Double Sheet (A) (verso)
George Frederick Watts (1817−1904)
Brown lightboard support
363 x 235 mm (14 1/4 x 9 1/4 inches)
Top: Study after Titian's St. Mark Enthroned, 1510-11, Sta Maria della Salute, Venice. Watercolor on paper. 215 x 85 mm (8 1/2 x 3 3/8 inches). Inscribed: "Venice, from nature."
Bottom: Study after Giorgione and Titian's Concert Champêtre, 1509, Louvre. Watercolor on paper. 70 x 90 mm (2 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches). Inscribed: "Paris" [Giorgione].
Commentary by Paul Crowther
These pictures by Watts were bought as a single Lot 202, "George Frederick Watts O.M., R.A., 1817−1904: A Collection of Early Works," Sotheby’s, 13th October 2004. Provenance: from the artist's wife Mary to Michael and Lilian Chapman, and thence by descent.
Mary Watts noted that when Watts was in Italy for the first time (1843–1847) he hardly ever copied paintings by others, but did "secure small notes in watercolour which he occasionally made from frescoes in the churches" (Watts 67). Many of the works mounted together in our double-sided display frames are examples of these watercolour "notes." It appears they were grouped, mounted, and priced by Watts himself, but with no apparent organizing principle. The upshot is that works from different periods of Watts' career are grouped together without distinction. We list them here using exactly the same terms as Watts himself used, and in the same order as they are displayed on the respective sheets.
This set of images [including recto] was reproduced as Fig. 10 in Barbara Bryant's catalogue of Watts portraits (18). She suggested that they were done during Watts' stay in Paris late in 1855. However, Veronica Franklin Gould notes that Watts did studies after Titian, Correggio, Giorgione, Van Dyck, and Rembrandt, and Raphael in the course of his first visit to Paris (en route to Italy) in 1843 (11). It would be more logical for the present works to be from the earlier date, as by the time of his second trip to Paris, Watts was already an accomplished artist rather than a student. This being said, he still did watercolour notes in 1853 during his very first visit to Venice. All works noted as "Venice" on the following sheets are assumed to be from this time. (The note described as "called Giorgione" on the present sheet is The Concert from the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, nowadays co-attributed to Giorgione and Titian).
[Click on the images to enlarge them.]
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