Old Masters Evening Auction

Old Masters Evening Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 6. Venus and Adonis.

Property from a Family Collection

Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian, and workshop

Venus and Adonis

Auction Closed

December 7, 07:07 PM GMT


8,000,000 - 12,000,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a Family Collection

Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian, and workshop

Pieve di Cadore circa 1485/90 - 1576 Venice

Venus and Adonis

oil on canvas

177.2 x 199.2 cm.; 69¾ x 78⅜ in. 



蒂齊亞諾・韋切利奧 - 或稱提香及其工作室




177.2 x 199.2 公分;69 ¾ x 78 ⅜ 英寸

Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736), in the Gallery (‘Bildersaal’), Upper Belvedere, Vienna, by at least 1720; 

Probably by inheritance to his niece Princess Maria Anna Victoria of Savoy-Carignan-Soissons (1683–1763);

By whom probably sold to Vittorio Amedeo of Savoy-Carignan (1690–1741); 

Probably Prince de Carignan, posthumous sale, Paris, Hôtel de Soissons, 30 July 1742 and the following days, p. 26, lots unnumbered (as ‘Un Tableau de six pieds de haut, sur cinq pieds huit pouces de large, qui réprésente Venus & Adonis, par Titien.’ [with inverted dimensions here and in the subsequent two sales]), withdrawn (according to an annotation ‘retiré a 4500’);

Almost certainly reoffered, Prince de Carignan, posthumous sale, Paris, Hôtel de Soissons, 18 June 1743, p. 22, supplementary lot 3 (as ‘Un Tableau de six pieds de haut, sur cinq pieds huit pouces de large, qui représente Venus & Adonis, par Titien.’), for 4700 livres to Gaillard de Gagny;

Possibly Emmanuel-Jacques Gaillard de Gagny (1703–1759), receveur général des finances de Grenoble;

Possibly his estate sale (‘M. Gaillard de Gagny, Receveur Général des Finances de Grenoble’), Paris, Remy, 29 March 1762 and on the following days, lot 2 (as ‘Titien Vecelli/ Un Tableau peint sur toile, de 6 pieds de haut, sur 5 pieds 8 pouces de large, representant Vénus retenant Adonis qui part pour la chasse. Il est inutile de chercher à relever l’estime qu’on ne peut refuser à ce Tableau; sa réputation est connue depuis long-tems. Il a fait partie de la riche Collection du Prince de Carignan, & il est resté jusqu’à la vente qui fut faite après le décès de ce Prince.’), for 2400 livres to ‘Colins’;

Possibly Michael Bryan (1757–1821), London;

Possibly his sale (‘The Property of Mr. Bryan’), London, Coxe, Burrell and Foster, at Mr. Bryan’s Gallery in Pall Mall, 17–19 May 1798, Third Day’s Sale, lot 41 (as ‘Titian – Venus and Adonis. Titian has treated his favourite subject in this picture with unusual success. The design is grand and correct, and the expression of the heads most beautiful. It was brought to this country by a nobleman distinguished for taste, and is one of the finest pictures of this great master’), for £152–5s.;

Benjamin West, P.R.A. (1738–1820), by 1803, if not earlier; by whom sold in 1809 for £4,000 to

Richard Hart Davis, M.P. (1766–1842) Bristol, who sold this and many other works in his collection to

Philip John Miles, M.P. (1774–1845), Leigh Court, near Bristol, probably by about 1816 and certainly by 1822;

By inheritance to his son Sir William Miles, 1st Bt (1797–1878);

By inheritance to his grandson Sir Phillip Miles, 2nd Bt, M.P. (1825–1888);

His sale (‘Catalogue of the Leigh Court Gallery’), London, Christie’s, 28 June 1884, lot 68 (bought in at 1,680 guineas to ‘Phillips’);

By descent to his son Sir Cecil Miles, 3rd Bt (1873–1898);

By whose executors sold (‘The Property of Sir Cecil Miles, Bart., … Sold by Order of the Executors’), London, Christie’s, 13 May 1899, lot 29, for 420 guineas to Molyneux;

