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    Sale 7575

    Old Master and British Pictures

    25 April 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 47

    Paolo Antonio Barbieri (Cento 1603-1649)

    Sweets on a tazza, narcissi in a glass vase, breadsticks in a jar, and apples, jelly and a lemon on a draped table

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Paolo Antonio Barbieri (Cento 1603-1649)
    Sweets on a tazza, narcissi in a glass vase, breadsticks in a jar, and apples, jelly and a lemon on a draped table
    oil on canvas
    24¾ x 29 7/8 in. (63 x 76 cm.)


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    Paolo Antonio Barbieri worked alongside his more famous brother, Guercino, managing his workshop and pursuing his own speciality of still life painting. Much is known about the paintings of both brothers because Paolo Antonio assiduously began to record the studio's receipts in an account book, which still exists, the Libro dei Conti (see B. Ghelfi, Il Libro de Conti del Guercino 1629-1666, 1997). As such, the references to his own work can be viewed as definitive. This amounted to fewer than forty paintings - all still lifes - listed over a period from 1629-1649. We are grateful to Dr. John Spike for noting that this picture can be convincingly identified with an entry dated '6 May 1635. Received from the Prior of San Giuseppe in Bologna, 25 ducats for the picture of Confections [confetture], made by me. Which sum is equal to: 34 scudos 1.10 lire'.

    The prior who apparently commissioned the painting, is identified on other pages as Baldassare Torresani, a priest of the convent of San Giuseppe in Bologna, who was an active client of both the brothers during this period. What is remarkable is the existence, as noted by Spike, of a letter dated 3 May 1635, in which Paolo Antonio describes the Confetture to the prior, drafted on the back of a Guercino drawing now in the Royal Collection (D. Mahon and N. Turner, The Drawings of Guercino at Windsor Castle, 1989, no. 327). It predates the aforementioned Libro dei Conti record by three days, and apparently was the draft of a letter that was intended to accompany this picture from Cento to Bologna. Amidst the crossing-out, it is clearly legible that Barbieri writes that he had 'never before' painted a confettione, referring also to the care he took to make this picture, mentioning that some of the sweets were displayed in container, and others on the tabletop. Indeed, as Spike has observed, this painting is the earliest-known treatment of confectioner's delights in Italy, reminiscent as it is of the work developed around 1621 by the Spaniard, Juan van der Hamen.

    We are grateful to Dr. John Spike for his assistance with cataloguing this lot.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    Possibly commissioned by Baldassari Torresani, Prior of San Giuseppe, Bologna, 1635 (see infra).


    Literature

    L. Salerno, La natura morta italiana: tre secoli di natura morta italiana: la raccolta Silvano Lodi, exhibition catalogue, Florence, 1984, p. 131, no. 59, as Emilian Master, 17th Century.
    Italian still life painting from three centuries, the Silvano Lodi collection, exhibition catalogue, Jerusalem, 1994, no. 56.
    P. Beusen, et. al., L'art gourmand, exhibition catalogue, Ghent, 1996, pp. 168-9.
    B. Ghelfi, Il libro dei conti del Guercino, 1629-1666, Venice, 1997.
    Italian still life painting, from the Silvano Lodi collection, exhibition catalogue, Tokyo, 2001, p. 56, no. 17.
    S. Dathe, Natura morte italian: Italienisches stilleben aus vier Jahrhunderten, Sammlung Silvano Lodi, exhibition catalogue, Ravensburg, 2003, no. 53.


    Exhibited

    Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek; Berlin, Gemäldegalerie Staatliche Museen-Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Italian still life painting from three centuries, the Silvano Lodi collection, 27 November 1984-27 October 1985, no. 59.
    Saitama, The Museum of Modern Art; Darumaya, The Yomiuri Shimbun Museum of Art; and Shimoseki, City Art Museum, Italian still life from three centuries, 8 August 1986-1 February 1987, no. 53.
    Jerusalem, The Israel Museum of Art, Italian still life painting, from the Silvano Lodi collection, June 1994, no. 56.
    Tokyo, Seiji Togo Memorial Musuem of Art, Italian still life painting, from the Silvano Lodi collection, 28 April-26 May 2001, no. 17; and on tour in Japan.
    Brussels, Crédit Communal de Bruxelles, L'Art Gourmand, November 1996-February 1997; Darmstadt, Hessisches Landesmuseum, 5 March-1 June 1997; and Cologne Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, 19 June-14 September 1997.
    Ravensburg, Schloss Achberg, Natura Morta Italiana: Italienische stilleben aus vier Jarhunderten, sammlung Silvano Lodi, 11 April-12 October 2003.