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Commissioned by Field Marshal Count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg (1661-1747), paid for on 2 October 1745 and kept at Palazzo Loredan a San Trovaso, Venice, until his death; bequeathed to his nephew,
Christian Günther von der Schulenburg, Berlin, and by descent to the present owner.
THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR (LOTS 95-102)
Johann Matthias, Count von der Schulenberg (1661-1747), who had commanded the forces of Saxony under Augustus the Strong--himself a determined collector of pictures--was appointed Field Marshal of the Venetian armies in 1715 and remained in the service of the Republic until his death in 1747. In 1716 he scored a monumental victory by driving the armies of the Ottoman Empire away from the besieged island of Corfu. Such was the joy of Venice that Vivaldi's opera Juditha triumphans was commissioned in celebration of the victory; Schulenburg was declared the Saviour of the Republic, commemorated by a statue and given a pension of 5000 ducats a year.
By 1747 his collection numbered some 957 items, including paintings, drawings and sculpture. He was arguably the greatest single patron of contemporary Venetian painters, owning notable groups of works by Piazzetta, Giovanni Antonio Guardi, the Ricci and Pittoni, and of views by Canaletto, Marieschi and Bellotto.
This collection, one of the most remarkable gatherings of its time, was kept in Schulenburg'’s Venetian residence, the Palazzo Loredan a San Trevaso. Schulenburg's ultimate, patriotic intention was to establish the largest collection of pictures in Germany, at the Berlin palace built by his nephew Adolph Friedrich. To this end, a steady trickle of purchases made its way north, with notable shipments recorded in the years 1736-1740.
Although Schulenburg became a collector almost inadvertently, accepting his first group of pictures as collateral for a loan in 1724 (see below note, lot 99), he soon came to treat his new occupation with passion and determination. With Venice as the major centre of the early eighteenth-century trade in Old Masters, he could not be better placed to build an outstanding collection. He built close relationships with the contemporary painters he patronised, particularly Giovanni Antonio Guardi and Giovanni Battista Piazzetta.
The Schulenburg collection is well-documented by a number of inventories, which often scrupulously record valuations made by the Professori of Venice, a group of art experts that included Giovanni Battista Pittoni, Francesco Simonini, Angelo Trevisani, and Piazzetta himself.
Schulenburg libri-cassa, Hanover, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv, MS, entry for 2 October 1745, recording a payment of 8 zecchini 17 lire 7 soldi for 'due ritratti del Re e Regina di Spagna e 4 stampe di Rubens'.
1741, 30 Giugno Venezia, Inventario Generale della Galleria di S.E. Maresciallo Co: di Schulemberg...La qual Galleria pricipio à formarsi l'anno 1724 ripartita coll'ordine che segue, in the supplement Tableau achetés après le sudit Catalogue, Hanover, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv, MS, Dep. 82, Abt. III, N. 37, as one of six 'Tabl. rappt la Famille d'Espagne Filippe V avec son Epouse, le Roy Ferdinand avec son Epouse, et Dn Filippe avec son Epouse' by Guardi, valued at 15 ecus d'Allemagne.
Venezia à Agosto 1747, Quadri e Ritratti Essistenti nelle differenti Camere del Palazzo del Defonto Eccellentissimo Maresciallo, Hanover, Niedersächsisches Staatsarchiv, MS, Dep. 82, Abt. III, N. 33, as one of 'Sei Ritratti rappresentano la Famiglia di Spagna, cioè Filippo Quinto, e sua moglie, il Ré Ferdinando, e sua moglie, don Filippo e sua moglie' by Guardi, valued at 75 ducats.
A. Morassi, 'Antonio Guardi ai servigi del feldmaresciallo Schulenburg', II, Emporium, CXXXI, May 1960, p. 204.
R. Pallucchini, 'Note sulla Mostra dei Guardi', Arte Veneta, 1965, p. 216.
D. Mahon, The Brothers at the Mostra dei Guardi: some Impressions of a Neophyte, in Problemi Guardeschi (Atti del Convegno di Studi promosso dalla Mostra dei Guardi, Venezia, 13-14 Sett. 1965), Venice, 1967, pp. 76-7, fig. 23.
A. Morassi, 'Antonio Guard', in Sensibilità e razionalità del Settecento, Florence, August 1967, p. 505.
A. Morassi, Guardi, Venice, 1973, I, pp. 59 and 330-1, no. 121, and II, fig. 143.
A. Binion, La Galleria scomparsa del maresciallo von der Schulenburg, Milan, 1990, pp. 179, 245 and 259.
G. Knox, catalogue of the exhibition, 18th Century Venetian Art in Canadian Collections, Vancouver Art Gallery, Musée du Québec and the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 1989-90, p. 26, under no. 11.
H.W. Grohn in the catalogue of the exhibition, Venedigs Ruhm im Norden: Die grossen venezianischen Maler des 18. Jahrhunderts ihre Auftraggeber und ihre Sammler, Forum des Landesmuseum, Hanover, 3 December 1991-2 February 1992, and Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf, 16 February-26 April 1992, p. 166.
F. Pedrocco and F. Montecuccoli degli Erri, Antonio Guardi, Milan, 1992, pp. 39, 42 and 129, no. 52, p. 198, fig. 69.
R. Pallucchini, La pittura nel Veneto: Il Settecento, II, Milan, 1996, p. 15.
Venice, Palazzo Grassi, Mostra dei Guardi, 5 June-10 October 1965, pp. 21-2, no. 11, illustrated (catalogue by P. Zampetti).