Giovanni di Paolo (Siena c. 1399-1482)
PROPERTY FROM THE HARRY FULD COLLECTIONHarry Fuld (1872-1932), founder of the H. Fuld & Co. Telefon und Telegraphenwerke AG in Frankfurt in 1899 and head of its affiliate companies, was also an art collector of considerable taste and renown. In 1918, Georg Swarzenski, the art historian, director and scholar, wrote glowingly about the multifaceted nature of Fuld’s collection, too rich and diverse for brief summation, but linked Fuld’s choice of art from the East and from the middle ages as lineage for the modern art he also collected. For Swarzenski, Fuld encapsulated the interest, love and passion of the modern collector.After Fuld died in 1932 his collection was inherited by his third wife, Lucie, and sons Harry and Peter. The family, of Jewish heritage, were caught up in the persecutory measures enacted by the Nationalist Socialist government in Germany after 1933. Lucie and her new husband emigrated to Argentina via Paris in 1939, but only after having been forced to sell her Berlin-Grunewald mansion to the German Reich and paying substantial ‘flight taxes’; its remaining lavish contents were auctioned away at Auktionshaus Dr. Walther Achenbach in 1940.The elder son Harry (1913-1963), from Fuld's first marriage to Flora Sondheimer (1881-1941), had inherited [part of] his father’s collection and shares in the family business, to which he had been apprenticed in 1929. Forced out of the family company following its 'aryanisation', he emigrated first to Vienna in 1934 and from there to London in 1937. His art was seized from its shippers’ storage and confiscated, again to be later auctioned off, this time by Hans W. Lange, in 1943. During the war, Harry was interned as an ‘enemy alien’ in England and Australia, and was only able to return to London in 1943, where he died in 1963.The younger son Peter (1921–1962), from Fuld’s second marriage to Ida Felsmann-Fuld (1884–1975), was secreted out of Germany in 1939, first to Switzerland and then England, where, as war had broken out, he was considered an ‘enemy alien’ and sent to an internment camp in Canada. Freed from this imprisonment, he studied at the University of Toronto. He returned to Europe in 1945 and died in Frankfurt in 1962. In response to the discrimination he had encountered and observed, Peter Fuld tasked a close friend with establishing a Foundation providing educational funding to young people from ethnic minorities and of mixed heritage, which is still active in Frankfurt today and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.Harry and Peter searched for the family’s lost possessions after the war, approaching the German authorities with their claims, but only had limited success, with the recovery of a work by Feininger and two sculptures by the Kunsthalle Karlsruhe in 1951. It has only been in recent years that the following generations have had greater success, with the family's fate acknowledged and addressed through the restitution of works by Klee and Matisse, a medieval relief and a reliquary bust.
Giovanni di Paolo (Siena c. 1399-1482)

Saint Clare rescuing the shipwrecked

Giovanni di Paolo (Siena c. 1399-1482)
Saint Clare rescuing the shipwrecked
tempera and gold on panel, the composition extended to the edges of the panel
7 ¾ x 11 5/8 in. (19.7 x 29.5 cm.)
Richard von Kaufmann (1850–1908), Berlin; his sale (†), Hugo Helbing and Paul Cassirer, Berlin, 4 December 1917 (=1st day), lot 28, catalogued by M.J. Friedländer, (42,000 marks together with lot 27).
Harry Fuld (1872-1932), and by inheritance to his widow, Lucie Mayer-Fuld (1889-1966), and his two sons,
Harry Fuld (1913-1963) and Peter Fuld (1921-1962).
List of nationally valuable art works, 1938.
Sale through art dealers to the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin, 1940.
Gemäldegalerie, Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, returned in 2019.

