Lot 37
  • 37

Gaetano Chierici

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Gaetano Chierici
  • La maschera
  • signed and dated Chierici / Gaetano / 1874 centre left
  • oil on canvas
  • 76 by 109cm., 30 by 43in.


Possibly, Mr Lloyd Tevis, San Francisco (acquired from the artist)
S. P. Avery, New York
The Corcoran Museum of Fine Art, Washington, D.C.
Frost & Reed, London
Sale: Christie's, London, 4 May 1973, lot 121
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Bath, Bath Festival, Victoria Art Gallery, 1969 (as Fun and Fright)

Catalogue Note

By the 1880s, Gaetano Chierici was already a highly sought after painter, with exhibitions in Italy and abroad and wealthy commissioners around the world. Although he trained and lived in Florence during the key years of the Macchiaioli group, he was never drawn to what could be considered the Italian equivalent of the Impressionist group. On the contrary, he developed such a realist style in his attention to details, that critics have often compared him to sixteenth-century Flemish artists. 

Chierici’s works might at first seem quite staged to the viewer. Usually set in a house interior, they often capture an intimate moment in the day of a poor family in nineteenth-century Italy. Although the attention to detail and the study behind the composition are impressive, Chierici’s works are neither stiff nor dull. In fact, the artist is able to bring to life his pictures with great care and love towards every single person or object just as it transpires in this work, La Maschera, where a little boy scares his mother by surprising her in the kitchen wearing a grotesque mask.

Painted in 1874, this is one of the numerous versions of the subject painted by the artist. When the first version of La Maschera (1869, Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan) was exhibited, the success was immediate. Chierici painted several further versions and, depending on the buyer's budget, would customize the versions according to details and size. A letter to the artist dated 10 March 1874, reveals that Cheirici was working on a version of La Maschera for Mr Lloyd Tevis in San Francisco, banker and president of Wells Fargo Company.