Maximilian, Freiherr von Heyl zu Herrnsheim (1844–1925), Darmstadt, by whom stated to have been purchased on the advice of the painter Franz von Lenbach (d. 1904);

His posthumous sale, Hugo Helbing, Munich, 28–29 October 1930, lot 144, reproduced pl. VI (as Titian/Tizian), where unsold;

The Estate of Doris von Heyl zu Herrnsheim, Darmstadt, until at least 16 June 1941 and latest 19 August 1941;

When sold probably via Carl W. Buemming (1889–1963)2 to 

Philipp Fürchtegott Reemtsma (1893–1959), Landgut Puchhof, Bavaria, until 1945, and subsequently Hamburg and Landgut Trenthorst; 

By inheritance to his widow Gertrud Reemtsma (née Zülch) (1916–1996);

With Kunsthandel Edmund J. Kratz, Hamburg, 1984; 

From whom acquired on 31 January 1984 by Patrick de Charmant (d. 2010), Lausanne (by whom offered, ‘The Property of a Private Collector’, London, Christie’s, 10 July 1998, lot 62, as Titian and studio);

Thence by inheritance.

1 Annotated copy of auction catalogue, 28 October 1930, Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (ZI), Munich. No buyer name is given; the figure annotated in the margin records the highest bid of 65,000 marks; https://doi.org/10.11588/diglit.59060#0041 

2 B323, Akte 131, p. 191 (438–39); Familienarchiv von Heyl, Stadtarchiv Worms, Abt.186, Nr.404, letter Nachlass von Heyl to Herrn Ludwig Freiherr Heyl zu Herrnsheim, dated 19 August 1941.

Probably M. Guilbert, July 1720 (‘En effet, l'on en voit à Vienne chez Sa Majesté Impériale un très excellent original’); in Montaiglon 1887–1912, vol. V, 1895, p. 341;

Probably recorded in the list of paintings sent by Thomas Robinson, British Ambassador in Vienna, to Lord Harrington, Secretary of State, 24 October 1736, ‘Inventaire des tableaux qui sont placé dans la gallerie du jardin’: ‘2. Une Venus et Adone de Titien, hauteur 5 pieds 8 pouces, largeur 6 pieds 6 pouces’; in Comoglio in Milan 2012, p. 286; 

Catalogue of Prince Eugene of Savoy's collection, 1737, transcribed by J. von Retzer, ‘Gemähldesammlung des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen in Wien’, in Miszellaneen artistischen Innhalts, 15, Erfurt 1783, p. 155 (as ‘2. Venus und Adonis von Titian, Hoch 5S. 8Z. Breit 6S. 6Z.’); in Diekamp 2010, p. 135;

W. Buchanan, Edinburgh, letter to J. Irvine in Italy, 25 February 1804 in Brigstocke 1982, Letter 27, p. 148 (‘[…] West had last year on sale, or belonging to Beckford, the same subject, which he got from France, and which was infinitely superior to Angerstein’s [The National Gallery, London] […] I rather suspect the Titian was Beckford’s as I understand the Poussin belonged to him, and as Porter said he would have given West a large sum for the Titian if he would have sold it.’);

W. Buchanan, Edinburgh, letter to D. Stewart in London, 27 February 1804 in Brigstocke 1982, Letter 28, p. 153 (‘I should wish much to know what price West got for that in his possession last year [Titian’s Venus and Adonis] which was very superior to Angerstein’s [The National Gallery, London], or if it is still with him and what he values it at. If you can get a peep at it I think you will be gratified much as it is the finest and clearest Titian I ever saw, and gives one an excellent idea of the Master, besides it may be of use by way of comparison with that now in Rome should Irvine think it an object worthy to send to this Country. […] a subject which was four or five times repeated by Titian. There was one in France which is West’s [this lot] – one in the Colonna which is Angerstein’s – one in the Borghese Palace at Rome [unidentified; possibly a mistake for Barberini] – and one at Venice, which is that now in Rome [ex Torlonia]’);