R. von Kaufmann, Gema¨lde des XIV-XVI Jahrhunderts aus der Sammlung von Richard von Kaufmann, Berlin, 1901, p. 11, no. 98.
M.H. Bernath, review of Frankfurt exhibition, The Burlington Magazine, XLVII, 1925, p. 216.
R. van Marle, The Development of the Italian Schools of Painting, The Hague, 1927, IX, p. 447 (misspelling Fuld as ‘Field’ and identifying the saint as Nicholas).
J. Pope-Hennessy, Giovanni di Paolo, London, 1937 (and New York, 1938), pp. 78-9 and 171.
G. Kaftal, Iconography of the Saints in Tuscan Painting, Florence, 1952, pp. 272-4, 279-280, fig. 319, note 2 (incorrectly stating that it was at Philadelphia).
Verzeichnis der Ausgestellten Gemälde des 13. bis 18. Jahrhunderts im Museum Dahlem, Berlin, 1964, p. 53.
B. Berenson, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance, Central Italian and North Italian Schools, London, 1968, p. 175.
C. Seymour, Jr., Early Italian Painting in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven and London, 1970, p. 198, under no. 148.
C.B. Strehlke, Painting in Renaissance Siena: 1420-1500, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1988, pp. 204-5, under no. 34b.
C.C. Wilson, Italian Paintings XIV-XVI Centuries in the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1996, pp. 168-70, under no. 14, fig. 14.3.
C.C. Wilson, ‘Structure and Iconography in Giovanni di Paolo’s Altarpieces, the Case of the Houston Panels’, Arte Cristiana, LXXXIV, 1996, pp. 427-8, 432-3, note 55 and 433, fig. 16.
Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Ausstellung von meisterwerken alter malerei aus privatbesitz, 1925, no. 86.
Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, Geschichten auf Gold: Bilderzählungen in der frühen italienischen Malerei, 4 November 2005-26 February 2006, no. 22a (catalogue entry by I. Wenderholm).

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Henry Pettifer
Henry Pettifer

