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    Description

    Giuseppe Nogari (Italian, 1699-1763)
    Bearded old man wearing a fur-trimmed cloak with gold clasp, circa 1750
    Oil on canvas
    21 x 17 inches (53.3 x 43.2 cm)

    PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN

    PROVENANCE:
    Private collection, France (export label verso on canvas lining);
    Private Italian collection (as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo);
    Private collection, Venezuela, by 1968 (as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo);
    Private collection, Miami, Florida, acquired from the above, circa 1968 (as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo).

    For most of the 20th century, this expressive portrait of an old man directly engaging the viewer with his candid stare was thought to have been the work of the Venetian painter, Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Recent scholarship has properly restored the painting to its rightful author, Giuseppe Nogari, another Venetian gifted with an astonishing painterly virtuosity, but an artist with a quite different sensibility.

    Nogari made his living painting character heads of old men and women (known as tronies by the Dutch and Flemings) as well as religious altarpieces, and occasional mural decorations. Most of all, it seems, he liked to portray not just old people but old souls, whose eyes radiated a worldly wisdom and arresting candor that finds its closest analogies in the work of Rembrandt a hundred years earlier. Indeed, Nogari seems to have been profoundly influenced by Rembrandt's work, whose drawings he knew from those in the collection of Venetian collector Zaccaria Sagredo, and whose prints he would have seen in the hands of artist, critic, dealer and connoisseur Anton Maria Zanetti. As an artist keenly attuned to the art world around him, Nogari was able to forge a painting career that blended the 18th-century vogue for bust-length portraiture of the type Rosalba Carriera was producing in pastel with great success, and his own preference for more poignant Rembrandtesque effects.

    Nogari's connections in Venice enabled his fame to spread to Germany where both his tronies and his religious works entered prominent collections. His most important German patrons in Venice were Sigismund Streit and Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg, the latter of whom sent as many as 14 Heads back to Germany. Another patron was collector/connoisseur/playboy Francesco Algarotti, who was then acting as agent for Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony, and for whom Nogari painted two philosophers and three tronies (all of which are in the Gem?ldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden). In terms of their subject matter (old men and women in various guises), Nogari's paintings form an interesting Italian counterpart to the work of the German artist Balthasar Denner, who was also patronized by the German courts. During the same period, Nogari also worked for the noted British Consul in Venice, Joseph Smith, producing two tronies and seven portraits of artists, all of which are preserved in notable British collections.

    The present work by Nogari is an exceptionally fine example of his mature style, and the finest to have appeared at auction in the last six years (cf. Portrait of a bearded man, Sotheby's, London, July 5, 2012, lot 267). The model for this work figures in a number of Nogari's paintings in different guises. He appears, for example, as a man holding spectacles on top of a stack of books in a painting that appeared at the Dorotheum, Vienna, auction on October 7, 1998, lot 144.



    Condition Report*: Older glue-lined canvas, more recently strip-lined. Verso of canvas . Thin synthetic film on upper verso to address a 2 1/2 inch horizontal tear. French customs stamp on verso of canvas. UV examination reveals an old masking varnish, on top of which are scattered small touches of inpaint, mostly confined to the background and cloak. The man's face has just a touch on the nose and in the beard. There is a flake of loss in the center of the beard. The largest area of inpaint is at the top of the man's head in the pat. Two parallel lines of inpaint, approx 2" in length, address a spot where the canvas has a repaired tear. A 3 x 2 1/2 inch area of old restoration in the dark background to left of man's head. Framed Dimensions 26.5 X 22.5 X 2.5 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2018
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,642

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