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Spring Online Edition, May 14 - 28, 2021

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David Tunick, Inc.

+1 212-570-0090

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David Tunick, Inc., founded in 1966, specializes in works of art on paper and occasional paintings. The gallery is in a townhouse on the Upper East Side, and we welcome all visitors and groups. Our focus is on museum-quality prints and drawings by the great masters, 15th to 20th century. We work with major museums and private collectors throughout the world, and our clients include such institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the National Gallery of Art (Washington), Yale University Art Gallery, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Chicago Institute of Art, the British Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum. Our inventory is extensive, and we welcome inquiries. In addition to buying and selling works on paper, we also provide advice, expertise, and valuations for collectors, museums, and estates.

Image:

Detail, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Veduta della Piazza di Monte Cavallo, 1750

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The 18th century saw the rise of the vedute genre, characterized by highly detailed, large scale renderings of cityscapes and well-known historical vistas. The vedute rose along with the popularity of the Grand Tour, the trip through Europe undertaken by young men of stature. In response to an increased demand for tour mementos, the Venetian masters of the vedute began to create historical fantasies and accurate renderings of ancient monuments populated by small figures. The manipulated scale serves to emphasize the constancy of the architectural structures in contrast to the transience of human existence.

The vedute genre was heavily influenced by the Roman tradition of capriccio, or architectural fantasy, in which recognizable archaeological ruins or other architectural elements were combined into imagined and fantastical combinations. Piranesi pushed this genre to its extreme with his series of Carceri d’invenzione, or Imaginary Prisons, etchings depicting immense subterranean vaulted spaces filled with structurally impossible bridges and staircases and ominous machines operated by shadowy figures. This architectural ambiguity was intentional, probably meant to suggest the vastness and power of Roman architecture and the brutal justice system of the Roman Republic.

Art historians consider these vedute invaluable documents of monuments and cityscapes that no longer exist. We offer you here only a small sampling of the vedutisti printmakers. Piranesi, a precise archaeological draftsman and a talented architect, accurately preserved through his engravings many Roman monuments and ruins that have disappeared. Canaletto, perhaps the best known purveyor of the vedute genre, and his followers Marieschi and Brustoloni, conveyed the magnificence of 18th century Venice through their dramatic interpretations of the city’s architecture. Bellotto’s The Ruins of the Old Kreuzkirche shows the remains of Dresden’s medieval Lutheran church, damaged in 1760 by the Prussian cannonade during the Seven Years War. By the time Bellotto finished his 1765 painting of the subject and had completed the etched version later that year, reconstruction was underway on a new Neoclassical structure, once again suffering in wartime in 1945.

Many among us have become armchair travelers in the past year, reminiscing about past trips and fantasizing about where we might visit when the world opens again. The vedute speak to these sentiments, as they depict not only storied urban spaces but also convey the sense of awe and wonder that accompanies travel and the firsthand experience of history.

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Kendall Stewart, Gallery Director

Francesco Piranesi (c. 1758-1810) and Augustin Legrand (1765-c.1815)?

Temple du Commerce et Feu d’Artifice sur la Seine (Temple of Commerce and Fireworks on the Seine)

1801-02

55.8 x 79.3 cm

Gouache and watercolor over engraving, mounted on board

In the trade, Paris; 2005 to private collection, U.S.A.

Condition: Excellent, unfaded, with original black border margins, without the added paper patch with title

Price on Request

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

The Giant Wheel

1761

54.6 x 40.5 cm

Etching and engraving

Channel Thirteen auction; 1982 to David Tunick, Inc.; 2009 to private collection, U.S.A.

Series: Le Carceri d’Invenzione; References: Hind 9 i/iii; Robison 35 iv/viii, second edition, first issue; Wilton-Ely 34, later state

SOLD

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

The Staircase with Trophies

ca. 1747-50

54.0 x 39.3 cm

Etching and engraving

Private collection, U.S.A.

Series: Le Carceri d’Invenzione; References: Hind 8 ii/iii; Robison 34 iii/vi, second edition, second issue; Wilton-Ely 33, early state

SOLD

Bernardo Bellotto

The Ruins of the Old Kreuzkirche, Dresden

ca. 1765

52.4 x 63.5 cm

Etching

Private collection, Italy; to David Tunick, Inc., New York

References: De Vesme 32; Kozakiewicz 300, second state of three, with the coat of arms and the word “soumi” corrected to “soumis”; Impression: Very fine; Condition: Very good apart from some disturbances in the text area and around the edges, traces of a vertical fold

Price on Request

Bernardo Bellotto, The Ruins of the Old Kreuzkirche, Dresden, 1765, oil on canvas, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Francesco Piranesi (ca. 1758-1810); Louis-Jean Desprez (ca. 1743-1804)

La Grotta di Posillipo

ca. 1791

68.5 x 47.2 cm

Etching and aquatint with watercolor highlights

Private collection, France; ca. 2005 to Paolo Antonacci, Rome; ca. 2010 to private collection, Germany; to Galerie Bassenge, Berlin, 30 May 2013 (lot 5342); 2013 to David Tunick, Inc.

Reference: N. G. Wollin, Gravures Originales de Desprez ou Exécutées d’après ses Dessins, Malmö, 1933, no. 6, pp. 112-13, two states; this impression corresponds to BM 1952. 0403.14, Wollin 6, i.; Literature: Piranèse et les francais, 1740-1790, exhibition catalogue, ed. B. K. de Rola; Rome, Académie de France, 1976, pp. 121, 124-5, no. 60; Magnus Olausson, “Desprez et Piranèse fils: de l’original à la reproduction,” La Chimère de Monsieur Desprez, ed. Régis Michel, Paris, 1994, pp. 47-50

Price on Request

Francesco Piranesi; Louis-Jean Desprez, La Grotta di Posillipo, ca. 1791, miscatalogued as “watercolor, with pen and brown ink,” more likely a trimmed impression, etching and aquatint drawn over with watercolor and pen and brown ink, British Museum

Francesco Piranesi (c. 1758-1810) and Augustin Legrand (1765-c.1815)?

Temple du Commerce et Feu d’Artifice sur la Seine (Temple of Commerce and Fireworks on the Seine)

55.8 x 79.3 cm

Gouache and watercolor over engraving, mounted on board

Condition: Excellent, unfaded, with original black border margins, without the added paper patch with title

Price on Request

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

The Giant Wheel

54.6 x 40.5 cm

Etching and engraving

Series: Le Carceri d’Invenzione; References: Hind 9 i/iii; Robison 35 iv/viii, second edition, first issue; Wilton-Ely 34, later state

SOLD

Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778)

The Staircase with Trophies

54.0 x 39.3 cm

Etching and engraving

Series: Le Carceri d’Invenzione; References: Hind 8 ii/iii; Robison 34 iii/vi, second edition, second issue; Wilton-Ely 33, early state

SOLD

Bernardo Bellotto

The Ruins of the Old Kreuzkirche, Dresden

52.4 x 63.5 cm

Etching

References: De Vesme 32; Kozakiewicz 300, second state of three, with the coat of arms and the word “soumi” corrected to “soumis”; Impression: Very fine; Condition: Very good apart from some disturbances in the text area and around the edges, traces of a vertical fold

Price on Request

Francesco Piranesi (ca. 1758-1810); Louis-Jean Desprez (ca. 1743-1804)