W. Buchanan, Edinburgh, letter to D. Stewart in London, 1 March 1804 in Brigstocke 1982, Letter 29, p. 156 (‘The great masters often repeat the same subject. Thus West's Titian [Venus and Adonis] might be as much doubted as my Parmigiano if duplicates or quadruplicates created a doubt – as it is very well known that the Borghese [Barberini?] Titian of the same subject is the finest by far of that subject in existence and that is still in Rome.’);

W. Buchanan, Edinburgh, letter to D. Stewart in London, 29 April 1804 in Brigstocke 1982, Letter 58, p. 286 (‘I should also wish you to learn from Porter what became of the Venus and Adonis of Titian West had last year and what its price was!’);

W. Buchanan, London, letter to D. Stewart in Edinburgh, 23 December 1804 in Brigstocke 1982, Letter 81, p. 361 (‘from the Mariscotti Palace [ex Lord Darnley/ Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York] [...] and a fine Venus and Adonis by Titian, a smaller picture than either Angerstein's or West's’);

J. Young, A Catalogue of the Pictures at Leigh Court, near Bristol, the seat of Philip John Miles, Esq. M.P., with etchings from the whole collection, London 1822, pp. 22–23, p. 4, no. 4 (as hanging in the Saloon; ‘for many years in the possession of Mr. West, the late President of the Royal Academy, who considered it one of the most perfect and beautiful works of the Master’; etching by John Young);

W. Buchanan, Memoirs of Painting with a Chronological History of the Importation of Pictures by the Great Masters into England since the French Revolution, 2 vols, London 1824, vol. I, p. 291, no. 41, under ‘Introduction to the Collection of Mr. Bryan’s Pictures sold by Mr. Coxe, 17th May, 1798, Third Day’s Sale, at Mr. Bryan’s Gallery in Pall Mall’ (as ‘TITIAN. – Venus and Adonis. Titian has treated his favourite subject in this picture with unusual success. The design is grand and correct, and the expression of the heads most beautiful. It was brought to this country by a nobleman distinguished for taste, and is one of the finest pictures of this great master… £152–5s.’); 

A. Hume, Notices of the Life and Works of Titian, London 1829, p. 65 (as ‘A large picture of Venus and Adonis from the ORLEANS Gallery, but not offered for sale with the rest of that Collection, it having been made a present of to the late Mr. West, who sold it to Mr. Hart Davis, it is said for £4000, and is now the property of Mr. Mills of Leigh Court, near Bristol’); 

G.F. Waagen, Works of Art and Artists in England, London 1838, vol. III, p. 141 (as ‘a good school copy of the celebrated picture in the Museum at Madrid’);

G.F. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, London 1854, vol. III, p. 182 (as ‘a good school copy of the celebrated picture in the Museum at Madrid’); 

J.A. Crowe and G.B. Cavalcaselle, Life and Times of Titian, 2 vols, London 1877, vol. II, p. 151 and note (erroneously as a copy of the [lost] Farnese picture; as at Leigh Court, having belonged to Sir Benjamin West; ‘by some old Venetian follower of Titian’);

A. Baudi di Vesme, ‘Sull’acquisto fatto da Carlo Emanuele III re di Sardegna della Quadreria del Principe Eugenio di Savoia. Ricerche documentate’, under ‘Catalogo della Quadreria del principe Eugenio’, in Miscellanea di Storia Italiana, vol. 25, series 2, no. 10, Turin 1887, pp. 228–29, no. 2 (1737 inv.);

G. Redford, Art Sales, London 1888 vol. 2, p. 258 (as ‘From B. West Coll.’);

Probably A. de Montaiglon and J. Guiffrey (eds), Correspondance des directeurs de l'Académie de France à Rome avec les surintendants des Bâtiments, 18 vols, 1887–1912, vol. V, 1895, p. 341 (as ‘un très excellent original’);

O. Granberg, Drottning Kristinas tafvelgalleri på Stockholms slott och i Rom, dess uppkomst och dess öden ända till våra dagar, Stockholm 1896, p. 14, under no. 30 (as belonging to Sir William Miles at Leigh Court, listed with other compositions similar to the Orléans painting bought by FitzHugh [now Getty]);

