Property of a Distinguished Collector
signed Previati lower right
oil on canvas
220 by 95cm., 86½ by 37½in.
The canvas has been lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher, possibly the original.
There are some isolated lines of drying craquelure, notably closer to the lower part of the right framing edge. However these are not distracting. The paint surface is entirely stable.
Inspection under ultra-violet light reveals a thick layer of reflective varnish and some areas of retouching, including:
- clusters of small spots of cosmetic retouching in the lower right quadrant of the composition;
- intermittent strokes along the four framing edges;
- three areas which appear to be old attempts at cleaning the surface: a 8x4cm area in the woman's forehead, a 6x3cm area in the man's lower back and a 8x8cm area in the lower left corner.
This painting is overall in good condition and is ready to hang.
Presented in a decorative gilt frame.
We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Count Vincenzo Giustiniani, Ferrrara (acquired from the artist circa 1893)
Guido Antonioli, Milano (1928 - 1962)
Sale: Christie’s, London, 27 June 1988, lot 736
Sale: Christie’s, London, 30 March 1990, lot 472/B
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Vittorio Pica, L’Arte Mondiale alla IV Esposizione di Venezia, Bergamo, 1901, p. 94, illustrated (as Il bacio)
Domenico Tumiati, 'Artisti contemporanei: Gaetano Previati', in Emporium, Bergamo, 1901, vol. XIII, p. 7, no. 73, illustrated (as Il bacio)
Achille Locatelli-Milesi, L’opera di Gaetano Previati, Milan, 1906, pp. 8-9, illustrated (as Giulietta e Romeo)
Achille Locatelli-Milesi, 'Les Tendances nouvelles en Italie: Giovanni Segantini. Gaetano Previati. Leonardo Bistolfi', in Les Tendances Nouvelles, Paris, 1906, pp. 402-403, p. 410, illustrated (as Giulietta e Roméo)
Valentino Rossi-Sacchetti, I Pittori Divisionisti Italiani a Parigi, Paris, 1907, p. 14, cited
Achille Locatelli-Milesi, L’Oeuvre de Gaetano Previati, Paris, 1907, pp. 8-9, illustrated (as Roméo et Juliette)
Guido Marangoni, Il pittore dell’anima e della luce (Gaetano Previati), Milan, 1910, p. 8, 14-16, cited & illustrated (as Bacio)
Vittorio Pica, Gaetano Previati, Bergamo, 1912, pp. 51-52, cited & illustrated (as Il bacio)
Nino Barberini, Gaetano Previati, Rome & Milan, 1919, pl. 10, illustrated (as Il Bacio)
Vincenzo Costantini, Gaetano Previati, Rome, 1931, illustrated (as Bacio)
Archivi del Divisionismo, ed. Offica Edizioni, Rome, 1968, vol. I, p. 249 (cited in a letter by the artist to his brother, dated 9 February 1891); vol. II, p. 47, no. 525, listed, n.p., illustrated
Gaetano Previati, exh., cat., Ferrara, 1969, n.p., (cited in a letter by the artist to his brother, dated 9 February 1891)
M. Rosci, 'Gaetano Previati (1852-1920)' in Mostra del Divisionismo Italiano, exh. cat., Milan, 1970, p. 85, cited
Annie-Paule Quinsac, La Peinture divisionniste Italienne. Origines et premiers développements 1880 – 1895, Paris, 1972, p. 259, cited
Venice, IV Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della Città di Venezia, 1901, no. 5 (as Giulietta e Romeo)
Milan, Galleria Alberto Grubicy, Esposizioni Collettive di G. Previati, E. Gola, L. Conconi, A. Tominetti, C. Fornara, F. Minozzi, C. Maggi, C. Ravasco, Gottardo e Mario Segantini, 1902-03 (as Giulietta e Romeo)
Milan, Galleria Alberto Grubicy, Mostre collettive: Segantini, Previati, Monumento di Leonardo Bistolfi, 1906, no. 3 (as Giulietta e Romeo)
Paris, Galerie d’Art Alberto Grubicy, Salon des Peintres Divisionnistes Italiens, 1907, no. 260 (as Roméo et Juliette)
Milan, Palazzo della Società per le Belle Arti, Esposizione di Duecento opere di Gaetano Previati, 1910, no. 77 (as Giulietta e Romeo)
New York, The Catholic Club, Paintings of Comm.re G. Previati, 1913, no. 2, illustrated in the catalogue (as Romeo and Juliet)
Milan, Palazzo della Società per le Belle Arti ed Esposizioni Permanente, Gaetano Previati, 1919, no. 7, illustrated (as Giulietta e Romeo)
Rome, Palazzo dell’Esposizione, Prima Biennale romana: Esposizione Nazionale di Belle Arti nel Cinquantenario della Capitale, 1921, no. 18 (as Giulietta e Romeo)
Venice, XVIa Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della città di Venezia, 1928, no. 206 (as Il Bacio)
Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Ausstellung Italienischer Kunst vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart, 1937, no. 66
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, act I scene V
Painted circa 1888 and variously known as Juliet and Romeo or simply The Kiss, this painting is a pivotal work by Gaetano Previati, marking the beginning of his Divisionist period. Inspired by William Shakespeare's romantic tragedy Romeo and Juliet, it depicts the ill-fated couple embraced in a tender kiss, far from prying eyes.
The composition evokes the tormented love of other famous couples from European literature. However, as art critic Achille Locatelli Milesi noted, whether we choose to identify this couple with Romeo and Juliet, Paolo and Francesca, or Tristan and Isolde, little matters, as it is ‘…the love of souls in search and in need of each other, the love in whose name knights and damsels would die in medieval ballads, […] that love is all in this painting, it is all in that kiss’ (Achille Locatelli Milesi, L'opera di Gaetano Previati, 1906, Milano, pp. 8-9).