JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
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JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY

Estimate: 15,000 - 20,000 GBP

JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY

Estimate: 15,000 - 20,000 GBP

Lot sold:17,500GBP
(5 bids, reserve met)

Description

JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A.

1733 - 1810

THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY


inscribed La Familia a Schee (lower centre)

black and white chalks on paper

unframed: 28.5 by 25.5cm., 11¼ by 10in.

framed: 50 by 43cm., 19¾by 17in.

Executed circa 1799.


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Condition Report

Not examined unframed. Small repairs, top right and bottom right corners. Slight unevenness in paper surface, and some slight discolouration at edges, but overall condition of sheet and chalk otherwise good. Sold in a modern giltwood frame.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.

Provenance

Major-General Claude Martin (1735-1800)

Benjamin Wolff (1790-1866), (L.420), until sold

'The Wolff Collection' Sale, Bruun Rasmussen, Copenhagen, 30 May 2018, part of lot 437

Literature

London, Andrew Clayton-Payne, From London to Lucknow, A Re-Discovered Collection of Drawings by Johan Zoffany (1733-1810), 2019, cat. no.8 

Catalogue Note

Zoffany’s gift: 1799


Exceptionally, this sale includes fourteen works on paper by Johan Zoffany, R.A (lots, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 42, 43, 70, 71, 89, 90, 91, 103 and 104). The drawings once formed part of a larger group of fifty-three works that Zoffany assembled in the late 1790s and that, in 1799, he sent to India for the attention of his old friend Major-General Claude Martin (1735-1800), a Frenchman whom he had met while working on the subcontinent during the previous decade.


Zoffany’s drawings for Martin were – as with the present group of fourteen – diverse in theme. With images derived from the biblical, mythological, historical and modern worlds, as well as a number of sensitive and intimate portraits, it is thought that the contents of his gift were designed to reflect both men’s interests, humours and tastes.


Claude Martin died in 1800 with no heirs, so his executors arranged for his extensive collections to be sold. The drawing’s next documented owner was Benjamin Wolff (1790-1866), a brilliant Danish lawyer, who lived in Calcutta between 1817 and 1829. During his time in India, Wolff amassed a great fortune and also began to build what would become one of Denmark’s most revered art collections. In 1829, he moved back to Denmark and bought a substantial house called Engelholm Manor on southern Zealand. Here, he housed his collections which, by the end of his life, comprised more than 2,000 drawings from both the European and Indian schools.


After his death in 1866, Wolff’s drawings remained with his descendants for a further five generations. In May 2018, Brunn Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen held a major sale within which the Zoffanys appeared as one lot and were acquired by the present owner. Despite the fame of Wolff’s collection, its contents had never been published and, until that point, scholars had been unaware of the existence of Zoffany’s drawings. Their re-emergence has caused great excitement in academic circles, as not only does the group triple the number of known surviving works on paper by Zoffany, but the images themselves also act as windows into the mind of one of the greatest artists of the Age of Enlightenment.


This drawing:


Zoffany shows himself seated at his easel, surrounded by his four daughters and a grandson. On the left, his eldest daughter, Maria Theresa (1777-1832), plays the harpsichord, while her sister, Claudina Sophia Ann (1791-1869), plucks at the harp. Holding the painter’s elbow is his youngest child, Laura (1791-1876), and on the right, Cecilia Clementina Elizabeth (1779-1830) - Zoffany’s second eldest daughter - stands holding an infant child who could be either her son Thomas Zoffany Horne (1800-1870), or John Zoffany Horne (1801-1804). On the wall behind the group, there is a bust whose features resemble those of Major-General Claude Martin (please see lot 42 for further information).


The drawing would seem to relate to an unfinished oil painting, which descended within the artist’s family and is now held in a private collection.1 That conversation piece’s composition differs in a number of ways from the present drawing, not least as both of Zoffany’s grandsons are included - Thomas standing on the extreme right and John in his mother’s arms.


 1. Mary Webster, Johan Zoffany 1733-1810, New Haven, 2011, p. 452

JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY, R.A. | THE ARTIST AND HIS FAMILY
Lot Closed