVP required to 212.501.3011, programs@bgc.bard.edu

What can an inventory tell us? How can we use an artifact of the legal system to tease out relationships between people and their relationship to things? How does such a document translate into an exhibition? Bernard Herman, a leading scholar of American material culture, will draw on his vast knowledge of both things and people in a conversation with cultural historian Catherine Whalen and exhibition co-curator Deborah Krohn. The conversation will be followed by an exhibition viewing and reception. Bernard Herman is Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Art History, University of Delaware. Deborah Krohn is associate professor and coordinator for history and theory of museums at the Bard Graduate Center as well as co-curator of the Dutch New York exhibition. Catherine Whalen is assistant professor at the Bard Graduate Center.

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Study Day — Reflecting on Silver: Manufacture, Markets, and Meaning in Early New York

Friday, 20 November 2009 ($125 / $100 discount)

RSVP required to 212.501.3011, programs@bgc.bard.edu

This study day will focus on silver in New York in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, as an object signifying wealth, cultivation, and mastery. Concentrating on works by silversmiths Benjamin Wynkoop, Cornelius Kierstede, and Peter Van Dyck, curators Marybeth De Filippis, Beth Carver Wees, and Debra Schmidt Bach will consider aspects of stylistic influence, marketing of silver, and workshop practices. A visit to the studio of master silversmith Ubaldo Ubaldo “>Ubaldo “>Vitali in Maplewood, New Jersey, will provide an examination of the technical knowledge and cultural influences surrounding the production of silver through the centuries. Admission to the study day includes lunch and round-trip transportation to the Ubaldo Vitale studio. Marybeth De Filippis is assistant curator of American art at the New-York Historical Society as well as co-curator of the Dutch New York exhibition. Beth Carver Wees is curator in the Department of American Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Debra Schmidt Bach is assistant curator of decorative arts at the New-York Historical Society and a PhD candidate at the BGC. Ubaldo Vitali is a fourth-generation Roman silversmith, conservator, and art historian.

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A helpful article about the exhibition written by Marybeth De Filippis appears in the September issue of The Magazine Antiques.

Strawberry Hill

Posted in catalogues, exhibitions by Editor on October 15, 2009

The Walpole show at the YCBA opened yesterday in New Haven with a lecture by Michael Snodin (Senior Research Fellow at the V&A). From the museum’s website:

Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill
Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 15 October 2009 — 3 January 2010
Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 6 March — 4 July 2010

Edited by Michael Snodin (Yale University Press, 2009), $85

Ed. by Michael Snodin (Yale University Press), $85

Horace Walpole (1717–1797) was the youngest son of Robert Walpole, first earl of Orford and prime minister under both George I and George II. Horace’s birthright placed him at the center of society and politics, and of literary, aesthetic, and intellectual circles. His brilliant letters and other writings have made him the best-known commentator on social, political, and cultural life in eighteenth-century England. In his own day, he was most famous for his personal collections, which were displayed at Strawberry Hill, his pioneering Gothic-revival house on the banks of the Thames at Twickenham, outside London, and through which he constructed narratives of English art and history.

This groundbreaking exhibition seeks to evoke the breadth and importance of Walpole’s collections at Strawberry Hill by reassembling an astonishing variety of his objects, including rare books and manuscripts, antiquities, paintings, prints and drawings, furniture, ceramics, arms and armor, and curiosities. These will be drawn frominternational public and private collections as well as those of the Center and Yale’s Lewis Walpole Library in Farmington, Connecticut.

Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill has been organized by the Center, The Lewis Walpole Library, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with contributions by an array of distinguished international scholars. The Center is the only U.S. venue. The exhibition has been generously supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Michael Snodin, Discovering Strawberry Hill
Wednesday, 14 October, 5:30pm

Peter Inskip, Revealing Strawberry Hill House
Tuesday, 20 October, 5:30pm

Cynthia Roman, Works of Genius: Amateur Artists at Strawberry Hill
Wednesday, 11 November, 5:30pm

Drawings at the Getty

Posted in books, exhibitions by Editor on October 14, 2009

From the Getty’s website:

Capturing Nature’s Beauty: Three Centuries of French Landscapes

Getty Center, Los Angeles, 28 July – 1 November 2009


Édouard Kopp, exhibition catalogue (Getty, 2009) $19.95

This selection of over 40 drawings from the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute highlights key moments in the French landscape tradition, from its emergence in the 1600s to its preeminence in the 1800s. The exhibition showcases drawings by some of the masters of the genre, including Nicolas Poussin, Claude Lorrain, François Boucher, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Camille Pissarro, and Vincent van Gogh. Together these works reveal a tension between a passion for the real and the quest for an ideal. They demonstrate different facets of the relationship between the artist and the land: from simple record to creative transformation, if not pure invention. . . .


