Master Paintings Part II

Master Paintings Part II

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 526. Portrait of a boy of the Gradenigo family, possibly Ferigo (Born 1758), full length, with his pet dove on a ribbon, a white rabbit in the background.

Property from the Estate of Paul Kasmin

Attributed to Francesco Guardi

Portrait of a boy of the Gradenigo family, possibly Ferigo (Born 1758), full length, with his pet dove on a ribbon, a white rabbit in the background

Lot Closed

January 30, 03:26 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from the Estate of Paul Kasmin

Francesco Guardi

Venice 1712 - 1793

Portrait of a boy of the Gradenigo family, possibly Ferigo (Born 1758), full length, with his pet dove on a ribbon, a white rabbit in the background

oil on canvas

canvas: 37 by 29 1/8 in.; 94 by 74 cm.

framed: 45 by 36 1/4 in; 114.3 by 92.1 cm.

Palazzo Gradenigo del Rio Marin, Venice;
Where acquired by Dino Barozzi, Venice;
With Arnold Seligmann, New York;
By whom (anonymously) sold, New York, Parke-Bernet, 15 November 1950, lot 76;
There acquired by Walter Rosen;
By whom given to the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts;
BY whom sold, New York, Sotheby's, 26 May 2016, lot 102;
There acquired by Paul Kasmin. 
Parnassus, March 1940, p. 22 (as Guardi);
H. Tietze, Four Centuries of Venetian Art, exhibition catalogue, Toldeo 1940, cat. no. 26, reproduced (as Guardi);  
Exhibition of Italian baroque painting, 17th and 18th centuries,
 exhibition catalogue, San Francisco 1941, pp. 18-19, reproduced p. 70 (as Guardi);
Pittura Barocca Veneziana, Venice 1943, p. XVI (as Guardi);
G. Fiocco, "Guardi ritrattista," in Emporium,  vol. XCVIII, 1943, pp. 96, 100, reproduced figs. 5 and 6 (as Guardi, datable circa 1770);
A. Morassi, Guardi: i dipinti, Venice 1984, pp. 158, 349, cat. no. 218, reproduced, vol. II, fig. 234 (as Guardi, datable to 1768-70);
G.M. Pilo, "Un ritratto di Francesco Guardi," in Paragone, vol. 36, 1985, p. 278;
F. Pedrocco, "Francesco Guardi pittore di 'storia'," in Francesco Guardi, exhibition catalogue, Museo Correr, Venice, 29 September, 2012- 6 January, 2013, Milan 2012, p. 59 (as Guardi).

While his magical views of Venice and fantastic capricci are very familiar, the figural paintings and portraits of Francesco Guardi are in general less well-known. Early in his career, he seems to have painted a number of religious canvases, undoubtedly under the direction of his elder brother Gianantonio, a painter of considerable talent in that genre. In the later part of the 1750s, however, Francesco Guardi turned largely to the production of the vedute that made him so justly famous, although as Pedrocco noted (see Literature) he continued to produce portraits even as late as 1783.

The present work would appear to be one of the rare portraits by Francesco Guardi, belonging to a group of paintings of children that can be connected on stylistic grounds. It is, in fact, one of two paintings that were acquired together by the Venetian dealer and antiquarian Dino Barozzi (see Provenance), directly from the Palazzo Gradenigo del Rio Marin, in the Santa Croce sestiere of Venice. The pendant to the present canvas is the Portrait of a Boy of the Gradenigo Family in Uniform in the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts (see fig. 1). Barozzi sold the two paintings separately, with the Springfield portrait going through the Munich dealer Paul Drey to arrive in America by 1935. In his article on the portraiture of Guardi (see Literature), Fiocco noted the shared early provenance of the two portraits, and that the present painting has been added to after Barozzi had acquired it, illustrating the painting when it was in its original, three quarter-length format matching that of the Springfield canvas. Indeed, the two paintings are approximately 37 inches in height when the Caramoor portrait is measured without the addition of the lower legs and feet.  

Family tradition had named the sitters in the two portraits as the brothers Pietro and Giovanni Gradenigo. In fact, as Fiocco points out, a more likely identification would be the brothers Gerolamo, born in 1754 (Springfield), and Ferigo, born in 1758 (Caramoor). Fiocco, Morassi and Pedrocco all date the paintings generally to circa 1768-70, which would make the boys of about the right age. Interestingly, a related painting now in the National Museum Wales has since come to light which is very similar to the Caramoor portrait. It depicts a young girl, perhaps also of the Gradenigo family holding a pet bird on a ribbon.  

1. See Fiocco, under Literature, p. 96. The Gradenigo del Rio Marin were a cadet branch of the illustrious Gradenigo family, producing themselves a number of very important figures, most particularly a number of Patriarchs of Aquileia, the most venerable clerical position in the Venetian state. Fiocco stated that the two paintings hung on either side of a Guardi interior of the Teatro San Benedetto.