Antiques dealer Carlton Hobbs and fine art specialist Jean-Luc Baroni announced the opening of an exhibition entitled "In the Grand Manner" on January 22 to February 2, 2010 at the Carlton Hobbs Gallery, 60 East 93rd Street, in New York. Baroni will present approximately thirty-five rare and highly important old master paintings and drawings, from the 16th to the early 20th centuries, some on view for the first time in the United States.
"This is the first time we have lent a large part of our gallery to a dealer from a different discipline," said Carlton Hobbs, "but believe that we will provide the perfect setting for Mr. Baroni's stunning collection. We will carefully select pieces from our own inventory to complement the old master works."
Amongst these will be an extraordinary and, according to Lucy Wood, "pioneering" early neoclassical giltwood armchair attributed to Ince & Mayhew, presumably from a group at Bramshill Park; a highly important overmantel mirror with the frame attributed to Thomas and René Pelletier; and a pair of giltwood console tables almost certainly commissioned for Schloss Seehof.
"I am privileged to have the opportunity to show my works of art in a gallery of such stature and prominence," said Baroni, whose gallery is based in London. Baroni plans to show works by Parmigianino, Zuccaro, Beccafumi, Ricci, Maratta, Delacroix, Piazzetta, Gandolfi, Boldini, Salviati, among others.
One of these masterpieces is the 'Portrait of a Lady as Flora' by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696 - 1770 Madrid) Oil on canvas, 88 x 70 cm. This superb painting by the leading Italian artist of his generation, was recently discovered in the attic of the French Chateau where, at some point in time it had been put into storage, as a picture too osé to hang among the more austere ancestral portraits. Forgotten for over 200 years, the picture has come to us in remarkable condition, unlined, and preserving all of its thick impasto and vibrant brush strokes. This stunning picture is on par with two other celebrated pictures dating from around 1762, just before the artist's departure to Spain: Portrait of a Young Lady with a Parrot in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and the Portrait of a Lady with a Mandolin in the Detroit Institute of Art. The three pictures are believed to belong with a series of mezze figure di donne (half-length female figures) which were commissioned by the Empress Elizabeth of Russia.
Another work is Salmacis and Hermaphroditus by Ludovico Carracci (Bologna 1555-1619) Oil on canvas, 114 x 151 cm. This magnificent painting, whose provenance goes back to 1632, was discovered in 2006 by Aidan Weston Lewis at Knole in Kent, where it had been in store, unrecognized, since 1674. Recently, the picture has undergone careful restoration, which has revealed a painted surface in superb state of preservation. It has a characteristic late 17th century frame from a model that was also used for a number of other pictures in the same collection at Knole.
One of the most poetic achievements of the Bolognese Master, this painting illustrates a scene from the story of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, a tale narrated in Ovid's Metamorphosis: The nymph Salmacis fell in love with Hermaphroditus, the son of Venus and Mercury. While bathing in her river he rejected her advances. But Salmacis appealed to the Gods, who fused their bodies. The artist has chosen to depict the moment in which the nymph falls in love at the sight of Hermaphroditus and prepares to dive into the waters to seduce him.
Also on show will be a most intriguing ink drawing by Giovanni-Francesco Barbieri, called Il Guercino (Cento 1591 - Bologna 1666) A Group of Spectators, probably at a Bullfight, peeping through a fence. This unique drawing with its surprising subject could well represent spectators catching a glimpse at a bullfight. It is stylistically datable to the 1630s, when bullfighting was still widely spread in Italy too. In fact, this cruel spectacle has a roman origin, and it is thought that the Romans actually introduced it into Spain. In 1567, Pope Pius V issued a Papal bull which forbade the fight of bulls, and which eventually brought about prohibitions against bullfighting throughout Italy. It was not until the 19th century, however, that bullfighting disappeared altogether in Italy.