PAOLO UCCELLO | BATTLE ON THE BANKS OF A RIVER, PROBABLY THE BATTLE OF THE METAURUS (207 BCE)
THIS WORK IS SOLD PURSUANT TO A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CURRENT OWNER AND THE HEIRS OF FRITZ GUTMANN
This work is sold pursuant to a settlement agreement between the current owner and the heirs of Fritz Gutmann
Florence c. 1397-1475
BATTLE ON THE BANKS OF A RIVER, PROBABLY THE BATTLE OF THE METAURUS (207 BCE)
tempera and gold on panel
painted surface: 42.8 by 162.3 cm.; 16⅞ by 63⅞ in.; overall dimensions: 50.8 by 170.3 cm.; 20 by 67⅛ in.
The following condition report is provided by Hamish Dewar who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's:
The panel has been cradled and this is ensuring a sound structural support and has successfully secured the various historic panel joins.
The paint surface has a reasonably even varnish layer with some areas being slightly matt where retouchings have been applied in the past. The silver leaf of the armour has oxidised over time, which is characteristic of the material.
Inspection under ultraviolet light shows a number of small spots and thin lines of minimal inpainting, with small lines strengthening the outlines of some of the figure's hair and heads, such as the two figures seated on horses drinking on the left of of the composition. There are also very small retouchings around the outer framing edges and one small area approximately halfway long the upper horizontal framing edge. Ultraviolet light also shows old, discoloured varnish layers suggesting that the painting has been selectively and sympathetically cleaned in the past and more comprehensive cleaning could be considered. There may be further retouchings, beneath the older opaque varnish layers, that I could not identify under ultraviolet light.
The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition and no further work is required for reasons of conservation, although the painting should respond well to cleaning if required.
"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. 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."
M. Gauthier-Villars (probably Albert-Paul Gauthier-Villars, publisher)
His sale (‘Objets d'art... provenant de la Collection de Monsieur G. V.’) Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 14 March 1918, lot 5 (as attributed to Paolo Uccello)
Count René Avogli Trotti, Paris, by February 1919
Fritz Gutmann (1886–1944), Amsterdam and Heemstede, by 1921
Forced sale to Julius Böhler, Munich (and Karl Haberstock, Berlin), 11 February 1942
With Piero Tozzi, Florence and New York, by March 1956 (offered to Wildenstein, New York)
Arturo Basi, Milan, by October 1957:
Acquired by the grandfather of the consignor by 1958.
Thence by descent
B. Berenson, ‘Quadri senza casa. Il Quattrocento fiorentino, I’, Dedalo, XII, 1932, p. 527, reproduced pp. 530–31 (as school of Paolo Uccello)
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Florentine School, Oxford 1963, vol. I, p. 219, under ‘Unidentified Florentines 1420–1465’, Heemstede (as follower of Uccello, The Siege of Vejo, cassone panel)
R. Bartoli, Biagio d’Antonio, Milan 1999, pp. 146–47 and 179, no. 2; reproduced (as Biagio d'Antonio, location unknown)
L.B. Kanter, ‘The ‘cose piccole’ of Paolo Uccello’, Apollo, CLII, August 2000, pp. 15 and 20 n. 21 (as Paolo Uccello)
A. Cecchi, ‘Book Reviews: Biagio d'Antonio’, The Burlington Magazine, February 2001, pp. 96–97 (as Biagio d'Antonio, lost during the Second World War)
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Italiaansche Kunst in Nederlandsch Bezit, 1 July – 1 October 1934, no. 126 (as cassone panel, Florentine, second half XVth century, school of Uccello, collection F.B. Gutmann, Heemstede)