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Lot 3411 - A206 Old Master Drawings - Friday, 22. September 2023, 11.00 AM


(1712 Venice 1793)
Capriccio; a fantasy vedute with ruins of classical architecture and figures. Verso: Portrait of a young man (by another hand).
Pen and brush and brown ink, over loose preliminary drawing with black chalk.
30.2 x 22.3 cm.

- Simonetti Collection, via D.N. Beets.
- Collection of H.E. ten Cate (cat. of D. Hannema, 1955, no. 241) with ill.
- With C.G. Boerner, Düsseldorf, 1966, inventory list 44.
- Private collection, Switzerland.

The long-time curator of the copperplate engraving cabinet of the Museo Correr and the Museo del Settecento Veneziano in the Ca'Rezzonico in Venice and recognized expert on 18th century Venetian art, Dr. Filippo Pedrocco (1950-2014), commented on the present drawing in an expert opinion dated January 18, 2006, confirming the work's authenticity.
"I briefly summarize here the impressions I have gained from direct observation of the pen and ink drawing "Estate with old buildings in ruins".
The drawing was published by Antonio Morassi in his 1975 Venice catalog of the graphic works of Gian Antoni, Francesco and Giacomo Guardi with a dubious attribution to Francesco, justified by the fact that the drawing appears "a little" weak in the foreground figures. However, the doubts expressed by Morassi on this occasion seem to me to be absolutely superfluous: The drawing indeed shows the typical qualities of Francesco's graphic work in his mature years, as a comparison with the numerous similar capricci by his own hand preserved in the Museum of Prints and Drawings of the Correr Museum in Venice, where they come directly from the hand of his son Giacomo, shows (see for comparison the numbers. 603, 632, 633 and 639 of the third volume of the catalog of ancient drawings in the Museo Correr in Venice, edited by Terisio Pignatt and myself, published in 1983).
The reason for the doubts expressed by Morassi about the authenticity of this work (which I believe the scholar knew only thanks to the photograph in the catalog of the Boerner auction in Dusseldorf in October 1967, no. 42) is certainly related to the imperfect state of preservation of the drawing, in particular to the fact that the ink used by Francesco has partially changed over time, especially in the lower part of the sheet, where it has darkened considerably, perhaps due to a chemical process associated with moisture. It should be emphasized, however, that the slightly shaky but extremely precise pen stroke used to indicate the shapes of the architectural structures and the type of numerous small spots defined with a very quick handwriting are typical of the Venetian painter's style, and that no imitator has ever been able to repeat these features of Francesco Guardi's graphic style with such skill.
As further confirmation of the drawing's certain authorship, I would like to point out the very close figurative correspondences with two paintings that Morassi himself correctly attributed to the Venetian painter and that are preserved in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Stanford Museum in California, respectively (reproduced in: A. Morassi, Guardi. I dipinti, Milan 1973, vol. II, figs. 664 and 676); these similarities are so precise that the drawing under study can be considered the "first idea" for these two paintings, in which the painter kept the architectural structures of the sheet under study completely unchanged, changing only the number and arrangement of the figures.

Identical stylistic features are also found in the counterpart of the studied sheet, which may be the 'prima idea' for three paintings of the same subject by Franceso Guardi. (Morassi, 1973. Vol. II. figg. 665, 666 and 667)."

CHF 20 000 / 30 000 | (€ 20 620 / 30 930)

Sold for CHF 22 500 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.