Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (Seville 1618-1682) and Studio
Portrait of a gentleman, full-length, presumably a member of the Ostigliani family
oil on canvas
78 5/8 x 50 in. (199.6 x 127 cm.)
with the coat-of-arms of the Ostigliani family, Treviso, dated and inscribed 'Año 1677. ETAT.S.34' (upper left)
with Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris, by 1894.
William T. Donnat, Paris.
with René Gimpel, Paris, by 1925.
with Knoedler, Paris, from whom acquired by,
Counts Contini-Bonacossi, Florence, by 1930.
with Robert Holden, London.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, London, 16 December 1999, lot 79, as ‘Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’.
Anonymous sale; Christie’s, New York, 26 January 2005, lot 312.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby’s, New York, 9 June 2011, lot 52.
Catalogue of the First Series of 100 paintings of Old Masters, Paris (Sedelmeyer Gallery), 1894, pp. 78-79, no. 66, illustrated.
A. L. Mayer, The Old Spanish Masters from the Contini Bonacossi Collection, Rome, 1930, p. 31, fig. 41.
A. L. Mayer, ‘Zur Austellung der Spanischen Gemälde des Grafen Contini in Rome’, Pantheon, 1930, p. 204.
D. Angulo Iñiguez, Murillo, Madrid, 1981, II, p. 583, no. 2.857, as ‘not by Murillo’.
E. Valdivieso , Pintura barroca sevillana, Seville, 2003, p. 75.
G. Martinez del Valle, La imagen del poder. El retrato sevillano del siglo XVII, Seville, 2010, p. 215.
E. Valdivieso , Murillo. Catalogo Razonado de Pinturas, Madrid, 2010, pp. 570-571, no. 423, illustrated.
Paris, Charles Sedelmeyer Gallery, 1894, no. 66.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, on loan 1906-8.
Paris, René Gimpel Gallery, no. 72.
Toronto, Art Gallery, 1929.
Rome, Galleria nazionale d’arte moderna a Valle Giulia, Antichi pittori spagnoli della collezione Contini Bonacossi, May-June 1930, no. 48. as ‘Murillo’

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Lot Essay

Murillo’s talents as a portraitist are often overlooked given the relative infrequency with which they occur throughout his oeuvre. Fewer than a dozen full-length portraits by Murillo are known today, but remain some of the most impressive examples of seventeenth century Spanish portraiture outside of Madrid and the work of Velázquez. The elegant monochrome of the sitter’s clothes in the present portrait, a black doublet and breeches figured with leaves and black lace covering his white shirt sleeves, is elegantly off-set by the voluminous red curtain which is tied round the column behind him. The picture can be compared to Murillo’s portraits of the Knight of Alcántara or Calatrava in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (inv. no. 54.190) and the Portrait of a Gentleman in Madrid (Museo Nacional del Prado, inv. no. P02845). In 1981, the picture was doubted by Angulo Iñiguez on the basis of photographs and a misreading of the inscribed date. However, the attribution to Murillo has since been confirmed by Professor Enrique Valdivieso Gonzáles who, correctly dating the portrait to 1677, notes, in conjunction with the hand of the master himself, participation by ‘some of the disciples and apprentices’ from the studio.

The coat-of-arms in the upper left of the portrait has been identified as that of the Ostigliani family. Originally from Treviso, they would likely have been amongst the numerous expatriates who settled in Seville as active members of the city’s commercial and banking activities during the second half of the seventeenth century.

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