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Annibale Carracci
Venus Adorned by the Graces

oil on panel, transferred to canvas
133 x 170.5 cm (52 3/8 x 67 1/8 in)
Alessandro Tanari [1548-1639], Bologna, by 1638; [1] purchased 1828 from the Casa Tanari, Bologna, by (James Irvine, London and Rome) for Sir William Forbes, 7th bt. of Pitsligo [1773-1828]; [2] by inheritance to his son, Sir John Stuart Hepburn Forbes, 8th bt. [1804-1866]; (sale of his father's pictures at Alexander Rainey's, London, 2 June 1842, no. 29). [3] Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro, of Novar, by 1854; [4] (his sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 1 June 1878, no. 19); bought by "Dyer" [probably the dealer and restorer William Dyer] for Sir John Charles Robinson [1824-1913], London; [5] sold 1878 to Sir Francis Cook, 1st bt. [1817-1901], Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey; [6] by inheritance to his son, Sir Frederick Lucas Cook, 2nd bt. [1844-1920], Doughty House; by inheritance to his son, Sir Herbert Frederick Cook, 3rd bt. [1868-1939], Doughty House; by inheritance to his son, Sir Francis Ferdinand Maurice Cook, 4th bt. [1907-1978], Doughty House, and Cothay Manor, Somerset; sold February 1948 to (Gualtiero Volterra, London) for (Count Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, Florence); [7] purchased 1949 by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; [8] gift 1961 to NGA. [1] Inventory of May 1640 by Vicenzo Pisani (Archivio di Stato di Bologna), published by Luisa Ciammitti, Tre artisti nella Bologna dei Bentivoglio. Ercole Robert: La cappella Garganelli in San Pietro, Bologna, 1985: 204, 215. Pisani described the painting thus: "l'altro d'Annibale Carracci nel quale è dipinta Diana con le sue Vergini che gli acconciano la testa a bon'hora," and "Diana con altre figure che si fa conciare la testa ad un fonte di mano d'Annibale Carracci." Carlo Cesare Malvasia, Felsina Pittrice. Vite de' Pittore Bolognesi con aggiunte correzioni e note inedite dall-autore de Giampietro Zanooti e di altri scrittori, 2 vols., Bologna, 1841: 1:357 (reprinted 1974, originally published 1678), also misread the subject as "Diana con le sue Vergini, che le acconciano il capo presso ad una fontana, e diversi amorini," as did Marcello Oretti at the end of the eighteenth century: in Marcello Oretti, "Le pitture...della Città di Bologna", 3 vols., Biblioteca Comunale Bologna, MS B104, in Marcello Oretti e il patrimonio artistico privato bolognese (Document 22), ed. by Emilia Calbi and Daniela Scaglietti Kelescian, Bologna, 1984: 90. Thomas Martyn, who had visited Italy in 1787, referred to the painting as "Venus attired by the Graces" (Thomas Martyn, A Tour through Italy, London, 1791: 110). [2] Hugh Brigstocke, William Buchanan and the Nineteenth-Century Art Trade, London, 1982: 27, 481. [3] The painting was probably sold through the efforts of William Buchanan, who was called in to dispose of the pictures remaining from the unsuccessful 1842 auction of Sir William's collection (Brigstocke 1982: 30). [4] Gustav Friedrich Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, 3 vols., London, 1854: 2:135. A Complete Catalogue of the the Collection of the Late Hugh Andrew Johnstone Munro, Esq. of Novar, London, 1865: 4. [5] Catalogue of the Ancient Portion of the Celebrated Collection of Pictures Known as the Novar Collection...which will be sold by Messrs. Christie, Manson & Woods on Saturday June 1, 1878, London, 1878: 6, with marginal notation of sale to "Mr. Dyer" (in the NGA copy). The identification of William Dyer was kindly suggested by Martha Hepworth of the Getty Provenance Index (letter of 26 April 1990 in NGA curatorial files). The painting sold for 180 guineas. In his account book (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford), Robinson writes that the painting "bought by Dyer for me" (copy of releveant page in NGA curatorial files). [6] Tancred Borenius, A Catalogue of the Paintings in the Collection of Sir Frederick Cook, Bt., London, 1913: 100, no. 85; Abridged Catalogue of the Pictures at Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey, in the Collection of Sir Herbert Cook, Bart., London, 1932: 68, no. 85. A Toilet of Venus by Annibale Carracci, 51 x 64 1/2 inches, was in the sale of "N. N." in 1886 according to George Redford, Art Sales, 2 vols., London, 1888: 223. Martha Hepworth of the Getty Provenance Index has suggested that this is one of the many mistakes in Redford (letter of 26 April 1990). [7] See copies of correspondence in NGA curatorial files, from the Cook Collection Archive in care of John Somerville, England. Volterra was Contini-Bonacossi's agent in London. [8] The Kress Foundation made an offer to Contini-Bonacossi on 4 March 1949 for a group of twenty-one paintings, including the Carracci; the offer was accepted on 10 March 1949 (see copies of correspondence in NGA curatorial files).
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