Antonio Vivarini (Venice active 1440-circa 1476/84) The Madonna and Child

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Lot 73*
Antonio Vivarini
(Venice active 1440-circa 1476/84)
The Madonna and Child

Sold for £ 100,250 (US$ 125,011) inc. premium
Antonio Vivarini (Venice active 1440-circa 1476/84)
The Madonna and Child
tempera and gold ground on panel
34.2 x 26cm (13 7/16 x 10 1/4in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Acquired by Jacques Rosenthal (1854-1937) in Bavaria in late 19th century, thence by descent to his son
    Dr. Erwin Rosenthal (1889-1981), Munich and Paris
    Looted by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR), in Paris 1941 or 1942
    Recovered by the Allies, 1945
    Restituted on 27 September 1947 to the daughter of Dr. Erwin Rosenthal, and thence by descent to the present owner


    Also known as Antonio da Murano, Antonio Vivarini was the first in a family of artists active in Venice in the 15th century whose status was only surpassed later by that of Jacopo Bellini and his family. In the 1440s he initially collaborated with Giovanni d'Allemagna, possibly his brother-in-law, but by 1450 he worked either alone or together with his younger brother Bartolomeo.
    Everett Fahy suggested a dating of circa 1475 for the present Madonna and Child, which would make it a very late work for the artist. Other works considered to date towards the end of his life include the Saint Catherine of Alexandria, offered at Semenzato on 6 November 2005, lot 48, or the Saint Bernardino of Siena, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (acc.no. Cat. 154). His death occurred at some point between 27 August 1466, when he is cited in the records of the district of Santa Maria Formosa, and 24 April 1484 when Alvise Vivarini, also active in the family studio, is mentioned in a document as the son of the late Antonio.
    We are grateful to Dr Laurence Kanter for confirming the attribution to Antonio Vivarini on the basis of a colour photograph. Everett Fahy also confirmed the attribution on the basis of a colour photograph in 2011 (private communication).


    Note on the provenance
    The Rosenthals, a prominent family of Jewish antiquarian booksellers and often referred to as the 'Rosenthal Dynasty', were displaced from their homes in Munich during the Nazi Regime. The present owner's grandfather, Erwin Rosenthal, was a respected and published art historian, best known for his 1924 work Giotto in der mittelalterlichen Geistesentwicklung. He abandoned Munich in 1933, moving the family seat to their Paris apartment at 45, rue Emile Menier. But like many others, they were forced to abandon their home, at very short notice before the Nazis arrived in Paris. The Vivarini, along with other works in the Rosenthals' collection, was looted by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg (ERR) in 1941/2 and a receipt in their inventory informs us that the painting was taken to Buxheim for restoration on 3 February 1944. Its whereabouts in the intervening years are unknown, but it is traditionally thought to have been stored by the Nazis in the Altaussee salt mine. The ERR assigned the moniker ROS (or ROST) to the Vivarini, enabling it to be identified and repatriated from Buxheim to France after the war and ultimately returned to the rightful owners.
Contacts
Antonio Vivarini (Venice active 1440-circa 1476/84) The Madonna and Child
Antonio Vivarini (Venice active 1440-circa 1476/84) The Madonna and Child
Antonio Vivarini (Venice active 1440-circa 1476/84) The Madonna and Child
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