Lot 63
  • 63

Nicolas Poussin

150,000 - 200,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Nicolas Poussin
  • Two putti fighting, mounted on goats
  • oil on canvas, a fragment
  • 13 x 15 inches
  • 33.3 x 38.2 cm


Richard Owen Cambridge (died 1802);
By descent to his son, Reverend George Owen Cambridge (1756-1841), Archdeacon of Middlesex, Twickenham Meadows;
His sale, London, Christie's, 11 May 1824, lot 68, for 8 Guineas to Bartie;
J. Taylor, Esq.;
His sale, London, Phillips, 23 June 1828, lot 39;
Anonymous sale, London, Foster, 28 May 1829, lot 34, for £5.5 to Capn Peat;
Christopher Norris, acquired before World War II;
Mrs. Clive Pascall (formerly Mrs. Christopher Norris);
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 23 May 1951, lot 45, to Calman;
Michael Kroyer, London, by 1960;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Christie's 13 December 1996, lot 58.


London, Royal Academy of Arts, Catalogue of an Exhibition of Landscape in French Art, 1550-1900, 10 December 1949 - 5 March 1950, cat. no. 36;
Paris, Musée du Louvre, Nicolas Poussin, May - June 1960, cat. no. 21;
Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes; New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Poussin and Nature, Arcadian Visions, 8 October 2007 - 11 May 2008, cat. no. 22.


W. Friedländer and A. Blunt, The Drawings of Nicolas Poussin. A Catalogue Raisonné, III, London 1953, p. 44, under cat. no. 232;
D. Mahon, "Poussin's early development:  An alternative hypothesis," in The Burlington Magazine, CII, no.688, July 1960, pp. 297-98;
G. Kauffmann, "Beobachtungen in der Pariser Poussin-Ausstellung," in Kunstchronik, XIV, 1961, p. 97;
D. Mahon, "Poussiniana. Afterthoughts arising from the exhibition," in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1962, II, pp. 29, 86 (also published as a separate volume with the same pagination and an introduction, Paris, New York and London 1962);
A. Blunt, The Paintings of Nicolas Poussin. A Critical Catalogue, London 1966, p.135, cat. no.194, reproduced plate 194; X-ray photograph reproduced in section preceding p. 181;
A. Blunt, Nicolas Poussin, The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts 1958, Plates, London and New York 1967, reproduced plate 55;
K. Badt, Die Kunst des Nicolas Poussin, Cologne 1969, cat. no. 83;
A. Blunt, "The Complete Poussin," in The Burlington Magazine, CXVI, cat. no. 861, December 1974, p.762;
J. Thuillier, Tout l'oeuvre peint de Poussin: Documentation et catalogue raisonné, Paris 1974, p. 116, cat. no. B 31, reproduced (as attribution questionable);
C. Wright, Poussin Paintings. A Catalogue Raisonné, New York 1985, cat. no. A17 (as attributed to Poussin);
K. Oberhuber, Poussin, The Early Years in Rome. The Origins of French Classicism, Fort Worth 1988, pp. 202, 204, 278, cat. no. 63 reproduced; p. 337, under cat. no. D144;
P. Rosenberg and L.-A. Prat, Nicolas Poussin, Catalogue Rasionné des dessins, Milan 1994, Vol. I, p. 84, under cat. no. 45, reproduced fig. 45a;
P. Rosenberg, in Nicolas Poussin 1594 - 1665, exhibition catalogue, Paris and London, 1994, p.184, under cat. no. 32, reproduced fig. 32a;
J. Thuillier, Nicolas Poussin, Paris 1994, p. 266, cat. no. B3, reproduced (as attribution questionable);
E. Brugerolles, in Le dessin en France au XVIIe siècle dans les collections de l'École des Beaux-Arts, exhibition catalogue, Paris 2001, under cat. no. 23, reproduced;
P. Rosenberg, in Poussin and Nature, Arcadian Visions, exhibition catalogue, Bilbao and New York 2007, p. 176, cat. no. 22, reproduced.

Catalogue Note

This delightful painting of two combatting putti mounted on goats is a fragment of a once larger composition that included the figures of two nymphs at the left side.  A related pen and ink drawing by Poussin, in the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris (fig. 1), depicts, in addition to the figures of the putti, a standing nymph holding aloft two laurel wreaths and another nymph seated on a rock at the far left side.  An X-radiograph of the painting, reproduced in Blunt’s 1966 catalogue raisonné (see Literature), revealed almost the entire figure of the standing nymph and the part of an arm and leg of the seated nymph.  A subsequent restoration of the painting rendered a portion of these figures visible to the naked eye and they can be seen silhouetted in the landscape at left.  There are differences between the painting and drawing: in the painting both putti are winged and hold arrows whereas only one has wings and holds an arrow in the drawing; the pose of the nymphs and the background landscapes are noticeably different.  How the drawing, which is dated to circa 1628-30, and painting relate to one another has been the subject of speculation.  The drawing may be a preparatory study for the painting or, conversely, it could be a ricordo, considerably altered, of a painting made at a somewhat earlier date.


1.  See P. Rosenberg in Poussin and Nature, Arcadian Visions, exhibition catalogue, Bilbao and New York 2007, p. 178.