Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)

Caricature of a corpulent man seen from behind, wearing a hat

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)
Caricature of a corpulent man seen from behind, wearing a hat
black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, the corners cut, watermark fleur-de-lys with letters ABP
5 ½ x 3 3/8 in. (14.2 x 8.6 cm)
Probably the Conti Sacchetto, Padua.
The Conti Valmarana, Vicenza.
Paul Wallraf, Paris and London.
Galerie Pardo, Paris; purchased from them in 1972 by Eileen and Herbert C. Bernard, New York.

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Jonathan den Otter
Jonathan den Otter

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Lot Essay

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s œuvre comprises of a large number of caricatures, often humorous in nature, yet simultaneously sympathetic to their subjects, as is the case in this drawing and the following lot. The drawings occasionally depict specific individuals, but more frequently represent types, such as noblemen or priests, with the subject often seen from behind. Most of the artist’s caricatures have cut corners, as is the case here, indicating they were removed from albums. One such album, Tomo terzo de caricature (third volume of caricatures) containing 107 drawings, was sold in these Rooms, Christie’s London, 9 April 1943, lot 244. The title of this album indicates that at least another two preceding albums must have existed. George Knox has dated these drawings to 1754-1762 (Tiepolo. A Bicentenary Exhibition, exhib. cat., Cambridge, Fogg Art Museum, 1970, under no. 87).
Giovanni Battista's son, Domenico, often used these figures in his drawings and an almost identical figure, although dressed as a woman, appears as an onlooker in Domenico’s drawing of The Donkey Stable, a drawing signed and dated 1791, in the Muzeum Narodowe, Szczecin (A. Mariuz, Giandomenico Tiepolo, Venice, 1971, p. 101, fig. 22).

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