Emilio DELLA SUDDA
Portrait of the Artist’s Brother, Francesco (Faik Bey) Della Sudda, Seated at a Piano
Signed E. della Sudda in blue chalk at the upper left.
485 x 635 mm. (19 1/8 x 25 in.)
This fine pastel has recently been identified, by the Turkish music historian, composer and conductor Emre Araci, as a portrait of the artist’s older brother, the Italo-Levantine pianist Francesco, known as Faik Bey Della Sudda (1859-1940). A pupil of Franz Liszt, Faik Bey Della Sudda - also known as ‘Der Pascha’ - was the son and grandson of the pharmacist to the Sultan, and is known to have given recitals in London. Another portrait of Francesco (Faik Bey) Della Sudda, by the Danish artist Arild Rosencrantz, was painted around 1900 in London.
Only a handful of other large pastels by Emilio Della Sudda have appeared on the art market, while a striking portrait of a young man wearing a fez and smoking a cigarette is in a private collection in Texas.
Very little is known of the life and career of the artist Emilio Della Sudda, who was originally from a Levantine family and was born and raised in Constantinople. He studied in Paris with Jules Lefèbvre and Benjamin Constant, and exhibited his work at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris. The artist seems to have been particularly esteemed for his work in pastel. As a review of the Exposition Universelle noted, 'M. Della Sudda est regardé comme un des meilleurs pastellistes de notre temps.'
At the Exposition Universelle of 1900, Della Sudda exhibited three pastels in the Turkish section of the exhibition; a 'Portrait of Mademoiselle N. H.'; a woman in front of a piano, 'Kief'; a depiction of an insouciant young man with a flower in his teeth, and a 'Paysage d'Orient'; a twilight landscape of a cemetery by the sea. As the Constantinople-based editor and critic Régis Delbeuf, in an account of the Paris exhibition, noted: 'Here we find the Orient, the true Orient, with its light, its transparency and its troubling charm. We do not have to reveal who M. Della Sudda is, everyone in Constantinople knows the name and appreciates his talent. He is a son of the East. His eyes were opened to the spectacle of the world on the shores of the Bosphorus, and he had the good sense to recall them.'
Private collection, California.