• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1961

    Old Master And 19th Century Drawings

    24 January 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 47

    Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)

    The Madonna and Child adored by Saint Anthony and an abbot

    Price Realised  

    Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)
    The Madonna and Child adored by Saint Anthony and an abbot
    black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash
    16¾ x 11¼ in. (425 x 286 mm.)

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    Tiepolo made several variants of this subject - the Madonna and Child aloft on clouds adored by saints - in both his graphic and painted oeuvres. The Orloff album alone includes seven drawings of the Madonna and Child with various saints (lots 130-135, 137). As Knox notes, this exploration of a single subject was typical, especially early in the artist's career (Knox, op. cit., p. 273). A modello in the National Gallery, London is quite close in composition to the Crocker drawing although it has additional saints, cherubs and classical arches and columns in the background (see A. Morassi, A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings of G.B. Tiepolo, London, 1962, p. 16, fig. 86).
    In addition to being a compositional study, the Crocker drawing displays the artist's expert handling of wash and use of the paper's reserve in the study of light and shadow. Light chalk strokes were used to map out the basic composition, then a few delicate contour lines with a brush, and finally wash in varying shades of translucence. The wash is particularly effective in creating the shadow beneath the cloud, adding lightness and buoyancy to the atmospheric composition.
    This sheet (along with the following lot) was part of an album of Tiepolo drawings sold by Prince Alexis Orloff (b. 1867) in 1920. Its earlier provenance cannot be confirmed, but it was most likely one of several albums of Tiepolo drawings that the artist gave to his younger son, Giovanni Maria, a priest at Santa Maria della Salute, when he left Venice for Spain in 1762. These albums, which include one at the Victoria and Albert Museum and another at the Horne Museum, Florence, remained in the church's library until Napoleon sold off Church property after the defeat of the Venetian Republic in 1798.


    Prince Alexis Orloff; Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, 29-30 April 1920, lot 132 (as La Vierge, l'Enfant et deux religieux).
    William H. Crocker (1861-1937), Burlingame, California; thence by descent to his son
    Charles Crocker (1904-61), San Francisco; thence by descent to the present owners.

    Pre-Lot Text



    D. von Hadeln, The Drawings of G.B. Tiepolo, New York, 1929, II, pl. 106.
    G. Knox, 'The Orloff Album of Tiepolo Drawings', The Burlington Magazine, CIII, no. 699, pp. 273, 275, no. 13.


    On loan to the San Francisco Museum of Art, 1935-36.
    Oakland, California, Mills College Art Gallery, and Portland, Museum of Art, Exhibition, Old Master Drawings, 1937-38, no. 80 (as Two Franciscan friars in adoration of the Madonna and Child).
    Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings, Drawings and Prints by the Two Tiepolos, Giambattista and Giandomenico, 1938, no. 56 (as Vision of Two Saints).