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Henry Fuseli (1741 - 1825)

Lot 149: f - JOHANN HEINRICH FÜSSLI ZURICH 1741- 1825 LONDON

Sotheby's

July 8, 2004
London, United Kingdom

More About this Item


Description

bears inscription in pencil (recto): from Mr Knowles and inscribed on the verso in the artist's hand: Mr Linton. Landscape P./recommended by Mr Johnson

black chalk

Dimensions

79 by 118mm

Exhibited

Bremen, Kunsthalle and Zurich, Kunsthaus, Handzeichnungen Alter Meister aus Schweizer Privatbesitz, 1976, no. 291;
New York, C. G. Boerner, 400 Years of Swiss Drawing, The Kurt Meissner Collection, 2001, no. 9

Literature

Gert Schiff, Johann Heinrich Füssli, Zurich/Munich 1973, p. 613, no. 1568.

Provenance

Kurt Meissner (bears his collector's mark)

Notes

Füssli's painting, The Nightmare, was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1781 and became instantly famous. He was asked to repeat the subject at least four times in the following decades. Schiff, on the basis of Füssli's shakey inscription on the verso and of the first appearance of William Linton as an exhibitor at the Royal Academy in 1817, dates this drawing 1817-25 and associates it with the last painted version of the subject (1810-20). David Weinglass, in a letter of March 1999, suggests an earlier date of 1810-14. On the other hand, as suggested in the Boerner exhibition catalogue, the position of the female figure remains the same in all versions of the painting, and as this sketch is so immediate and free and shows Füssli working out the position of the arm, it seems possible that it is a first idea for the composition and that the inscription on the verso was added later.

Schiff believes the inscription on the recto is in the hand of the Countess of Guilford, who was born Susan Coutts and was a patron of Füssli. John Knowles was his first biographer, publishing The Life and Writings of Henry Fuseli, Esq. in 1831.

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Old Master Drawings

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July 8, 2004, 12:00 AM EST

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