Lot Essay

Giovanni di Paolo was, with Stefano di Giovanni, il Sassetta, one of the two great visionary masters of mid quattrocento Siena. First recorded as a miniaturist in 1417, he was supplying independent pictures by 1420 and, over the course of a long and productive career, developed a highly individual and readily recognisable style, which must have struck a deep spiritual chord with patrons in his city. The ecstatic timbre of his major altarpieces respected regional tradition and iconography, although the rhythm of their pathos was personal, but it is in his predella panels that Giovanni di Paolo’s individuality is most happily expressed. Freer from iconographic precedent and patronal expectation, he was able to retell familiar narratives in his own language, or, as in this and the companion panel, The Investiture of Saint Clare (see the following lot in this sale), to interpret in pictorial terms scenes described in a text, in this case Thomas of Celano’s celebrated life of Saint Clare (d. 1253), the companion of Saint Francis, which had been written at the behest of Pope Alexander IV in 1257.
In his pioneering monograph on Giovanni di Paolo of 1937, John Pope-Hennessy correctly associated this and the companion panel with two further scenes, Saint Clare blessing the Bread before Pope Innocent IV (fig. 1; New Haven, Yale University Art Gallery, no. 1871.59) and Saint Clare rescuing the son of Bona of Monte Giuliano who had been mutilated by a wolf (fig. 2; Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Edith A. and Percy S. Straus Collection, no. 44.571). The sequence began with The Investiture of Saint Clare, which was followed by that at New Haven. These scenes from the saint’s life were in turn followed by the two posthumous miracles: this panel of Saint Clare rescuing the shipwrecked; and the Houston picture.
The four panels were clearly intended for a complex in an establishment of Saint Clare’s order, the Poor Clares, presumably in Siena, and the relative modesty of the settings of both The Investiture of Saint Clare, the first in chronological sequence, and that at Yale were obviously suitable for such an establishment. Carl Strehlke endorsed a verbal suggestion of Keith Christiansen that the panels belonged to the altarpiece of the Madonna and Child with Saints Peter Damian, Thomas, Clare and Ursula at Siena (Pinacoteca Nazionale, no. 191). The original location of this has not been established, but it may have been one of the four establishments of the Poor Clares in Siena, Santa Petronila, San Lorenzo, Santa Chiara or San Niccolò, for the last of which the artist had supplied his Saint Nicholas altarpiece in 1453.
Strehlke’s reconstruction (fig. 3) was questioned by Wilson, who, partly for iconographical reasons, suggested that the panels may have belonged to a ‘more extensive life cycle depicted on an armadio, custodia or ‘vita retabel’ (op. cit., 1996, p. 168). His view is, however, implicitly endorsed by Wenderholm (in the 2005-6 Berlin exhibition catalogue), who observes that a Crucifixion was probably the central element of the predella.
Pope-Hennessy (op. cit.) advanced a date in the second half of the 1450s, basing this in part on the character of the landscape in the Houston panel and on the obvious parallels between waves in this panel and those in the Saint Nicholas of Tolentino saving a Ship in Distress at Philadelphia (Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, no. 713), which is securely datable to 1457, the year after that saint’s delayed canonization. This dating has been widely followed by, among others, Wilson (op. cit., 1996, c. 1455-60), Seymour (op. cit., about 1460) and Wenderholm (op. cit., about 1455).
This, the third of the known elements of the Saint Clare predella, would on the basis of Strehlke’s reconstruction (fig. 3) have been placed under the panel of Saint Clare herself in the altarpiece now in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. While its companion, Saint Clare rescuing the son of Bona of Monte Giuliano who had been mutilated by a Wolf at Houston represents one of the many posthumous miracles of the saint recorded by Thomas of Celano, in this compartment Giovanni di Paolo shows a miracle recorded by Bartolomeo da Pisa, whose De conformitate vitae beati Francisci ad vitam Domini Iesu, was issued at Assisi in 1399. He no doubt had a Pisan’s motivation for celebrating the event. His text is detailed:
Several Pisans were surprised by a terrible tempest during a dark and gloomy night on their way to Sardinia. The strong storm had already broken the stern of the ship, so that all those on board saw themselves close to death and invoked the Virgin Mary and many saints with shouts and lamentations. As their prayers were unanswered and they feared to sink, they started to invoke Saint Clare of Assisi: If she would free them from their perilous danger, they promised to make a pilgrimage from Pisa to Clares church, barefoot, in penitential robes, and with a pound of wax in their hands. Hardly had they made the promise when three lights descended from heaven; one stood on the bow of the ship, one on the stern and the third closed the break in the keel, through which the water poured into the ship. And all at once the sea calmed and the wind blew favourably. The three lights, however, never went out (Tommaso da Celano, Legenda sanctae Clarae virginis, cited in translation in Z. Lazzeri, ed., La vita di Santa Chiara, Collegio di S. Bonaventura, 1920, pp. 200-201). The artist omits the three lights, using the saint herself as his source of illumination, and shows the unabated storm as it is about to be stilled.
This depiction of a nocturnal miracle must rank as one of the supreme statements of Giovanni di Paolo’s genius as a narrative artist with a visionary sensibility. Saint Clare, in the billowing habit of her order that hides her legs and feet, grasps the four ropes attached to the mast of a small disintegrating boat as it sinks to the waterline, with five men whose heads are seen above the gunwale over which spray is breaking. The main sail, wind torn, is still attached to part of a yardarm that has just broken off; a lower arm has already been broken and a small piece of a white sail is being blown to the right. The dramatic sea is envisioned as rows of waves of dark grey water alternating with troughs, the latter like the waves – the spray of which is defined by tiny touches of white - described by delicate lines of white, which, like the boat itself and its sails, reflect the rays that radiate from the saint herself against the deep indigo of the night sky. Here, more even than in Saint Nicholas of Tolentino saving a Shipwreck at Philadelphia, one senses the medieval world’s fear of the uncontrollable. Before painting the panel, Giovanni di Paolo incised the lines of the mast on the priming. After the process of painting was complete, the thinnest of styluses was employed for the fine incised lines defining the nimbus that radiates from the saint.
This miracle and that illustrated in the panel at Houston must have been selected for complementary reasons. As their city owed much of its wealth to banking and commerce, the Sienese depended on the maritime trade, and so the miracle had a specific relevance to them. Pisa was the nearest major port to Siena and the trading links between the two are implied by the number of works by early quattrocento Sienese artists in the city, not least Taddeo di Bartolo and Martino di Bartolomeo, and numerous vessels must have sailed from Pisa to its colony of Sardinia. Trade mattered to Siena, but so did agriculture. As Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s celebrated mural in the Palazzo Publico demonstrates, the Sienese were very conscious of the importance of the ordering of their contrada, where wolves posed a continuing problem in rural areas. This gave the miracle of Bona of Monte Giuliano’s son an obvious relevance to Giovanni di Paolo’s intended audience: the miracle had taken place near Assisi, but the painter places it against a diagonal view of the ordered fields of the Sienese homeland, with its white soil, and eroded rocky bluffs representing the crete in the distance. The contrast between the violent waves in one panel and the rectangular fields in the other was surely deliberate, and as these were almost certainly painted on a single plank must have been carefully calculated, with the fastidious precision that Giovanni di Paolo seems initially to have learnt as a miniaturist.

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