T. von Frimmel, ‘Die Galerie des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen’, in Geschichte der Wiener Gemäldesammlungen, vol. 1, Berlin and Leipzig 1899, p. 34 and p. 39, no. 2 (1737 inv.), with Kleiner's etching reproduced on p. 33; 

C. Stryienski, La Galerie du Régent Philippe, duc d'Orléans, Paris 1913, p. 23 (probably this version; Guilbert reports: ‘En effet [...] l'on en voit à Vienne chez sa Majesté Impériale un excellent original’);

A. Graves, A Century of Loan Exhibitions, 1813–1912, London 1914, vol. III, p. 1316;

A. Graves, Art Sales, London 1921, vol. III, p. 210 and p. 213;

Weltkunst, 28 September 1930, p. 28, reproduced (as Titian);

The Art News, New York, 4 October 1930, p. 6, reproduced on p. 14 (as Titian);

A.L. Mayer, ‘Versteigerung der Sammlung von Heyl’, Pantheon, VI, 1930, p. 482, reproduced on p. 480 (as conceived and largely executed by Titian; noting in particular the landscape background on the right);

C. Gould, National Gallery Catalogues, The Sixteenth-Century Venetian School, London 1959, under no. 34, p. 100 and p. 101, under ‘Versions’, no. 5 (probably the present lot) and no. 7 (the present lot);

M. Braubach, ‘Die Gemäldesammlung des Prinzen Eugen von Savoyen’, in Festschrift für Herbert von Einem zum 16. Februar 1965, Berlin 1965, p. 37;

H. Aurenhammer (ed.), ‘Salomon Kleiner Das Belvedere in Wien’, in Wiennerisches Welttheater: Das barocke Wien in Stichen von Salomon Kleiner, II/2, Graz 1969, p. 53 (as current whereabouts unknown);

H.E. Wethey, The Paintings of Titian, The Mythological and Historical Paintings, vol. III, London 1975, pp. 191–92, no. 42, no. 6, under ‘Copies (Venus and Adonis, Prado type)’, reproduced pl. 191 (as location unknown; ‘probably a replica by Titian’s workshop about 1560’);  

H. Brigstocke, William Buchanan and the 19th century art trade: 100 letters to his agents in London and Italy, London 1982, Letters 27, 28, 29, 58 and 81, pp. 148, 153, 156, 286 and 361;

C. Spantigati, ‘Vecchie e nuove precisazioni sulla quadreria del principe Eugenio di Savoia’, in Conoscere la Galleria Sabauda. Documenti sulla storia delle sue collezioni, Turin 1982, pp. 24–25, no. 2;

L. Auer and J. Black, ‘Ein neuentdecktes Inventar der Gemäldesammlung Prinz Eugens’, in Mitteilungen des Österreichischen Staatsarchivs, 38, 1985, p. 336;

H. von Erffa and A. Staley, The Paintings of Benjamin West, New Haven and London 1986, pp. 226, 227, 343, and 448–49 under no. 521;

M. Bury, Giulio Sanuto. A Venetian Engraver of the Sixteenth Century, Edinburgh 1990, pp. 11–12, under no. 4, reproduced p. 11, fig. 6 (as attr. to studio of Titian; whereabouts unknown, formerly coll. Baron von Heyl);

W.R. Rearick, ‘Titian’s later Mythologies’, artibus et historiae, an art anthology, no. 33, XVII, Vienna 1996, pp. 24, 31–35, 40–44, reproduced figs 4 and 9–15 details (as Titian); 

R. Goffen, Titian’s Women, New Haven and London 1997, pp. 248–50, reproduced in colour on p. 251, fig. 148 (as Titian, 1559; as the composition closest to that in the Prado; one of three versions [together with those in Los Angeles and Washington] that ‘may be considered works by Titian himself, with varying degrees of assistance’);

M. Falomir in Tiziano, exh. cat., Museo nacional del Prado, Madrid, 10 June – 7 September 2003, under no. 40, pp. 241 and 390 (as ‘the best of the numerous replicas of this work that have survived’);

