Giuseppe de Nittis (Italian 1846-1884) Looking out to sea

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Lot 57
Giuseppe de Nittis
(Italian 1846-1884)
Looking out to sea

£ 20,000 - 30,000
US$ 25,000 - 37,000
Giuseppe de Nittis (Italian 1846-1884)
Looking out to sea
signed 'De Nittis' (lower left)
charcoal
35 x 26.5cm (13 3/4 x 10 7/16in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    with Enrico Pagani Cesa, Milan
    Acquired directly from the above by the family of the present owner during the 1960s
    Private collection, Milan

    From the early 1870s de Nittis enjoyed great success in Paris with his elegant street scenes populated by animated figures. He started to be identified as a 'painter of modern life' as described in the work of Charles Baudelaire. The famous poet asserted that the reality surrounding the artist, a painter of modern life, should be a continuous source of inspiration. This inspiration might come from seeing an elegant young woman seated on a bench in one of the city's parks, or the hard working laundresses along the river Seine.

    De Nittis is best known for his graceful figures and contemporary realism, much like the work of his contemporary, Giovanni Boldini; both drew from similar subjects and followed the same artistic credo. The two artists also regularly visited London to take advantage of the blossoming market and wealthy patronage. As can be seen by correspondence with his wife, Leontine, Giuseppe de Nittis first visited the capital in 1874 and within two years he had secured commissions which included twelve works in four years for the English banker, Kaye Knowles.

    The present drawing was probably executed by De Nittis during this first journey across the English Channel, as he went to London in April and he returned to Paris in August. The large horizon beyond the sitter would suggest a view of the sea rather than a river, the Seine or Loire. The seated figure in Accanto alla pista1, painted in 1874, would indicate a similar date for this drawing. The same year, de Nittis broke off contact with the dealer Adolphe Goupil, which may be the reason that this drawing is not registered in the Maison Goupil inventory, however, the lack of known drawings makes further comparison difficult. The strong stroke of the pencil for the skirt plissé and the creases on the cloak recall etchings such as La lettura, 1873.2 The positioning of the signature on the leg of the stool has forced the artist to use a thinner pencil and it may be that the signature was also added by the artist at a later date.

    We are grateful to Dott.ssa Francesca Dini for confirming the attribution to Giuseppe de Nittis, and for her assistance in cataloguing this lot, which will be included in the first supplement of the catalogue raisonné on the artist currently in preparation. The work will be sold with a photo-certificate from Francesca Dini.

    1P. Dini and G.L. Marini, De Nittis. La vita, i documenti, le opere dipinte, Turin, 1990, no.517
    2F. Fiorani and R. Dinoia, De Nittis incisore, Rome, 1999, p.103
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