By whom bequeathed with the rest of his collection to the University of Cambridge, but not retained in The Marlay Bequest to The Fitzwilliam Museum and anonymously sold ('The Property of a Gentleman, deceased'), London, Christie's, 1 February 1924, lot 17 (as Dosso), for £78.15s to Horace Buttery;
With Horace Buttery, London;
Otto Lanz (1865–1935), Amsterdam, by 1934;
Deposited in 1935 by his family with his entire collection at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, where placed in store;
Acquired as part of his entire collection from his widow, Anna Willi-Lanz on 28 March 1941 via his son G.B. Lanz by Hans Posse on behalf of Adolf Hitler for the Führer-Museum at Linz for RM. 2,000, and shipped to the depot in Kremsmünster later in July 1941;
Discovered by the Allied forces in the salt mines at Alt-Aussee in Austria in March 1945; registered at the Munich Collecting Point on 13 July 1945 as no. 4032; left the Collecting Point on 15 February 1946, and shipped to the Netherlands shortly after and handed over to the Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit (always as Ortolano);
Otto Lanz collection sale and others ('Tableaux... de la Renaissance Italienne, provenant de l'ancienne collection du Professor Otto Lanz, Amsterdam'), Amsterdam, Frederik Muller, 13–15 March 1951, lot 192 (as Ortolano), where bought by Staal for DFl 1,650;
With Kunsthandel Staal, Amsterdam;
From whom acquired by Dr Hans A. Wetzlar, Amsterdam;
Thence by descent to the present owner.
O. Siren, 'Early Italian pictures at Cambridge', in The Burlington Magazine, December 1920, London, p. 303, no. 213, reproduced plate IV (as by Chiodarolo);
F. Schmidt-Degenaar (ed.), Italiaansche Kunst uit Nederlandsch Bezit, exh. cat., Amsterdam, 1934, p. 93 , no. 64 (as by Ortolano);
R. Van Marle, 'La pittura all'Esposizione d'arte antica italiana di Amsterdam', in Bolletino d'arte, 1935, p. 452 (as by Ortolano);
G. Bargellesi, Notizie di opere d'arte Ferrarese, Rovigo 1955, pp. 83–86;
A. Neppi, Il Garofalo, Milan 1959, pp. 13–14 (here and subsequently as by Garofalo);
G. Mazzariol, Il Garofalo, Venice 1960, p. 15;
G. Frabetti, L'Ortolano, Milan 1966, p. 19, 52 (under no. 29), 67, reproduced fig. 24b (as by Garofalo);
E. Sambo, 'Sull''attivita giovanile di Benvenuto Tisi da Garofalo', in Paragone, no. 395, 1983, pp. 25–26 (wrongly as assuming the Marlay and Lanz picture to be separate works);
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance. Central Italian and North Italian Schools, London 1968, vol. I, p. 152;
P.D. Matthiesen (ed.), From Borso to Cesare d'Este. The School of Ferrara 1450–1628, exh. cat., London 1984, p. 78, under no. 23;
A.M. Fioravanti Baraldi, Il Garofalo, Rimini 1993, pp. 94–96, no. 19 (and under no. 18), reproduced p. 95.
Despite Berenson having recognised this picture as an early work by Garofalo in 1907, it was subsequently given by Siren to the little-known Costa follower Chiodarolo, and called 'Dosso' in the anonymous Marlay sale at Christie's, before being assigned more plausibly to Ortolano in the Lanz exhibition catalogue, as well as by Van Marle and Bargellesi. One explanation for the tenacity of the Ortolano attribution may be that until recently Garofalo was believed to have been born rather later than we now know to have been the case: he was in fact ten years older than Ortolano, whom he strongly influenced, and not his contemporary. In any event Neppi and all subsequent scholars have correctly reverted to Berenson's view that this picture is a characteristic early work by Garofalo, still Giorgionesque in character and mood. It was probably painted slightly later than his Nativity with Shepherds formerly with Colnaghi, London, datable circa 1508, in which the Infant Christ and kneeling Virgin are very similar, but which is of a less compact and organised composition, and which retains stronger echoes of Costa and of Garofalo's teacher Boccaccio Boccaccino, and probably slightly before his upright Nativity with Shepherds in Strasbourg, generally dated around 1510, though sometimes dated as late as 1513.2 There are still echoes of a putative Venetian sojourn perhaps around 1506–08 (perhaps also undertaken by Boccaccino) and, less explicably, an undeniable resonance of Fra Bartolomeo in the figure of the kneeling Virgin, as there is too in the Strasbourg work. In any event it clearly precedes Garofalo's increasingly monumental and classicizing paintings dating from circa 1512 onwards, when he was in Raphael's workshop in Rome.
The reverse of the panel is decorated en grisaille with grotesques incorporating the ihs monogram. While Garofalo's authorship of these is not certain, they do recall his grisaille decorations of the inside doors of a cupboard occupying the lower centre of his slightly earlier Annunciation in Venice, Fondazione Giorgio Cini, as well as his frescoed decorations in the vault of the Palazzo Costabili in Ferrara from the middle of the next decade.3 Garofalo was involved in several decorative schemes in Ferrara from the middle of the first decade of the sixteenth century onward, and his work in all of these reveals a close familiarity with Bolognese decorative schemes, such as those executed by Francesco Francia, Lorenzo Costa, and most tellingly in the present context, Amico Aspertini.
