FREDERIC LEIGHTON (British, 1830-1896)
    Portrait of Stella, circa 1859
    Oil on canvas
    13-1/2 x 10-3/4 inches (34.3 x 27.3 cm)

    Christie's, London, B. G. Windus sale, July 19, 1862, lot 29 (bought by Agnew);
    Thomas Agnew and Sons, Ltd., London;
    Gift of Estate of Dana Estes, 1910 (inv. 10.81) to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1910-1999).

    L. and R. Ormond, Lord Leighton, New Haven and London, 1975, pp. 42, 152, cat. no. 49;
    A. Murphy, European Paintings in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue, Boston, 1985, illus. p. 163.

    Shortly after Frederic Leighton arrived in Rome in early October of 1858, he settled into rooms in the Albergo del Sole near the Pantheon, and also managed to take over his former studio in the Via Purificazione. It was there that he began work on a series of studies of Italian models, among them the present work. The most notable of these was Nanna Risi, better known as La Nanna, who was to become famous as the mistress and model of the German painter, Anselm Feuerbach. Besides La Nanna, Leighton employed other models, recording in his notebooks their names and the days on which they sat for him: Stella (the subject of the present work), Tota, Giacinta, Nina, and Louisa. Sums of fifty to a hundred bajocchi were regularly recorded for models in the artist's list of expenses.

    As Leonee and Richard Ormond have noted: "Two almost identical studies of the same girl, evidently painted at the same time as those of La Nanna but of a different model are variously called Stella and Tolla. In these studies, Leighton was developing his painterly skills on an informal scale. [Another writer] says that he sought 'character and expression in the heads,' and 'had then Lionardo [sic] da Vinci in his mind,' but the influence of sixteenth-century Venetian painting is equally apparent."

    Estimate: $20,000 - $40,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Canvas has been relined, scattered strenghtening to face and bonnet, as well as to the background, otherwise good condition.

    *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. 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.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2008
    8th Thursday
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