C. Diekamp, ‘Die Sammlung eines Prinzen. Zur Geschichte der Gemäldesammlung des Prinzen Eugen nach 1736 mit einer Rekonstruktion des “Bilder-Saales” im Oberen Belvedere’, in Belvedere. Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, 2, 2005, pp. 12, 27, 28–30, no. 2 (German), pp. 96, 99, 102 and 104–5 (English), with Kleiner's etching reproduced on p. 10, fig. 6 (‘Eugene's picture comes closest to Titian's autograph version in a private collection in Lausanne’ [i.e. the present lot]; current whereabouts unknown);

S. Reuther, Die Kunstsammlung Philipp F. Reemtsma, Herkunft und Geschichte, Berlin 2006, pp. 27, 52 and 154, reproduced, p. 27, fig. 27, photo of the painting in the living room of Reemtsma's country estate near Lübeck (as Titian (workshop); with incorrect provenance);

C. Diekamp, ‘La galleria del principe Eugenio di Savoia nel Belvedere Superiore a Vienna. Storia e ricostruzione’, in Torino 1706. Memorie e attualità dell’assedio di Torino del 1706 tra spirito europeo e identità regionale. Atti del Convegno – Torino 29 e 30 settembre 2006, G. Mola di Nomaglio (ed.) et al., Turin 2007, pp. 752, 761, 763, 775 and 778–79, with Kleiner's etching reproduced on p. 760, fig. 7;

D. Rosand, ‘Recensioni mostre: Tiziano. L'ultimo atto’, Studi tizianeschi, V, 2007, p. 202 (as ‘the best version of Venus and Adonis outside of Madrid’); 

F. Russell, ‘Titian: canvas joins and design’, Studi tizianeschi, V, 2007, pp. 185–86 (as ‘also [...] on a support with a horizontal seam’); 

A. Zamperini, in Tiziano, l’ultimo atto, L. Puppi (ed.), exh. cat., Palazzo Crepadona, Belluno, and Palazzo della Magnifica Comunità, Pieve di Cadoro, Milan 2007, pp. 392–93, no. 74, reproduced in colour (as Titian);

N. Penny, National Gallery Catalogues: The Sixteenth Century Italian Paintings II: Venice 1540–1600, London 2008, pp. 276 (incorrectly as the smaller and squarer variant in the Queen of Sweden's collection), 281, no. 4, captioned as fig. 5 with incorrect reproduction, 288, 289, nn. 5, 51 and 52 (as workshop of Titian);

C. Diekamp, ‘Die Galerie im Oberen Belvedere und die Bildsammlung Prinz Eugens im Belvedere und Stadtpalais’, in Prinz Eugen Feldherr Philosoph und Kunstfreund, exh. cat., Belvedere, Vienna, 2010, pp. 127, 129, 134, 135, 136–37, under no. III.4, Kleiner's view of gallery reproduced on pp. 132–33 (conflating the Vienna and Orléans pictures on account of the compositional similarities between the engravings by Kleiner of 1734 and Couché of 1786 [the latter has since been shown to be the Getty version]; and noting that Eugene's picture has not been taken into serious consideration by Titian research to date);

C. Spantigati, ‘Il principe Eugenio di Savoia Soissons collezionista nell'Europa di primo Settecento’, in Le raccolte del principe Eugenio condottiero e intellettuale, C. Spantigati (ed.), exh. cat., Reggia di Venaria, 2012, pp. 38 and 39; 

C. Diekamp, ‘La quadreria del principe Eugenio di Savoia ambientata nei suoi palazzi viennesi’, in Le raccolte del principe Eugenio condottiero e intellettuale, C. Spantigati (ed.), exh. cat., Reggia di Venaria, 2012, pp. 52 and 53, pp. 54–55, pl. I with detail from Kleiner engraving showing east wall elevation (as Titian, whereabouts unknown; ‘perhaps identifiable with the original one exhibited today at the Ashmolean’); 