Note on Provenance
Charles Brinsley Marlay (fig. 1) was the grandson of collectors James Tisdall of Bacon and his wife, who when widowed married the Earl of Charleville. Little of their collections passed to Marlay, but he did inherit substantial estates in Ireland, which funded his amassing of an immense and varied collection of his own of paintings, drawings, books and works of art, which he housed in his large house in Regent's Park.4 During his lifetime he planned his bequest of his collection to Cambridge University to benefit the Fitzwilliam Museum together with a substantial legacy to fund its housing and display and a curator. Though not specified in his Will, his nephew and executor the Duke of Rutland approved his written wish that anything in the collections considered below museum standard could be sold to fund other works of art in his name, which is why this picture was first published in The Burlington Magazine in 1920 as part of the Marlay Bequest and subsequently sold anonymously from his deceased estate.5 Little is known about Marlay's collecting but he showed a marked preference 'for well-preserved and characteristic work by the secondary painters of fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Italy, and seventeenth-century Holland – periods and countries on which Mr Marlay's affections mainly centred'.6
Otto Lanz (1865–1935; fig. 2) was a Swiss-born surgeon who settled in Amsterdam in 1902.7 A highly flamboyant character and a striking figure, he courted controversy equally in his professional, public and private lives, presenting himself as a modern uomo universale. From childhood onward he was a lifelong compulsive collector, but his principal enthusiasm was for Italian paintings, a passion first engendered during trips through Italy in his youth. Like Marlay, whom he probably knew, he amassed a huge collection numbering some 420 works, eventually housed in his mansion, appropriately located on the Museumplein in Amsterdam, and inevitably known as 'Casa Lanz'.8 Lanz maintained a copious correspondence with Wilhelm von Bode in Berlin, who regularly tipped him off about works coming to the market. Like the present picture, he bought others from Horace Buttery, and he bought extensively from Jacques Goudstikker, who with Lanz was one of the initiators of the exhibition of Italian art in Dutch collections in 1934, partly inspired by the Royal Academy exhibition of Italian art held four years earlier. Lanz lent a staggering 234 objects, many of them carried across the Museumplein by members of his own family to the Stedelijk Museum. It was the crowning moment of his collecting career, since he died suddenly less than six months after the exhibition closed. The Rijksmuseum had tried to buy his collection in its entirety, but in the event his heirs turned it over to the museum for safe-keeping. In 1940 Schmidt-Degener filled a number of empty rooms with pieces from Lanz's collection, and the exhibition De Italiaansche collectie Lanz opened on 10 August. This had the unintended consequence of attracting the interest of Adolf Hitler, and in 1941 Hans Posse purchased the entire collection from Lanz's widow Anna Willi-Lanz, who had by then returned to her native Switzerland. The collection disappeared, and was discovered in April 1945 in the salt-mines at Alt Aussee where the Germans had hidden it and much else. The Lanz collection was one of the first to be returned to The Netherlands, and since Lanz's widow had sold it, was deemed national property, much of it being allocated to various museums, principally the Rijksmuseum, where it forms the core of the collection of early Italian art, with another group eventually finding its way to the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht. Other works, including this one, were sold in 1951, where it was one of a tranche of 226 lots from the 'ancienne collection du Professor Otto Lanz, Amsterdam', in the Frederik Muller sale. Although this lot was knocked down to Kunsthandel Staal, one wonders if he was not buying for Wetzlar, since a number of paintings in the sale ended up in Wetzlar's collection.
Dr Hans Wetzlar (1894–1976) was an energetic and passionate collector of German extraction who became a naturalized Dutch citizen. He collected Old Masters of all the schools, but the majority of his pictures were from the Dutch and Flemish seventeenth century, or under the influence of his friend and mentor Max J. Friedländer, early Netherlandish works. In contrast to the palatial houses of Marlay and Lanz, but befitting his Dutchness, Wetzlar's collection was housed in a relatively modest Amsterdam terraced house. Following his death in 1976, the majority of his collection, some 134 lots, was auctioned in a landmark sale the following year held by Sotheby-Mak van Waay in the Round Lutheran Church in Amsterdam – the last major dispersal of a great Old Master collection to take place in the city. Some of his collection was kept by his family, and his daughter sold a tranche of Old Masters and Impressionist pictures at Sotheby's in 2008. In both sale catalogues, J.C. Ebbinge Wubben, wrote a tribute to Hans Wetzlar, observing that 'he was all too much aware how much he owed to the re-emergence, via auction sales and art-dealers, of collections from the past, not to want his own collection to give new and future collectors the opportunity to experience the delights of acquisition, 'the love of art, linked with the joy of possession'.'
1 In his introductory essay in Matthiesen, 1984, pp. 12–13.
2 Fioravanti Baraldi 1993, p. 94, no. 18, reproduced plate IV and p. 100, no. 23, reproduced p. 101. The Strasbourg picture had also formerly been attributed to l'Ortolano, and was dated circa 1513 or shortly after by M[ichele] D[andini], in T. Kustodieva and M. Lucco (eds), Garofalo. Pittore della Ferrara Estense, exhibition catalogue, Ferrara 2008, p. 150, no. 11.
3 Fioravanti Baraldi 1993, pp. 78–80, 130–32, nos 12, 60 and 61, all reproduced.
4 See W.G. Constable, Catalogue of Pictures in the Marlay Bequest, Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge 1927, pp. 5–8.
5 Constable 1927, p. 5.
6 Constable 1927, p. 6.
7 For a fuller account, see F. van 't Veen, Het Nederlandse Palazzo, The Dutch Palazzo, Verzamelingen van vroeg-Italiaanse kunst, Collections of early Italian art, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 2008, on which this note draws heavily.
8 He is thanked by W.G. Constable in his introduction to the Marlay Bequest catalogue; see Constable 1927, p. 8.
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