Fragonard, "Ruins of an Imperial Palace," 1759

Jean-Honoré Fragonard made this accomplished drawing while he was a student at the French Academy in Rome. The curriculum was relatively unusual because it actively promoted the practice of sketching outdoors, a sign of landscape’s increasingly elevated status as an artistic genre. In this view of the Palatine Hill as seen from the Roman Forum, the artist adopted a low viewpoint and a wide angle that allowed him to create a bold, forceful composition. Using red chalk, he brilliantly rendered the complex formal interaction between buildings and nature.


Boissieu, "Château Galliard," 1796

Jean-Jacques de Boissieu is best known for his large and delicately washed picturesque views. A trip to Italy inspired his practice of illuminating his compositions with bright sunlight. Yet his palette—dominated by grays—and meticulous attention to detail are reminiscent of earlier Dutch landscape drawings. This style enabled de Boissieu to work quite independently from the artistic trends of his time, exemplified by the works of Fragonard and Hubert Robert. The draftsman carefully framed his motif: an abandoned fortified house in Lyon, his native city, perched on a craggy hill and overgrown by nature. While capturing the atmosphere of the locale, Boissieu rendered the variety of textures with a compelling sense of materiality.

Furniture at the Wallace

Posted in conferences (to attend), exhibitions by Editor on October 13, 2009

The Wallace Collection highlights the cabinet-maker, Johann Gottlob Fiedler with a small exhibition and study day. From the museum’s website:

Study Day: Johann Gottlob Fiedler, Eighteenth-Century German Cabinet Maker

Wallace Collection, London, Thursday 15 October 2009 (£7)


Johan Gottlob Fiedler, Commode, ca. 1786 (Wallace Collection)

Achim Stiegel, Curator of Furniture at the Kunstgewerbe Museum Berlin, will present latest research on the cabinet making of Johann Gottlob Fiedler and the small group of cabinets made for patrons such as Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, later King Friedrich Wilhelm II. Jürgen Huber, Senior Furniture Conservator, Wallace Collection, will discuss the recent conservation of the Collection’s superb Fiedler commode from c.1786 and the innovative features in its construction. See the commode in a special exhibition in the Conservation Gallery,
Vorsprung durch Technik: The Innovative Work of the Cabinet-maker Johann Gottlob Fiedler (6 June – 29 November 2009).

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Townley in His Library and a New Zoffany Biography

Posted in books by Editor on October 12, 2009

Last week’s Apollo competition asked:


Johan Zoffany, "Charles Townley with His Friends in the Townley Library," oil on canvas, 1781-3 (Burnley: Townley Hall Art Gallery)

Which antiquary and collector lived at Number 14 Queen Anne’s Gate (originally called 7 Park Street)?
Clue: Most of the collection of antiquities amassed by this person was acquired by the British Museum.

The Enfilade posting on the query from October 4 included, as a hint, this well-known painting of Charles Townley with His Friends in the Townley Library by Johan Zoffany. The portrait is now part of the collection at the Towneley Hall Art Gallery at Burnley in Lancashire, England. As noted on the museum’s website, the family left the ancestral home in 1902, and the Great Hall opened as a museum the next year. In addition to a gallery of paintings, the museum showcases a variety of displays covering natural history, Egyptology, local history, textiles, and decorative arts.

As for Zoffany, we can look forward to a new biography of the painter scheduled for release in January 2010. Penelope Treadwell’s Johan Zoffany: Artist and Adventurer will be published early next year by
Paul Holberton.

Next Year’s Getty Theme — ‘Display’ Once More

Posted in fellowships, opportunities by Editor on October 11, 2009

Scholars in Residence Applications for the Getty — Due 1 November

‘The Display of Art’ continues as the theme for the Getty Research Institute from 2009–2010 into 2010–2011.

The Getty Research Institute seeks applications from established researchers as well as those at the pre- and postdoctoral levels who are interested in questions bearing upon ‘The Display of Art’ and wish to be in residence at the Getty Research Institute or Getty Villa during the 2010–2011 academic year.

The Display of Art

Art and display are inseparable. When selecting and juxtaposing objects we create narratives, assign meanings, grant relevance, and produce art history. Studying a work of art requires attention to the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of its display. The display of art will again be at the center of the scholar year, continuing and building on the theme from 2009–2010. Projects may focus on, but are not limited to, the history of museums; display in and of antiquity; private and public modes of display; the display of cultural encounter; display itself as art form; and the links between the display of art and conservation.

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This year’s scholars and fellows include:

Dominique Poulot (Professor of the History of Art at Université Paris I–Panthéon-Sorbonne and senior member of the French Universitary Institute) — Museum Cultures and Experiences in Europe, 1750–1815

Alain Schnapp (Professor of Art History and Archaeology at Université Paris I–Panthéon-Sorbonne) — Towards a Comparative History of Antiquarianism

Tristan Weddigen (Professor of the History of Early Modern Art at the University of Zurich, Switzerland) — The Collection as a Visual History of Art: The Dresden Picture Gallery in the 18th and 19th Century

Mario Epifani (doctorate from the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II) — Neapolitan Paintings in Italian and European Collections between the 17th and 18th Centuries

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