132
132
Agostino Carracci
AN EXTENSIVE WOODED LANDSCAPE WITH BUILDINGS, A MOUNTAIN IN THE DISTANCE
Estimate
35,00055,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
132
Agostino Carracci
AN EXTENSIVE WOODED LANDSCAPE WITH BUILDINGS, A MOUNTAIN IN THE DISTANCE
Estimate
35,00055,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Drawings including the Collection of Professor Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann

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New York

Agostino Carracci
BOLOGNA 1557 - 1602 PARMA
AN EXTENSIVE WOODED LANDSCAPE WITH BUILDINGS, A MOUNTAIN IN THE DISTANCE
Pen and brown ink over red chalk;
bears numbering lower right: 61, and an old inscription in pen and ink seen through the backing sheet: schizzo d'un disegno fatto di penna dal Carracci nel Palazzo d'Barberini
284 by 426 mm; 11¼ by 16¾ in
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Provenance

Pierre Crozat (his numbering in pen and brown ink lower right);
Gilbert Paignon-Dijonval (1708-1792),
by descent to his grandson, Charles-Gilbert, Viscount Morel de Vindé,
Paris, 1810, part of no. 500, as Annibale ('l'autre fait voir au milieu un moulin et diverses maisons près d'une rivière bordée de grands arbres et dans le fond un rocher très-élevéau sommet duquel est une tour');
Samuel Woodburn;
Thomas Dimsdale (L.2426);
Sir Thomas Lawrence (L.2445);
Lord Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere (L.2710b),
by descent to the 5th Earl of Ellesmere, 6th Duke of Sutherland,
his sale, London, Sotheby's, The Ellesmere collection of Drawings by the Carracci and other Bolognese Masters, 11 July 1972, Part I, lot 57 (as Annibale Carracci);
with Edward Speelmann;
Private collection

Exhibited

London, The Lawrence Gallery, Sixth Exhibition, A Catalogue of One Hundred Original Drawings by Lodovico, Agostino & Annibale Carracci, collected by Sir Thomas Lawrence, Late President of the Royal Academy, at Messrs. Woodburn's Gallery, No. 42, St. Martin's Lane, London, 1836, no. 80 (as Annibale);
P. & D. Colnaghi, London, A Loan exhibition of the Drawings by the Carracci and other Masters from the Collection of the Earl of Ellesmere, 1955, no. 30, as Annibale (catalogue by James Byam Shaw);
Bologna, Palazzo dell'Archiginnasio, Mostra dei Carracci, Disegni, 1956, no. 237, as Annibale (catalogue by Denis Mahon);
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, The Hatton Gallery, The Carracci Drawings and Paintings, 1961, no. 98, as Annibale (catalogue by Ralph Holland)

Literature

M. Bernard, Cabinet de M. Paignon Dijonval, Paris 1810, no. (as Annibale Carracci: .....);
Catalogue of the Ellesmere Collection of Drawings at Bridgewater House, London 1898, no. 103 (as Annibale);
P.A. Tomory, The Ellesmere Collection of Old Master Drawings, published by the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery, 1954, no. 39, reproduced pl. IX (as Agostino);
Denys Sutton, 'The Carracci as Draughtsmen', Country Life, February 1955, reproduced;
Benedict Nicolson, Current Exhibitions, The Burlington Magazine, February 1955, p. 64

Catalogue Note

This impressive and large landscape, although attributed to Agostino Carracci in Tomory’s catalogue in 1959 (see Literature), has otherwise generally been believed to be the work of his brother Annibale, the attribution under which it was sold the last time it appeared on the open market, in the celebrated 1972 sale of the Ellesmere Collection of drawings by the Carracci and other Bolognese Masters.

Both Annibale and Agostino made finished landscape drawings, especially during the late 1580s and early 1590s, and separating the two artists’ works of this type has often proved challenging.  In the present sheet, the more rhythmic pen manner and the studied grandeur of the composition, with strong links to Venetian landscapes in the manner of Titian, are more characteristic of the style of Agostino.

The 1580s were increasingly busy times for Agostino, his popularity growing rapidly as he travelled extensively, inter alia to Venice.  Partly reflecting his activity as a printmaker, Agostino’s penmanship gradually shifted with time to a more controlled and calibrated use of the pen and ink, the medium he preferred for his landscape drawings.  These large, finished sheets were surely executed as works in their own right to be sold to collectors.  A significant element of Agostino’s artistic output consisted of remarkable reproductive prints, after drawings and paintings by his contemporaries, a skill he first learned from Domenico Tibaldi (1541-1583), for whom he worked in around 1578/79-1581.   By 1587 Agostino was a skilful and talented engraver, capable of sophisticated tonal effects and nuances in his printed works, and his reputation was especially based on the success of his work after Venetian masters, such as Titian and Tintoretto. 

The handsome and imposing tree, in the left foreground of the present sheet, is characterized by careful cross-hatching, used to define the trunk and the roots, in contrast with the more freely described foliage.  The same controlled use of the pen and elaborate and skilful, hatched lines also define the buildings in the centre of the composition, while the rest of the landscape is rendered with looser and quicker pen strokes, which help to create a deeper recession, culminating in the high rocky mountain in the background, surmounted by a castle with a tower.

This sheet is clearly a witness to Agostino’s strong debt to earlier sixteenth-century Venetian landscapes, ultimately looking back to artist such as Domenico Campagnola and Titian, yet clearly also reflecting Northern influences, seen in both the buildings and the rocky landscape.  Not surprisingly, drawings such as this often bear old attributions to both these Venetian masters, and especially to Campagnola.1  Agostino seems to have excelled in this type of landscape, as is very evident here, where he shows his talent in the use of the media, strong and energetic, combined with a powerful image that is an inventive new take on an earlier, established approach to this subject.

The drawing has a very illustrious French and English provenance, which can be traced back to the celebrated collection of the Paris banker Pierre Crozat (1665-1740), and to Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), whose eagerness and appetite for drawings and exquisite taste made him one of the most successful drawings collectors of any period.  Lawrence’s collection was built up mainly through the agency of his friend Samuel Woodburn (1786-1853) who also provided drawings for the collection of Thomas Dimsdale (1758-1823).  The present sheet was part of the sixth exhibition of Old Master Drawings from the Lawrence collection, organized in 1836 by Woodburn, who was charged with the dispersal of the collection, after several unsuccessful attempts to sell it as a whole, following the death of Lawrence in 1830.  Thereafter, many of the drawings, including this one, were purchased by Lord Francis Egerton, later 1st Earl of Ellesmere (1800-1857).

1. See for instance: C. Robertson and C. Whistler, Drawings by the Carracci from British Collections, exhib. cat., Oxford, Ashmolean Museum and London, Hazlitt Gooden & Fox, 1996-7, p. 68, no. 28, p. 67, no. 27, reproduced

Old Master Drawings including the Collection of Professor Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann

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New York