38
38

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

George Frederic Watts, O.M., R.A.
THE TITANS
Estimate
30,00050,000
JUMP TO LOT
38

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION

George Frederic Watts, O.M., R.A.
THE TITANS
Estimate
30,00050,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

|
London

George Frederic Watts, O.M., R.A.
1817-1904
THE TITANS

Provenance

The collection of the artist and bequeathed to his adopted daughter Lilian Chapman in 1905, and thence by descent until 1979;
Sotheby’s, Belgravia, 11 December 1979, lot 29;
London, The Fine Art Society, where purchased by the present owner

Catalogue Note

‘These powerful titans typified the mountains formed during the making of the earth, while the graceful chain of flying figures represents the passage of time.’

Mark Bills and Barbara Bryant, G.F. Watts - Victorian Visionary, 2008, p.190

 

According to the artist’s wife ‘the giant figures… were suggested to him when looking at the cracks and stains on the dirty plaster of a wall. He saw the whole composition mentally, and carried it out years afterwards.’ He began the first version of The Titans (Watts Gallery, Compton) in 1869 and worked upon it until 1875 when it was exhibited in Manchester. A smaller version was among Watts’ most treasured possessions and was given by his widow to the Fitzwilliam Museum in 1916. A version painted in the 1890s was sold to a collector in Liverpool, James Smith (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).

During the 1870s and 1880s Watts used the composition and subject of The Titans as the basis for the portion on the right side of a large painting entitled Chaos  (versions at Tate and Watts Gallery, Compton) depicting the primordial creation of the earth as related in Hesiod’s Theogony and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.

The powerful musculature of the figures of the Titans reflects Watts’ study of the Parthenon marbles, particularly the reclining figure of Dionysus. The massive proportions and contours of the nude bodies create the slopes and peaks of huge mountains.

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art

|
London