GIOVANNI BATTISTA TIEPOLO (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid)
Study of a female head and of drapery
red and white chalk, on light brown (formerly blue) paper
918 x 612 in. (23.3 x 16.8 cm)
Vicomte Bernard d’Hendecourt (1874-1928), Paris; Sotheby’s, London, 8-10 May 1929, lot 272.
Siegfried Kramarsky (1893-1961), Amsterdam and New York; by inheritance to
Violet Ingeborg Else Kramarsky (1896-1991).
D. von Hadeln, Handzeichnungen von G.B. Tiepolo, Florence, 1927, I, no. 185, ill.
I. Moskowitz, Great Drawings of All Time, I, New York, 1962, no. 293, ill.
G. Knox, Giambattista and Domenico Tiepolo. A Study and Catalogue Raisonné of the Chalk Drawings, Oxford, 1980, I, no. M.136.
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Italiaansche kunst in Nederlandsch bezit, 1934, no. 655.
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Lot Essay

Classical and monumental in appearance, the young woman on this sheet resembles many of Tiepolo’s painted Virgins, saints and women from ancient history. Yet this study cannot be definitely connected to any specific painting or fresco by the artist. Rendered with very economical means, the head is striking in its immediacy and enjoyed the distinction of being included by Ira Moskowitz in his 1962 volume of outstanding drawings (op. cit.).
When the sheet was offered for sale in 1929 from the collection of the Vicomte d’Hendecourt, the woman portrayed was identified as Cristina, Tiepolo’s favorite model. She was the daughter of a gondolier whom Giovanni Battista brought with him and his sons to Spain. This delicate head study is characteristic of the artist’s chalk drawings on blue paper. Many of these, studies of heads or of entire figures, were left after Tiepolo’s death to one of his pupils, Domenico Bossi (1767-1853), who became court painter in Munich. The group was later dispersed on the art market and a large number of them is now in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart (Knox, op. cit., pp. 200-209).

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