(Florence 1585 - Florence 1644)
An Allegory with a Satyr, a Nymph and a Winged Putto Playing a Flute
Inscribed Biliferti at the top.
165 x 126 mm. (6 1/2 x 5 in.)
This drawing is likely to date to the first half of the 1630s, when Bilivert was engaged on a number of paintings of mythological subjects. Stylistically, the present sheet may be compared with a number of drawings in the Uffizi. These include a squared compositional study of Apollo and Daphne, which can be related to a painting dated 1630 in the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart, and another squared drawing of Thetis Giving Arms to Achilles, which is a study for a painting of 1634 in a private collection. Other comparable drawings in the Uffizi include a red chalk study of a winged putto playing a violin and a drawing of Hercules Freeing Hesione, which is a first idea for a late painting by Bilivert, possibly executed with studio assistance, in an American private collection.
The first recorded owner of the present sheet was the New York physician George Ludwig Laporte (1874-1947), about whom very little is known, apart from the fact that his varied collection of drawings was sold, presumably by his heirs, at auction in 1968. Drawings from Laporte’s collection are today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and elsewhere.
This drawing was probably acquired at that time by the Hungarian-born journalist and passionate amateur of drawings Mathias Polakovits (1921-1987), who assembled a fine collection of Old Master drawings, mainly by French and Italian artists, over a period of about eighteen years. While the bulk of Polakovits’s collection of 17th and 18th century French drawings, numbering around three thousand sheets, was left to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris at his death, drawings by Italian artists and those of other schools were dispersed at auction in the late 1980s and beyond.
His posthumous sale (Master Drawings from 16th to 19th Centuries, all from the Estate of a New York Private Collector), New York, O’Reilly’s Plaza Art Galleries, 25 April 1968, probably part of lot 101 (Giovanni Biliverti, Giovanni Barbieri, Two Drawings of various sizes)
Paul Mathias Polakovits, Paris (Lugt 3561)
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby’s, 2 July 1997, lot 7
Margot Gordon, New York, in 1998