The Passion of Collecting Academic Nudes

Join me as we explore my collection of Academic Nudes from the 18th, 19th, and Early 20th Centuries and serendipitous finds in the Museum, Art Auction, and Gallery world......examples from the Golden Age of the European Academie


Thursday, October 23, 2014

"Tantalus" - Attributed to Giovanni Battista Langetti

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Kunsthaus Lempertz, Koln, DE has listed a beautiful mythological figure study in their current Old Masters catalog titled "Tantalus" attributed to Giovanni Battista Langetti. Here is the catalog description of the work:


”I also saw Tantalus, tormented by the direst agonies. He stood amidst a pool, his chin lapped by the waves, and though he gasped with thirst, still he could not drink. For as the old man knelt down to taste the cool waters, in that moment they would seep away, leaving only black sand around his feet, dried out by a hostile demon. Around him grew trees so heavy with sweet pears, pomegranates, figs and green olives that their branches were weighed down and hung around his head. But as the old man reached up to pick the fruit, in that moment they were swept away by a sudden storm and carried up into the gathering clouds.” 

Thus Homer described the fate of Tantalus in his Odyssey (from the German, book 11, 582-592), and the myth is illustrated in this form by the present work.
Tantalus, who is usually said to be the son of Zeus and the Nymph Plouto, was a rich and powerful Lydian (or Phrygian) King. He was invited to dine at the God's table, but stole nectar and ambrosia from them. When the Gods later attended one of Tantalus' banquets - the second time such an event had occurred - he killed and cooked his youngest son Pelops and fed him to the Gods without their knowing. However, the Gods noticed this atrocity and punished him with the eternal torment of withheld nourishment.

The style of this work is particularly reminiscent of the work of Giovanni Battista Langetti, an Italian late Baroque painter and main proponent of Tenebrism. He was first active in Genoa together with Gioacchino Assereto, and later in Rome and Venice. Langetti favoured dramatic scenes with both mythological and religious heroes, who are usually depicted in the foreground under stark lighting. Comparative works include “Cato” (Eremitage, St. Petersburg), ”The Good Samaritan“ (Holbourne Museum, Bath) and “Joseph Interpreting the Pharaoh's Dream”, which is known in various versions. This composition shows strong stylistic references to Genoan conventions, and illustrates the same myth in a similar arrangement and style as a painting by Assereto (made ca. 1630/40, now kept in the Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand), with whose work Langetti could have been familiar."
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Here are just a few examples of his large body of works:

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

RICHARD WINTERNITZ (1861-1928): Two Boys Bathing in a Stream 1909

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Van Ham Kunstaucktionen, Koln, DE has a nice figure study of two boys playing in a stream by Richard Winternitz (1861-1928) listed in their Fall Auction catalog. Unfortunately I could find scant biographic information on the artist.

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Here are a few examples of his other works:
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Artist's Wife


Im Sommer. Drei Jungen im Ruderboot, 1907



The Letter


Friday, October 17, 2014

Félix Vallotton (1865 Lausanne - 1925 Paris) "La Tunisienne" - Nude Female Study

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I must apologize for the sparsity of postings lately. I flew out to Colorado Springs to spend some time with my youngest son and meet a new addition to his family. I now know why having children is for the young. The weather was beautiful and the view of the Rocky Mountains was breathtaking. Now it's back to the daily grind.

Auktionshaus Geble in Germany has a beautiful study of a female nude by the French painter Felix Valotton (1865-1925) titled "La Tunisienne" listed in their current catalog. The painting is signed and dated 1884 and was painted in Atelier Julien where Vallotton studied under Boulanger and Lefebvre. The painting has a long and distinguished pedigree. If you have an extra 50,000 Euros lying around then that will get the bidding started. Enjoy:
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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Unknown 19th Century German Artist: Nude Male Youth Posed As Pan

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Auktionshaus Mars, Wurzburg, DE has listed a nice study of a male youth posed as Pan with all the trappings of his office. Unfortunately, the painting is not signed and comes from some unknown mid to late 19th German art school. Enjoy.
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Monday, June 16, 2014

Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918): Der Frühling. Fassung IV (Spring – Version IV). Circa 1912.

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All you collectors out there with really deep pockets might want to take a walk over to Koller Auktionen AG, Zurich for a chance to take home an original Ferdinand Hodler (1853-1918) painting, version IV of Der Fruhling (Spring). The bidding starts some where in the stratosphere at Euro 3 million five hundred thousand. The painting has a provenance as long as your arm and most likely will end up in some museum somewhere. One can dream.
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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Frederic van der Linden (Belgian 1852-1926): Academic Study of a Nude Ephebe (Nude Boy)

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It never ceases to amaze me how some sellers on the various eBay sites think they can get top dollar for a 19th century academic drawing and then turn around and list it like the listing title and description have nothing to do with the artwork itself. Key words will make the difference between real money and a bargain. Well I watched this drawing go through two cycles of listings without so much as one bid, so when the seller re-listed it again, I programmed a bid and sat back and watched it for nine days while it showed no interest. If the seller had revised his listing and included a few different key words, there would have been a bidding free for all. I honestly think the seller did not do any research on the artist and failed to see what he had. I managed to get it for the initial asking price. Go figure.

Frederic van der Linden (1852-1926) was a Belgium artist who was active in the European art market during the latter part of the 19th to very early 20th centuries. His name even appears in a few of Gauguin's letters to his brother Theo. Unfortunately, I could find very little information regarding his training and career. Enjoy.
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Caption: Nude Ephebe (Nude Boy)
Artist: Frederic van der Linden (1852-1926)
Materials: Pierre noire (Conte) on paper
Dated: 1880-1890
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                             Here is the single example of his other works that I could find
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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Otto Greiner (1869-1916): Standing Female Nude

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Galerie Bassenge, Berlin, DE has listed another of those beautiful Otto Greiner (1869-1916) academic nudes. If you have a spare 4,000.00 Euros to get the bidding started on this one then you have my best wishes. Enjoy.
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