Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi – Highlights for Master Drawings in London Saturday 5th July to Friday 11th July 2008

Design drawings from France, Italy, Germany and India will lead this year’s exhibition by Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi for Master Drawings in London. Highlights include fine examples of French draftsmanship in the eighteenth century: one by Claude Gillot, and one by his pupil, Antoine Watteau; together with a superb Italian sixteenth century study by Taddeo Zuccaro; and work by the great German nineteenth century artist Adolf von Menzel.

A fine example of the draftsmanship of Claude Gillot (Langres, Haute-Marne 1673 – 1722 Paris) can be seen in Four Commedia dell’Arte Figures: Three Gentlemen and Pierrot, one of the artist’s most original and appealing subjects inspired by theatrical performances. There are several other comparable drawings similar to this by Gillot of simple groups of four actors in a variety of costumes and poses. Drawings of theatrical characters form a large part of Gillot’s existing oeuvre and testify to his involvement with the theatre and costume design throughout his lifetime. His drawings are executed in a characteristic variety of media, predominantly pen and ink with red or grey wash, or occasionally both, as is the case of this drawing.

Figure Studies, by Antoine Watteau (Valenciennes 1684 – 1721 Nogent-sur-Marne) is a study in red and white chalk on light brown paper. The artist was apprenticed to Claude Gillot from 1705 to 1708. Studies by Watteau are rare. The upper part of our sheet contains studies relates to one of ten prints executed by the artist entitled Les habits sont Italiens. The motif of a man lifting a curtain on the sheet is recurrent in Watteau’s oeuvre, and is evident in Arlequin, Pierrot and Scarpin in the British Museum. The motif of the two hands, holding the bow and the neck of a viol respectively were used again by Watteau in a full figure study, now in the Puskin Museum.

The Italian School is represented by the superb study of the Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Taddeo Zuccaro (Sant’Angelo in Vado 1529 – 1566 Rome) drawn in pen and brown ink, and wash, over black chalk. This previously unpublished drawing is an important addition to the oeuvre of this Ro¬man artist. It displays all the stylistic hallmarks of Taddeo’s drawings between 1556 and 1558, and could easily have been executed at the time he was working on the frescoes in the Frangipani Chapel in the Roman church of S. Marcello al Corso.

The pose of Christ is similar to that of the John the Baptist in the Morgan Library drawing as well as being reminiscent of Saint Paul in The Healing of the Cripple in the Frangi¬pani Chapel; a study of work is in the Baltimore Museum of Art. It is apparent, given the existence of the drawing of John the Baptist in the Morgan Li¬brary and the Birth of the Virgin cited above, as well as recollections by Vasari, that Taddeo was active on other projects at the time he was executing the frescoes in the Frangipani Chapel. It is conceivable that the Incredulity of Saint Thomas fits into the period 1556-1558.

One of the highlights from the German School of the nineteenth century is A Landing Stage, an atmospheric drawing by Adolf von Menzel (Breslau 1815–1905 Berlin). With this drawing, a man working on his boat beneath a landing stage is viewed from an unusual angle, one of the artist’s traits; the viewer is struck by the dramatic rendering of light and shade on the water and the bank. This work was originally from the collection of the Königliche Nationalgalerie, Berlin, where many of Menzel’s other works can be seen.

Other works from the nineteenth German school include Via Appia Antica, The Tomb of Cecilia Metella, (1824) by Ernst Fries (Heidelburg 1801- 1833 Karlsruhe). A work with a Grand Tour theme dates from when Fries was living in Rome between 1823 and 1827, where he frequented the artistic circles of Johann Anton Koch and Ludwig Richter. A further work from this school is a pencil Portrait of Christian Müller by Ludwig Emil Grimm (Hanau 1790 – 1863 Kassel). Ludwig was the youngest of the Grimm brothers and following his education at Munich Academy, he devoted himself to oil painting and illustrating Grimm’s Fairy Tales. This portrait is of a fellow soldier and companion to Grimm in the War of Liberation from Napoleon in 1814.

A magnificent botanical watercolour study of a Bombax Ceiba, by an Indian artist working in Calcutta dating from 1800, is a one of the highlights of our still-life studies at this year’s Master Drawings Week. This study is from a folio, formerly in the collection of Edward Stanley, 13th Earl of Derby (1775-1851). Arguably the 19th century’s leading enthusiast for natural history, Lord Derby maintained a menagerie of wild animals at Knowsley Hall, while amassing a vast library of botanical and horticultural books and drawings. The study is in pristine condition, and equals, or surpasses, in quality and botanical accuracy much of the material held in public collections in the UK and America.

Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi has carefully selected a wide range of fine Old Master Drawings that will appeal to all collectors and respective budgets at this year’s Master Drawings in London.


Photography available



Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published.