S. Comoglio, ‘Principe Eugenio: corrispondenza e inventari’, in Le raccolte del principe Eugenio condottiero e intellettuale, C. Spantigati (ed.), exh. cat., Reggia di Venaria, 2012, p. 286 (under ‘Elenco dei dipinti rinvenuti nei palazzi viennesi alla morte del principe Eugenio’, ‘2. Une Venus et Adone de Titien, hauteur 5 pieds 8 pouces, largeur 6 pieds 6 pouces’);

M. Wivel, Titian’s ‘Venus and Adonis’ in Sixteenth-Century Prints’, in Marburger Jahrbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, 2013, 40, pp. 120–21 and 126 nn. 17–19, reproduced p. 118 (as Titian and studio, about 1557–59; ‘a good quality canvas’);

M. Falomir and P. Joannides, ‘Dánae y Venus y Adonis, origen y evolución’, in Dánae y Venus y Adonis, las primeras ‘poesías’ de Tiziano para Felipe II, exh. cat., Museo del Prado, Madrid, 2014–15, published as a special issue of the Boletín del Museo del Prado, 2014, pp. 34, 46, 47–48 and pp. 50 and 51 nn. 72 and 104, reproduced in colour on p. 46, fig. 49, English translation on pp. 67, 69, 70 and pp. 73 and 74 nn. 73 and 106 (as Titian, c. 1559);

J. Dunkerton and M. Spring, with R. Billinge, H. Howard, G. Macaro, R. Morrison, D. Peggie, A. Roy, L. Stevenson and N. von Aderkas, ‘Titian’s Painting Technique from 1540’, National Gallery Technical Bulletin, vol. 36, 2015, pp. 58 and 128 n. 8 (as one of ‘two of the better versions of the Prado design’; probably second half of the 1550s);

J.S. Turner and P. Joannides, ‘Titian’s Rokeby Venus and Adonis and the Role of Working Templates within his Development of the Theme’, in Studi Tizianeschi, IX, 2016, pp. 62, 65–68, 70 and 72–73, reproduced on p. 66, fig. 21 and with a detail p. 69, fig. 25 (as Titian [and studio]);

A. Cobbe, ‘The Genesis of Titian's Rokeby Venus and Adonis, an account of its Technical Examination and Conservation’, in Kermes, XXXII, 114–115, April–September 2019, pp. 65, 67 and 72 (as one of three works in which the figure of Adonis is painted with longer legs: Moscow [i.e. ex-Moscow, private collection, now private collection, Switzerland]; Prado; and Switzerland [i.e. this lot]);

T. Dalla Costa, ‘Venere e Adone’ di Tiziano: Arte, cultura e società tra Venezia e l’Europa, Venice 2019, pp. 94–100 and 127–78 (as Titian and workshop);

M. Wivel, ‘Venus and Adonis’, in Titian: Love, Desire, Death, exh. cat., London 2020, pp. 130, 213 and 214 nn. 4 and 23, reproduced in colour p. 131, fig. 104 (as Titian and workshop, about 1557–59);

S. Ferino-Pagden, ‘Titian's Paintings of Women: The Power of Beauty’, in Titian’s Vision of Women (Tizians Frauenbild), S. Ferino-Pagden (ed.), exh. cat., Vienna 2021, p. 18, reproduced as a detail on p. 19, fig. 5 (as Titian and workshop);

T. Dalla Costa, ‘The "Poesie" and Loves of the Gods: Titian and After’, in Tizians Frauenbild (Titian’s Vision of Women), S. Ferino-Pagden (ed.), exh. cat., Vienna 2021, pp. 304–5, no. 72, reproduced in colour p. 307 and as a detail on p. 302 (as Titian and workshop);

P. Humfrey, ‘The Collection of Philip John Miles at Leigh Court’, Colnaghi Studies Journal, no. 7, October 2020, p. 19, reproduced in colour fig. 13 (as Titian and workshop; ‘a high-quality version of Titian’s Venus and Adonis’);

P. Joannides, Exhibitions Reviewed ‘Titian’s Vision of Women’, in The Burlington Magazine, 163, December 2021, p. 1185 (listed as one of several of Titian’s mythological paintings, c. 1558).


Giulio Sanuto (fl. 1540–1588), 1559

Salomon Kleiner (1703–1761), 1734, etching