Property from the collection of the late Vincent Korda
(Paris 1732 - 1797)
THE DEATH OF DIDO, A BOZZETTO
oil on paper, laid down on board
12½ by 15⅜ in.; 31.8 by 39 cm.
The paper support is flat and stable on a board. A dynamic image reads well as an oil sketch with areas of impasto retained. A section of thinness about 1 inch wide in the center right is visible to the naked eye but is likely inherent to the painting. Under UV inspection, scattered retouching is visible in the shadows, for example in the clouds at the upper left corner and in the bull at lower right, but very few retouches are visible in the figures. The painting can certainly hang as is. Offered in a simply carved giltwood frame with imitation ivory inner liner.
In response to your inquiry, 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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Private collection, before 1947;
Thence by descent to present owner.
F. Engerand, Inventaire des tableaux commandés et achetés par la Direction des Bâtiments du Roi (1709 - 1792), Paris 1900, p. 426, note 3;
M. Fenaille, Etat general des tapisseries de la manufacture des Gobelins [..] Dix-huitème siècle, Duexième partie, Paris 1907, p. 329;
P. Stein in Eighteenth-century Drawings from New York Collections, New York 1999, exhibition catalogue, pp. 192, under no. 83 (as lost);
N. Willk-Brocard, "A propos de quelques tableaux d'histoire de Jean-Bernard Restout (1732 - 1796)," in Mélanges en homage à Pierre Rosenberg, Paris 2001, pp. 461-4 (as lost);
J.P. Marandel in French Oil Sketches and the Academic Tradition. Selections from a Private Collection on Loan to the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 1994-5, exhibition catalogue, p. 72 (as lost);
N. Willk-Brocard, Jean-Bernard Restout 1732 - 1796, Peintre du roi et révolutionnaire, Paris 2017, pp. 60-65, 160, no. 79P (as lost).
This oil sketch, long believed to be lost, is a study for the last in a 5-part series of tapestries depicting scenes from the story of Dido and Aeneas. Restout received the commission in 1772 from the Marquis de Marigny (1727 – 1781), brother of the Marquise de Pompadour, and Director general of the King’s buildings, and the tapestries were to be woven at the Gobelins. He completed the five sketches by 1774, but the cartoons and tapestries were never executed, most likely due to the artist's infamous temper that often led to disagreements with patrons.
Restout depicted The arrival of Aeneas in Carthage, The departure of Dido and Aeneas for the hunt (fig. 1), Juno orders the tempest, The sacrifice of Dido, and the present and final episode, The death of Dido. The first three oil sketches are currently in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the fourth resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The discovery of this fifth sketch is an important addition to Jean-Bernard Restout's oeuvre. Like the others in the group, the present sketch is detailed enough to serve as a complete composition, but also demonstrates Restout's fast brushstrokes and economical use of line to suggest facial expressions.
We are grateful to J. Patrice Marandel for identifying this painting as the lost Restout sketch for the Dido and Aeneas series, and for assistance with the cataloging of this lot.