ON PAPER

FIVE CENTURIES OF MASTER DRAWINGS AND PRINTS
Chiswick Auctions is delighted to hold its first ever sale dedicated exclusively to master drawings and prints.
On Tuesday, 7 December, 2021, the inaugural auction in the ‘On Paper’ sale category will feature fine examples of the graphic arts spanning the fifteenth to the early twentieth century, and incorporating a wide variety of styles, media, subjects and schools. With over 200 lots, ranging from Italian baroque drawings to German renaissance engravings, French pastels to English mezzotints, the winter 2021 edition of 'On Paper' offers something for every collection. 

“The ‘On Paper’ sale category is aimed at providing a unique collecting platform, highlighting centuries of quality and diversity in artistic expression through drawings and prints.”

 
Dr Albert Godetzky, Head of Old Master Paintings & Works on Paper 

THE INTIMACY AND IMMEDIACY OF DRAWING

 

Drawings have the remarkable ability of revealing an artist’s innermost thoughts. The gestures of an artist’s hand can remain quick and immediate on a drawing, as in the simple yet powerful and strategically-placed lines of George Romney’s little sketch of two figures (lot 79). Yet they can also be slow, studied and meticulous as in the exquisite, highly-finished portrait of a young man and his horse by George Nikolaus Ritter (lot 62). Drawings such as Bartolomeo Passarotti's study of a horse (lot 1), or the whimsical fantasy figures from Bellotto’s circle (lot 38) skilfully create volume, depth and the impression of life with a surprising economy of means, using only pen and ink with occasional touches of a brush dipped in coloured washes. Drawings also allow us to witness an artist planning out a larger work, capturing and reiterating a pose or aspect of the composition (lots 28, 66 & 49). The lines and marks an artist makes on a sheet of paper are traces of an intimate moment - a moment of contact between the interior world of artistic imagination as it is first externalised and conveyed out into our world by the artist’s hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITALIAN DRAWINGS – POWER OF THE HUMAN FORM

 

 

Combined with a growing interest in anatomical study, the development of art academies in Italy during the sixteenth century gave way to an abundance of life drawings of the human body. As such, these drawings can be seen to articulate the idea that the human form stood at the centre of the world - the body was the conveyor of a grand, divine design. It comes as no surprise, then, that in studying and skilfully depicting the human body artists were staking a claim in some of this divine creativity. The precious little sketch by the late-mannerist artist Cristoforo Roncalli, called ‘Il Pomarancio’ (lot 14), depicts a child reaching out to hold the hand of another figure outside of the scene, his body pivoting elegantly around the hips. As the years went on, artist continued to experiment with different stylisations of the human form (lots 19 & 24). An aspect of mannerist extravagance persisted into the eighteenth century in Francesco Monti’s superb drawing of a male model (lot 31). Known for his studies of male nudes created with black and white chalks on paper prepared with a dark-grey background, the sheet in the present sale is one of the finest to have ever appeared on the market.

 

 

MASTER PRINTS

The present sale features a wide variety of prints with numerous high quality and rare impressions. Among these are a group of engravings by Georg Pencz and the brothers Barthel Beham and Hans Sebald Beham - the so-called German ‘Little Masters’ on account of the minute yet highly detailed and influential prints they created in the first half of the sixteenth century. Other highlights include two beautifully preserved early impressions of both sacred and profane scenes by the Italian Renaissance artist Cristofano Robetta, as well as a selection of striking portrait prints such as the monumentally allegorical composition of Gasper de Guzman, Count-Duke of Olivares, or the sensitive depictions of friends and family in Frédéric Villot’s portrait of his fellow artist Eugène Delacroix or Gerald Brockhurst’s portrait of his wife, Anais.

EARLY IMPRESSIONS

 

 

Lot 161

CRISTOFANO ROBETTA (FLORENCE 1462 - 1535)

The Adoration of the Kings 

Engraving

Extensively inscribed on the verso in abbreviated Latin. The mysterious inscription, almost certainly done in an early 16th-century hand, may be a receipt or inventory for housekeeping. It begins with the date ‘May 15…’. 

Estimate

£700 - £1,000 

 

Lot 162

CRISTOFANO ROBETTA (FLORENCE 1462 - 1535)

The Allegory of Carnal Love

Engraving

Estimate

£700 - £1,000

 

 

 

 

 

'LITTLE MASTERS'

 

 

 

 

THE LINE OF QUALITY – PORTRAIT PRINTS

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on these lots or the rest of the sale,
please contact Head of Our Old Master Paintings & Works on Paper:


Dr. Albert Godetzky

albert.godetzky@chiswickauctions.co.uk

 

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